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Author: Rick Torbett

Players are smarter than coaches on a moment-by-moment basis. That ought to get your attention! Here’s what I mean:
  • Players should know when they’re being over-played without the ball and can go back-door.
  • Players should know when their defender is out of position and can be beaten by forgetting “the play” and ripping the ball to the goal.
  • Players should see slight openings in the defense that a coach on the sidelines can’t and take advantage of them.
I could go on with this list (just like any coach could). So, when I say smarter, I mean more informed from the standpoint of the immediate read of the defense.

Zone Attack, Staggered Screens, 45 Window, Why You Finish Cuts, Curl the Puppy-Dog

Clip 1: Here’s why you “Hook & Look” when you Pass & Cut against a Zone. Notice that it was the second cutter through the seam of the zone who receives the pass. Clip 2: Here’s an example of the Post Player changing interior spots after the cutter goes through. It’s the same looking for the ball that perimeter cutters should do as they go through the zone. Hunt the spots. Hunt the seams.

Using Post Players, Zone Attack, Etc.

Clip 1: The 3out Double High Post morphs into a 4out Mid-Post formation. (See Flowing on the Read & React DVDs.) This is followed by a good example of the Post Passing Layer – specifically the X-Cut. One small correction for the screener: when #21 Kachine sets the X-Cut screen, she should then cut to the basket for 4 reasons:

  • If the cutter off her screen is not open, then the post needs another passing option.
  • One of the premises of the Read & React is to always, with every action, apply pressure to the rim. Make the defense guard North-South as well as East-West; set the X-Cut Screen and then cut to the basket for a lay-up.
  • When Kachine vacates the spot, it initiates movement from the other two perimeter players (they must fill the open spots).
  • If the shot is missed, Kachine will be inside to rebound.

Random Mix of Read & React Layers

Clip 1: This looks like a simple drive to the basket – and it is. But it also illustrates an important point about the flexibility of the Read & React. There are no set plays or set actions. She’s not required to use the ball screen (like she would be in a set play). So, when the defense crowds her and overplays her, she’s free to take what’s given to her – in this case, a lay-up.

7 Ways to Use Your Post

“The only thing that is required of Post Players in the Read & React Offense is that they react correctly to Dribble Penetration. Otherwise, the coach can do anything in terms of where they are positioned or how they are used. This enables the Read & React Coach to have all kinds of flexibility and freedom. With only a few adjustments to Post Player(s), almost any major basketball action can be created using only one system of play: the Read & React.” - Rick Torbett -
Clip 1: The first way to use your post: As a Back-to-the-Basket Scorer. #50 Gabby Machado begins as a high post passer and screener. Then she uses the actions of the Read & React to post up at the low post when least expected and when help defense is following cutters out of the lane.

The Pareto Principle (also known as the 80-20 Rule) is the law of the vital few, which states that for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Pareto noticed that 20% of the pea pods in his garden produced 80% of his peas. Other examples:
  • In business, it’s been noted that 80% of sales come from 20% of clients.
  • Most people wear 20% of their clothes (their favored clothes) 80% of the time.
  • We spend 80% of our time with 20% of our acquaintances.
I’m ready to add another 80-20 to the list: 80% of your offensive actions will come from 20% of the Read & React layers. Why point this out?

It is not necessary to have 3-point shooters in order to beat zones. It certainly makes it easier! But if that's the answer, then most teams are in trouble. You do have to have some players that can make a shot outside of the lane, however. If you have to depend on lay-ups only, then a zone will win. You must occasionally make a shot outside the lane in order to stretch the zone and get the ball inside. Every good zone offense will have a little bit of both - a threat from the outside and a threat from the inside.

North-South Penetrate & Pitch

Clip 1: I would have liked this clip better if #2 Kamille had filled up to the wing after her basket cut. In this position, she could still Circle Move to the corner when the ball drives. But on the wing, she would be one pass away. This gives the ball handler more options like a Speed Dribble or a Pass & Cut or a Read Line Rear Cut by Kamille. Regardless of my obsession for perfection, this illustrates the Drive & Pitch action of the first Layer of the Read & React.

Think of your team as a group of dogs (in the nicest way you can). Teach those dogs a bunch of tricks and you have a basketball team that is capable of following directions and may be entertaining at parties. But… will they win games they shouldn't win? Now, take those dogs and train them how to hunt. Provide them with the strategy, but allow them to find the most efficient and effective way to get the job done. After all, basketball players are smarter than coaches on a moment by moment basis. If you did that, you'd have a team capable of much more than entertaining at a party. Check out how the Brookwood boys use the Read & React as a framework to hunt for the weaknesses in the defense, waiting until the right moment to pounce. Yes, the coach is still in charge, he just doesn't slow his team down with micro-managing.

Clip 1: This is a good mix of Pass & Cut, Back-Screens, and Down-Screens that finally create a Penetrate and Pitch scoring opportunity. The coordination of Layers and players allows one action to set up another action that sets up another action, etc… Clip 2: Another good combo of the two main Layers of the Read & React: Drive & Circle Move and Pass & Cut. These two set up a third Layer for the score; the Baseline Drive. The Natural Pitch is open, but not for the shot – it’s the re-drive that scores.

The Read & React is an attacking offense, but just like anything, the same attack isn't always going to work. That's why the Read & React is made up of layers - you can use one layer to set up the attack of another. Think of it from the perspective of a boxer. A jab is an effective punch, but if that's all you throw, then it gets fairly easy to defend. So… you throw in a cross every once in a while or a punch to the body. And, even better is using the jab to set up the cross. In the clips below, you'll see how one layer of the Read & React Offense is used to set up the attack from another layer.

Clip 1: The Pass & Cut Action in the 4out formation does not produce a basket in and of itself. Instead, the team uses it to hunt for an opportune time to drive for a lay-up. When the defense has been forced to move and change positions because the ball and offensive players have been moving and changing positions, the defense eventually misses an assignment or is not in the best position. A good hunter like Printy #24 will find it and exploit it.