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The Tribe

The question often comes up, "How do I know when our Read & React team should add new layers?" Simple answer: when the previous layer (or bundle of layers if you're implementing a few at once) are habit. Unfortunately, that leaves a rather unfulfilled taste in my mouth because the question you really want answered is, "How can I test to see if my team is ready for more layers?" Ok, the answer to that question: use a diagnostic test. Place 5 players on the floor without defense. Ask them to perform the offense using as many layers as are already in their arsenal with the intent to score on a specific action. In the video below, Rick Torbett asks for the following progression: • pass and cut for a few passes • dribble-at a player • the player who is cutting from the dribble-at leg whips into the post and receives the post feed • the passer Laker cuts for the score Actually, Rick asks for the score in the second (then third) Laker cut, but you can demand whatever you want. In fact, you could simply demand that they use all their known layers before they are allowed to score. There are a lot of ways to do this. Your job as the coach is to note where they are struggling. And, if they have it down to your satisfaction, then you have your answer - now is the time to push forward.

In conjunction with a couple of surgeons, Better Basketball has just released a new book cryptically titled Understanding Sports Injury. The idea was this: we know coaches wear a lot of hats - one of those being injury consultant. Add to that the fact that injury is a hungry monster when it meets athletes. In fact, there are an estimated 1.4 million sports related injuries every year in high school athletics alone. And, most of those happened to your best players! (just kidding, but not really) You are called upon to make decisions all the time about an injury's severity and the immediate next steps - whether an athlete should walk it off, ice it, compress it, keep playing, or go to a doctor. This book can help make those decisions a little easier. Check out the excerpt below or click here to download Chapter 2 (twenty pages) on the Shoulder. That should give you an idea of what this book is all about. Or, you can learn more of the details and watch an interview with the author at Better Basketball.

If you've been in coaching for very long you know that the recipe for a great team and a successful season (however you measure that) involves more ingredients than a great offensive system and good athletes. Team chemistry plays a huge role as well. We've all seen the Mighty Ducks, right? Great team chemistry + Emilio Estevez = Championship. Well, you may not have Emilio on your bench (not all dreams can come true), but you can build team chemistry. Here's one of the ways Randi Peterson from Coe College does it: We finish each pre-season with a scavenger hunt. This year, we created a giant puzzle. Every piece of the puzzle had a clue attached to it leading to the next piece. Once all the pieces were found, the girls assembled it and read it's message. It seems simple, but it is fun and hilarious and they have to do it together. And, for some reason, being silly bonds people to each other. It also makes good fodder for the highlight film too. But, that's not where we finish.

What can happen in a year? Well, if you're Uie Garcia and the South Windsor Girls, a lot. See, Coach Garcia has sold out on the Read & React Offense. He integrates it in just about everything he does in practice. He uses it against man-to-man, all types of zone defense, and as a press breaker. And, now, he's created an AAU organization dedicated to running the Read & React at every level. The Connecticut Attack are proof that it can be done on a large scale successfully. We were sent this article and thought you should know about it. For inspiration. For encouragement. And, well, because we like to brag on Read & React teams. Heading into his final year with the South Windsor Girls Travel Basketball Program, Ulysses Garcia decided to raise the bar through implementation of the Read & React Offense. The program dramatically evolved under his leadership; migrating from non-competitive teams at every grade level to teams that were consistently competing for league championships. Yet it was his final year that Garcia saw the greatest growth. Through implementing the Read & React Offense, his athletes began to really understand the game and develop a true 'Basketball IQ'. They moved well without the ball, and made smart decisions with it. Instead of running plays, they were reading defenders as well as ball movement.