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Yesterday a great tip landed in my inbox from Ed Hammersmith. Those of you who frequent the Tribe Forum will know him as CoachEd - the creative voice chiming in on all sorts of topics. You also might remember him from an early Tribe Spotlight. Here's what he's been doing in his most recent practices. I love this tip because it is immediately actionable. You can (should?) do this in your practice today!
I’ve been testing my kids a little on circle movement. We go 5 out and I tell only the ball handler what to do. For example... Dribble-At twice in a row, then Bounce-Off once, then Pass and Cut. Since the four without the ball never know when they might get the pass (remember, they don't know the sequence), I'm not only testing their reactions, I'm training them to play without thinking once the sequence is over and they receive the pass. The kids are loving it. If they don’t react right, they hit the floor and do 5 pushups on their own. They watch the whole floor and call each other out if someone misses a reaction. They laugh at them and yell, "Pushups!" It's been fun to coach. Now we just have to see if it translates into better movement in games.
In the videos below, you can see Ed's 7th grade team in action. They aren't demonstrating the tip above, but you can see just how a well coached Read & React team can progress.

Sometimes, your team needs a little help getting the action of the Read & React Offense started. Sometimes, you see a weakness in the defense that your players just won't exploit. And, sometimes, you need to drag a player out of her shell and show her what she's capable of. You're the coach. Those things are your job. Here's how you can integrate them into your daily Read & React training. Just because the Read & React is organic and jazz-like doesn't mean you can't use some specific sequences to get what you need. And, it certainly doesn't mean you can't train with specific sequences to open the eyes of your players to new opportunities. In the video below, Rick Torbett demands two specific actions: the first and the last. All actions in between are still player driven. That allows for a few benefits:
  • it gives your team reps with options that can easily get the offense going (in this case it's the Reverse Dribble).
  • it teaches your team how to use one layer to set up another.
  • it shows what actions you (the coach) consider to be viable scoring opportunities.
  • it forces players to look for coach determined options, not just their default options.
  • and, in practice, it prevents less confident players from hiding in their comfort zones.
This video is from our Read & React Clinics: Planning the R&R Practice DVD set. If you've ever had questions about practice planning with the Read & React, this 5 DVD set is your answer. One of my favorite ways to train the Read & React is by using certain actions as trigger actions.

In conjunction with a couple of surgeons, Better Basketball has just released a new book cryptically titled Understanding Sports Injury. The idea was this: we know coaches wear a lot of hats - one of those being injury consultant. Add to that the fact that injury is a hungry monster when it meets athletes. In fact, there are an estimated 1.4 million sports related injuries every year in high school athletics alone. And, most of those happened to your best players! (just kidding, but not really) You are called upon to make decisions all the time about an injury's severity and the immediate next steps - whether an athlete should walk it off, ice it, compress it, keep playing, or go to a doctor. This book can help make those decisions a little easier. Check out the excerpt below or click here to download Chapter 2 (twenty pages) on the Shoulder. That should give you an idea of what this book is all about. Or, you can learn more of the details and watch an interview with the author at Better Basketball.