Author: Rick Torbett

We often hear (from coaches that don't know the offense very well) that the Read & React doesn't promote screening. And, that couldn't be further from the truth - you just have to emphasize it. Here are 4 steps that will train your players to spot some of the screening opportunities within the flow of the offense. Step 1: Start with the basics. If you have a post player, try this simple 5 on 0 drill. Place 4 players on the perimeter running though Pass & Cut. Tell your post player to screen for cutters coming into the lane and leaving the lane. And, just like the Post Screening layer says, have the post player set a screen, then shape up for the ball. Set a screen, then shape. Screen, then shape. The only way to score in this drill is to hit a cutter (following a screen) for a lay-up or to feed the post on the shape up. After the score, just rotate the post - it wouldn't be a bad idea to rotate guards through the post as well. If you typically run a 5 OUT, start with 5 players on the perimeter running through Pass & Cut. At random each player must stop in the post, set some screens for cutters, then shape up after a screen. Following the shape up, they can vacate the post and return to the perimeter. In this version of the drill, the only way to score is a post feed to a shaping up post player. After the score, simply grab the rebound, pass it back to the perimeter and continue the drill until every player has stopped in the post, set screens for cutters, shaped up, and scored. With those drills, you get to work on Layer 1, feeding the post, scoring in the post, setting screens, and using screens. Step 2: Building on the basics.

In a previous post, we took the Pass & Cut layer and added some depth to the options. That gave us the Puppy Dog Front Cut and the Draft Drive. Now, in Layer 2, we'll look at going deeper into the Post Cuts - notice that I've used the Laker Cut in the examples, but the other Post Cuts (X and Relocate) could work too. These are clips from the University of Iowa, but the principles (especially in these early layers) can be used at all levels. Next time you want to add something to your Read & React attack, at least consider going deeper in the layers you already have in place rather than defaulting to adding more layers. You may be surprised at what you can get.

In our previous post, we talked about the option of going deeper into certain layers of the Read & React rather than constantly pushing to add more layers. At the same time, a team who has established themselves in the R&R can continue to build nuances into their offense to make it more dynamic (and ultimately harder to guard). To illustrate this point, I put together some clips from the NCAA Division 1 University of Iowa Women’s team. This kind of depth exists in almost every layer of the Read & React. Many of you are already aware of this “Simple, yet Complex” aspect of the Read & React. But for those who aren’t, especially youth coaches, I hope you can see how to squeeze even more out of Layer 1 than just the most basic actions.

How should I teach the Read & React? That question finds its way to me a lot. And, my frustrated answer is this: You have to run the Read & React in order to improve at the Read & React. Period. You can’t get good at something that you’re not willing to commit to. You can’t get good at something unless you’re willing to plow through the bad times and growing pains of learning something new. That applies to everything, and it applies here as well. There, I feel better! And, now to the steps.

Step 1: Teach the 3-player reaction drills for the layers you want to cover.

Commit to running each drill for a few minutes at the beginning of every practice. The 3-player drills maximize the number of reps that each player gets and carve the habits into their muscle memory. Without the Reaction Habits, there is no Read & React Offense and understanding it is not good enough, each player has to internalize the habits - the drills are the quickest way to do that. If you chose 10 drills covering the layers you were working on and spent 90 seconds on each, that would be the first 15 minutes of practice. I would integrate my warm-up, skill development, and shooting practice into that 15 minutes. And, if I only had 15 minutes to practice, those 10 drills would be the agenda.