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Communicating the Read & React

Here’s the situation. A coaching friend of yours likes what he or she sees in the Read & React. They ask you about it and as you begin to explain, their eyes glass over and you can tell that you’re not connecting. Or, you make an explanation and as soon as they begin to comment or ask questions, you can tell that you’re not on the same page. It’s frustrating. I know, because I’ve experienced the same thing for a decade now! Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

99% of coaches are listening from a standpoint of “How can I control the actions?” or “What pieces of this ‘offense’ can I pick out and ADD to my own stuff?” When you start talking about training the players to take over certain decisions on the floor and where and when they can do it, many will nod and give you the impression that they agree, but their premise is so radically different from yours and mine, that most of what I say and show is wasted – or worse, it’s misinterpreted.

Here’s what I have found and it has nothing to do with how smart or experienced the coach is:

You must begin your conversation from a “Decision-Making” standpoint. Ask them who makes the decisions about what to do each possession on offense.

  • SET PLAYS mean the Coach is the decision-maker.
  • MOTION OFFENSE has all 5 players as decision-makers.
  • In FREE-LANCE offense, the ballhandler decides while everyone else stands and watches.

That should bring up TEAMWORK and you can make a switch to 5-PLAYER COORDINATION.

  • FREE-LANCE has none.
  • MOTION has 2 or 3 working together or one pair working on one thing with another pair working on another, but it’s difficult to get all 5 together.
  • SET PLAYS CAN coordinate all 5, but it’s fabricated, it has an ending, and it’s predictable.

You’ve just identified two problems. Offer the solution: “Read & React has a unique twist on Decision-Making and continuous 5-Player Coordination.” Leave the conversation there until there’s “sit down” time to really get into it.

To sum it up, before you get into the layers of the Read & React, make sure the uninitiated, the traditional coach, is listening from YOUR premise, not THEIRS! Only then will they begin to understand how to operate the system, what their drills are supposed to accomplish, and how to diagnose the progression of their team.

Establishing YOUR premise FIRST – is the single most important thing in the conversation. They may not agree with it or buy into it, but that’s OK as long as they understand it. It’s better to be understood and disagreed with, than to agree on a misunderstanding.


Read & React 5-Player Coordination Drills

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about rick torbett

Rick Torbett has taught thousands of coaches to win more games through his innovative approach to the game. He has created powerful training for coaches at any level so they can coach their best and win more games.

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Read & React 5-Player Coordination Drills

Enter your email address to get an inside look at teaching the Read & React Offense with the drills in this free video.