This week’s Tribe Spotlight features Forbush High School Varsity girl’s basketball coach Bradley Shore.
When I started coaching, I coached one year of JV boys basketball, followed by 10 years of Middle School girls basketball. Our county then went from K-8 schools to K-6 and grades 7-8, as a result I was left without a team to coach. Thankfully, one of the local high school boys Varsity coaches lived a few houses up the street and asked me to be one of his assistant’s. They ran a motion offense, and since I had faced little man-to-man defense at the middle school level, I was eager to study up on what the were running. In searching online for information, I came across betterbasketball.com, and clicked on the Read & React icon. I was hooked after the first few minutes. After a short period of time, I read less and less about the varsity coach’s motion offense, and more and more about the Read & React. I couldn’t get enough of the Read & React.
After two years, the girls’ Varsity coach at the school stepped down and I was able to become the head coach. I had read everything I could online about the Read & React, so I immediately bought the Read & React Starter Bundle and Spots, and had a free video that TJ Rosene sent to me that chronicled their championship season at Emmanual. I have since purchased the Clinic DVDs and Dynamic DVDS along with many VODs.
I inherited a team full of rising seniors and two other returning players with playing experience, but they had very little basketball knowledge for that age group. The offense they ran previously consisted of four set plays and when one broke down, they were to get the ball to their best player and watch. Thankfully, they were very athletic, coachable, and hungry to learn. We drilled and drilled all spring, summer, and fall. We did win two more games than their previous season, but we lost nine games by five points or less. While those nine losses hurt, the Read & React had helped them compete against teams they previously hadn’t competed against. Whenever those seniors come back to see me, the first thing they talk about is “The Offense”, and that if they had done that for four years, they would have been conference champions–I agree.
I just finished up my fourth season and we have been through big losses in graduation and injury the past three seasons. However, through the Read & React, our points per game has steadily increased to almost 7.5 more points a game; our assists per game have increased steadily from 7.9 to 12.6, and each year’s team has won more games than the previous year’s team. The spacing, ball movement, and player movement creates such open shots, usually within 10-12 seconds. Now, we are working towards learning who and where the shots need to come from. The Read & React has greatly increased the girls’ skill and basketball IQ levels, and as a result has given them a lot of confidence on offense. For girls especially, I think it is comforting for them to know that they can instinctively be where they need to be, and do what they need to do without having to stop and think.
What advice would I give to coaches new to the Read & React or even to veteran R & R coaches?
- Pick what action/habit you think is most important in the offense and emphasis it first. If I could start all over (and I’m making that change now), I would teach Draft Drives and other driving opportunities first. I now understand why maybe Rick originally had Circle Movement as Layer 1. I don’t know if it’s this way with boys, but girls seem to fall back on what they learned first; what they are more comfortable with. During the spring and summer workouts, we focused on spacing and Layers 1, 2 and 3 first so there would be “instant offense” in our summer games. I think because that was ingrained in them first, when things got tough in games or they got tired, they fell back on that and missed great driving opportunities. In practice sometimes, we have a “Shoot or Drive” segment of scrimmage–if you don’t shoot or drive on the catch (or hit the open post with a pass), it’s an automatic turnover.
- Drill, Drill, Drill.
- As they learn the habits, teach and start assigning Next Best Action roles to players in scrimmages that suit their skill level. Add to it as they are able to move on.
- As you implement Circle Movement, have drills that have them Filling Out and Filling Up when the drive starts. In the games, they are rarely standing still. Having to be on the move and make the read is much more game-like. Combine that with Dribble-At and any other dribble actions you have implemented to “test” them.
- When they get bored with the drills, make this deal–“We won’t do such and such drill(s) in practice anymore since that seems to be a habit, but in our scrimmages when I chart that habit was missed ‘X’ number of times, we’re stopping the scrimmage for one minute to do that drill.” Make a chart and mark it when they miss, and be consistent in stopping them to drill. We did that last season, and it was amazing how quickly it cleaned up some of the basic habits.
- Enjoy the Read & React!! Don’t stop studying and learning about it.