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New Layers: The Ball Screen

The rumors are true: there are now 20 layers in the Read & React Offense.

Here’s what happened. We released the Read & React over two years ago to tremendous fanfare and excitement (just kidding). Since its release, we’ve put on several basketballclinics, appeared at a bunch of coaching conventions, answered a lot of emails, and created first the Read & React Blog and now the Tribe. Basically, we’ve spent the last two years teaching (and learning from) coaches around the world in a variety of ways.

So, in preparation for our upcoming clinics, we took the best of what we learned from those experiences and integrated it into the R&R. The result, a few new layers.

What are the new layers?

First of all, there are really only two new layers. The third came as a result of splitting Post Passing into two layers: Post Pass & Cut (North-South) and Post Pass & Cut (East-West). This makes it easier for lower level teams or teams just learning to get into post passing without having to learn too much at once. Sure, you can still teach them together, but we’ve chosen to split them up (just like Post Slides).

That accounts for one additional layer.

The second is the Ball Screen or Reverse Dribble and we’ve been offering this up as an option for a while now and decided to make it an official layer.

It works like this:

When the ball handler reverses his or her dribble away from the goal, basically a Power-Back Dribble, it’s a signal for a Sprint Ball Screen. It’s a signal for your post player to sprint to the ball and set a screen. Everyone else should fill up and get ready to Circle Move in whatever direction the ball-handler uses the pick.

It’s possible that you might not want to bring another defender into the ball handler’s space. If that’s the case, then you won’t use this Layer. On the other hand, you might be a pick-n-roll maniac and you want this action in your offense as soon as possible. If that’s the case, then you could put it in right after Layer 4 Circle Movement!

If you’re 3 OUT 2 IN, perhaps you’ll designate the post player that you want setting the pick. Or, perhaps you tell them that the closest post sets the screen. It could simply be the first post to recognize the Reverse Dribble. Those decisions are up to you. You know your personnel.

If you’re in a 5 OUT formation, then the closest player will set the ball screen.

I know this question will come up: What side should the screen be set on? Or is this a flat screen? Personally, I think you should sprint to a flat position, let the ball-handler set up the defender, and then change the angle of the screen at that time. You may have reasons to do it differently, so use it the way you see fit.

That should be enough excitement for now. I’ll explain the final new layer in an upcoming post, but please let me know your thoughts about this layer. Have you already incorporated it? Are you going to?

By the way, now when your non-R&R friends say they don’t like the Read & React “because there aren’t any ball screens”, you can just shake your head, laugh, and point them to this layer. Of course, we know that the Power Dribble Layer has basically been a pick and roll all along, but that will be our secret.


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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.