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The Tribe

You can do anything you want with your post players as long as they react correctly to dribble penetration. We've said that before and it remains true. But, that leaves a lot of options. I thought it would be helpful to give you three that I would consider using if I had a 3 OUT team (or, if I had a team that occasionally flowed into a 3 OUT). 1. Place one post on the ball-side high post and the other on the weak-side low post. The High Post can be given rules in this situation: screen for cutters and shape up for the ball or set a ball screen every other pass (really, this can be whatever you want). The Low Post simply stays opposite the ball (allowing space for cutters to get to the basket) and whenever the High Post receives a shape up pass, ducks into the lane looking for the Hi-Lo.

A couple of weeks ago, we had our first Read & React clinic of the season in Crystal Lake, IL (there's six more clinics coming so find one near you) hosted by my good friend, Rich Czeslawski. I introduce him here because you'll see more of him in this space in some footage from that clinic as well as hopefully some more guest posts. Rich wrote this post shortly after the clinic and I think it fits well with what we're trying to accomplish with the Tribe: If there is one trait that stands out in those considered the best of the coaching and teaching profession, it is passion. Watching a teacher or coach who truly loves what they are doing is both inspiring and educational. A great teacher brings out the best in those around them because their passion is contagious and creates an environment in which learning and working becomes fun for everyone. As coaches, we must always remember that teaching is the most important part of our job, and that our passion for what we do is our greatest tool. It helps us in building relationships with players and other coaches which both enhances the impact we can have, as well as makes our job more fulfilling. Here are 7 ways you can spread your PASSION for the game and this profession: Pick a "Thinking Team".
 Start by picking a group of colleagues who you respect and assemble a team of people to run ideas by. This group can consist of your former teachers, coaches, and mentors, opposing coaches who you have built a relationship with, or coaches who are known for their expertise in a certain area. Try to find a diverse collection of coaches with different philosophies and coaching styles. You will find that the conversations you have with members of your “Thinking Team” will be some of the most enjoyable and rewarding you will ever know.

One of the defenses that Read & React coaches sometimes struggle against is a sagging man to man. And, it makes sense. If you don't have shooters, a defense can interfere with all the cutting and penetration of the Read & React by playing off and protecting the paint. But, as I'm sure you've already guessed, there are solutions. These came from coaches like you in the forum and have been used in real games in real situations. Thanks to Mat11, Rob K, rpt, Rick, and rgriffin921 for the ideas. Pin & Skip: A Pin & Skip sends a message to the defense, "if you want to sag, then you will have to navigate a screening situation. Help and sag if you want, but your defensive life will be much more difficult". But, you don't have to shoot on the skip pass. You don't even have to score on that action. It's designed to move the defense out of their comfortable little box and hopefully open up some seams that can be exploited by other actions. A skip pass recipient can drive immediately against the close out, feed the post and make one of four post cuts, make a perimeter pass and cut, Power Dribble, Reverse Dribble, or Skip the pass back across if another Pin Screen has been set. Try the Pin & Skip, force the defense to navigate screens, and look to score with the next action. Of course, if you have the shooters, knocking down the 3 is the simplest option.

Let me tell you something that you already know: each one of your players is different. Each has a unique set of skills, a unique capacity for learning, a unique hype number, and of course, a unique personality. But, are you treating them that way? Please read as deeply into that question as possible, but for the purposes of this blog, I'm going to focus on what that means for you as a Read & React coach. Players can be taught layers according to their own abilities. That means you can have some players using Layers 1-6, some using 1-10, and some using 1-20 (or even, 1-6, 10, 14, and 15). As long as the foundation layers have been covered, those with fewer layers will not hinder the impact of those with more. Let's put this in a practical perspective. There are two types of Post Slides: Basic (layer 5) and Advanced (layer 16). There are also two ways to fill out after a player has cut: simply fill out (layer 1) or backscreen out (layer 10). You can train one post player to only react with a Basic Post Slide and train another to react with the Advanced Post Slide based on their skill, ability, understanding, etc. (That's your job to figure out.) And, the same is true with filling out and backscreening. Maybe a handful of players can't (or won't backscreen) - that's ok.