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Author: Rick Torbett

One of the advantages of the Read & React is that it can ease communication between coaches and players. It can also ease communication between coaches and other coaches (as long as they are in the Tribe). So, with that in mind and as an expansion of our previous post, A Cut By Any Other Name, here’s a list of Read & React Terminology. Natural Pitch – This is an air pass. It is the most natural pass to make when a player drives to the basket and is stopped and looks to pass. Dish – This is a bounce pass, typically thrown to a cutter. Circle Movement – When the ball drives “North-South” to the basket, perimeter players and even post players (Advanced Post Slides) must move to the next “Spot” (as defined by the offense) in the same direction that ball is driven. Ex: If the ball handler drives around their defender using their right hand, then those without the ball must move one Spot to their right. If the ball drives left, then everyone else “Circle Moves” one Spot to their left. Safety Valve – When a player circle moves behind the driving player, he becomes a “safety valve” if the driving teammate gets in trouble. North/South – This is when a player with the ball goes directly to the basket no wider than a “V.” Some R&R coaches call this a “Penetration Dribble”. East/West – This is when a player with the ball moves laterally to the basket. Some R&R coaches call this a “Perimeter Dribble”. This usually occurs in one of two circumstances:
    A player tries to drive north/south, but is stopped and pushed outside the lane; this then becomes an east/west movement. This creates a “U”shaped drive rather than the intended “V” shaped drive.
    A player deliberately dribbles the ball at another teammate on the perimeter (east/west) creating a dribble-at or a power dribble (see below).

This article was published today in Basketball Times so I thought it may be of some interest to the Tribe, especially those who are new to the R&R. Several events in my life along with many lingering thoughts about basketball ultimately led to the creation of the Read & React. This article describes a couple - there are more that may be published in the future. There is very little teaching in here, it's just a story about how I reached my breaking point with traditional offense. Just over 10 years ago, after a rather average season, my assistant coach asked me if I was happy. It didn’t take long for the words, “Not particularly” to escape my lips. He knew that I was frustrated with the season, with myself, with... the job. “What would you do differently if you could scrap our entire program and start over?” he probed. Again, it didn’t take me long to respond because I’d thought about that very thing almost every day. “I would teach our kids how to play the entire game by principle.” I, of course, knew his next question before he said it, “Why don’t you do it?” The honest answer was simple: I didn’t know how. I had a lot of pieces; a lot of 2-man and 3-man game principles, but not the entire thing. It seemed like a pretty tall order to create a seamless offensive system that would tie together transition, man-to-man, and zone without contradiction. And, it couldn’t be limited to only one formation like 5 OUT, or demand a certain type of players, or a particular style of play because my players and talent level changed every year.

Not what you would expect from me, huh? But it's true. I want your players to be selfish - not in life or as people - but at least while running the Read & React. And you should too. Here's a quote that puts words to why that assertion makes you uncomfortable.
“There is a tension, peculiar to basketball, between the interests of the team and the interests of the individual. The game continually tempts the people who play it to do things that are not in the interest of the group. On the baseball field, it would be hard for a player to sacrifice his team’s interest for his own. Baseball is an individual sport masquerading as a team one: by doing what’s best for himself, the player nearly always also does what is best for his team. “There is no way to selfishly get across home plate,” as Morey puts it. “If instead of there being a lineup, I could muscle my way to the plate and hit every single time and damage the efficiency of the team — that would be the analogy. Manny Ramirez can’t take at-bats away from David Ortiz.” from an article on Shane Battier
If you understand the tension in the above excerpt, you’ll understand some of the reasons behind the structure of the Read & React Offense. Wherever I could do it, I built the actions of the players on the baseball premise above.

I’ve been asked from time to time to compare the Dribble Drive Motion Offense to the Read & React Offense. In order to make a fair comparison, a person should view the DVDs of both offenses, watch teams that run the offenses in real games, and talk to coaches who are sold on each offense. I’ve done all three, which might make me uniquely qualified to make the comparison. Admittedly, as the creator of the Read & React Offense, I bring a bias to the table. This bias might be a factor if we were comparing two offenses that were both 4 OUT 1 IN sets with an emphasis on creating dribble drive opportunities, but since the comparison is really “apples vs oranges”, my bias shouldn’t enter the equation. I would never attempt to speak for Coach Walberg (the creator of the Dribble Drive Attack – which he prefers in place of Dribble Drive Motion). If you want to know his offense, along with the big picture and philosophy behind it, do like I did – watch his DVDs. Without any hesitation, I can say that I appreciate the problems that Coach Walberg was trying to fix when he created the DDA:
  • How to allow players to take advantage of their dribble-drive-attacking skills without using set plays.
  • How to draw upon the creativity of players (making it fun for them) and yet maximize their options if the defense stops their initial action.
  • How to get the best spacing in a 4 OUT 1 IN set.
There’s more to the DDA than I can sum up in a single paragraph, so we should look at the bottom line: Does it work?