This is our second Tribe Spotlight where we feature the successes, struggles, insights, and hopefully game footage from Read & React coaches. This spotlight comes from Ed Hammersmith in Overland Park, Kansas. Here’s what Coach Hammersmith (coachEd in the forum) has to say. If you want your team spotlighted or you just want to show off some of your game footage, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to set it up.
I started teaching the R&R to my 6th grade AAU (11U) girls team November of 2009. I had concerns that there wouldn’t be enough practice time to drill the “Layers” to the degree they needed to be drilled in order for the girls to learn them, but I ultimately decided to give it a shot and keep it simple.
Read & React v. Zone
Read & React v. Press
Read & React 5 OUT Scrimmage
This is what I learned from that first year:
First, I needed to down size everything!
I figured if I was going to commit a good majority of practice time to the R&R, then some things had to go. I kept one press offense, one offense (R&R) vs. man to man, two zone sets (more on that later), and I cut our inbounds sets to 4.
I have to be honest, this was going to be a big change for me. I was venturing out of my 20-year coaching comfort zone.
Why change now?
Basically, my frustration with kids standing and watching a player dribble. No one moved or knew what to do once the offense broke down. I went looking for a simple motion offense that I could teach to 6th graders. That’s when I found the R&R.
I have to admit, it was love at first sight. And, I’m pretty sure my wife isn’t that thrilled I discovered it. I have spent a great deal of time watching the R&R DVDs and studying game footage to determine what the “gaps” in my teaching processes were and what I needed to work on more. No doubt, that process has made me a better coach this past year.
Here was last year’s plan:
First six weeks:
We started with Circle Movement, added Post Slides, Pass & Cut, Dribble-At, Baseline Adjustment, and touched on Post Screens. We added one of those layers each week.
Next six weeks:
Drill, Drill, Drill!
It’s a real challenge for me with only 2-4 hours a week to practice, but this is the template I tried to follow:
• 40-60 minutes handling the ball every practice.
• 60 minutes drilling the layers.
• 15 minutes reviewing inbound plays and press offense.
Over the next several months, I incorporated more shooting drills into the R&R drills.
And the Results:
No, we weren’t perfect. My goals were to get the kids to develop good instincts, move without the ball, and better understand the game and how to play it. I believe my kids will develop better basketball skills over the next couple years because of the R&R. Our man to man defense has improved by leaps and bounds year simply because of how we move in practice.
Our first year with the R&R, we finished 77-10. Half of our wins…and half of our losses were to 7/8th grade teams. And, we won 15 of the 20 tournaments we played in. We finished 5-2, 11th place at the AAU National Tournament this past June in Franklin, TN. Considering we only practice 2-4 hours per week, I think we did ok.
Now, with those experiences under our belts as 6th graders, what to do as 7th graders? Here are my ideas for this coming season.
I found last year that teams didn’t play us man to man very often or for very long when they did. I used two different set zone offenses and was successful with them, but this year, I’m taking another step in “letting go” of more of my structured offenses. I’m also throwing out the structured press offense and using the R&R principals in its place. Oh, the inbounds will be R&R as well. I plan to keep a couple for those last second timeout inbound plays, but other than those, we’re going 100% Read & React.
And, here’s the new plan:
First Month: 4-6 hours of practice each week
• 4-5 hours of drilling layers.
• 1 hour working on skill development.
• Teaching, Post Pass & Cut, Power Dribble, Ball Screen, and the one I’m most excited about… Pin and Skip. I have 5 kids that can shoot it and this should really help get those kids more shots.
Second Month: 4-6 hours practice a week.
• 3-4 hours of drilling layers.
• 2 hours working on skill development.
Third & Fourth Month: 2 hours practice a week.
• 1 hour on layer drills.
• 1 hour on skill work.
From there, I’m going to evaluate weaknesses and plan the next three months.