At a summer Read and React coaches meeting in Atlanta, during a topic on communication, Rich Cassella of Wagner University described a series of 3-0 Read and React Drills that he has used to build up offensive communication for the players he was worked with. He has graciously agreed to share those in this post. Thank you Rich! – Rick
3 on 0 Read and React Drills to Enhance Communication
“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking
clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you
can move mountains.”
– Steve Jobs
3-player drills are a great way to help your players learn how to communicate on the floor as they learn the Read & React.
Communication is an incredibly vital piece of our culture and success. The more we communicate, the more prepared we are to execute.
When running 3-player drills, start by emphasizing the techniques used to communicate on the floor.
On the Ball…
Dribble-At = Basket Cut (for teammate)
Dribble Drive = Circle Movement
Pass & Cut = Basket Cut (for passer)
NOTE: A pass fake can be a great way to communicate to a teammate to Read Line Cut
without the need to use your dribble.
Hands ready to receive a pass.
Communicating the screen to the ball handler and the teammate being screened for.
Two hands facing the ball handler = I’m ready to receive a pass
N.I.T.E. communication to gain the attention of the ball handler. (Pin!, Filling Right, etc)
NOTE: It is important for player’s off-the-ball to understand that it is their responsibility to gain
the attention of the ball handler. The ball handler should be looking (peek) towards the basket
for scoring opportunities, so many times they may miss an open teammate without
All of the following elements of 3-player drills should be mixed up:
Positioning on the floor…
Where the ball starts…
Start the ball in the middle, so the ball-handler has a teammate on their left and
right AND ALSO start the ball on an end, so the ball-handler ONLY has
teammates on their right or left. Both situations will happen in a game and need
to be drilled.
How the Action begins…
Starting the Action with the Ball Handler….
Read-line Cut (Pass Fake)
Pass & Cut
Dribble Drive (& Bounce Out)
Ball Screen (Reverse Dribble)
In the post
Starting the Action Off-the-Ball…
Read Line Cut
NOTE: It is easy for us to get into the habit of starting every action with a Pass & Cut. This can
lead to players believing that the Pass & Cut is how we “start the offense.” Variety will keep
player’s ready at all times, put the focus on communicating, finding scoring opportunities, and
working as a team.
To begin, limit your player’s to no more than 2 or 3 actions before scoring
The Read and React is great because it allows players to focus more on their habits and instincts and less on scripted actions. This is why having a plan and a purpose for your 3-
player drills can be critical. By adding variety to the drill you will also need to add a focus. This is where you can begin to
introduce players to how to attack certain defenders.
Instead of scripting the offensive action, you can script a defensive situation…
– Defensive Closeout
– Defender Overplays 1 Pass Away
– Pack Line Defense
– Dead Ball (No Dribbles)
This will help focus the actions of the ball handler and help players off-the-ball anticipate when
a teammate is about to attack the basket.
While this may take a little more work at the beginning of drills and may challenge your abilities
to communicate, it will help players recognize situations more effectively in games.
Scripted Actions for High Rep Offensive Actions
Scripted Actions can still be used for high rep offensive scoring/shooting drills. This allows you
to stay within the offensive framework and still get in skill development.
You may also find the need to script actions at the beginning of your season or at certain times
when you can your team to perfect a certain attack. If you decide to script an action, I would
always suggest adding some kind of variable to keep players from running the action as a
traditional play. For example, you can have them start the ball at different spots, vary when they
score, or add a defender.
When moments do arise where you need to focus on a particular skill, such as twist passing,
you will be able to afford spending a few minutes training the technique since you will be using
the skill in other drills as well.
Thanks for taking a few moments to look over these notes. I hope they help you in the
Please download the attached .pdf that Rich has drawn up using Fast Draw for examples and court diagrams of how to start your 3-0 Drills.
Richard Cassella enters his first season as video director for the Wagner women’s basketball program after serving in a similar capacity under Heather Jacobs at Adelphi for the past three seasons.
His responsibilities include the strategic development and implementation of the Seahawks’ offensive approach and customizing an instant-replay system in practices to provide immediate feedback.