Think of your team as a group of dogs (in the nicest way you can). Teach those dogs a bunch of tricks and you have a basketball team that is capable of following directions and may be entertaining at parties. But… will they win games they shouldn't win?
Now, take those dogs and train them how to hunt. Provide them with the strategy, but allow them to find the most efficient and effective way to get the job done. After all, basketball players are smarter than coaches on a moment by moment basis. If you did that, you'd have a team capable of much more than entertaining at a party.
Check out how the Brookwood boys use the Read & React as a framework to hunt for the weaknesses in the defense, waiting until the right moment to pounce. Yes, the coach is still in charge, he just doesn't slow his team down with micro-managing.
Clip 1: This is a good mix of Pass & Cut, Back-Screens, and Down-Screens that finally create a Penetrate and Pitch scoring opportunity. The coordination of Layers and players allows one action to set up another action that sets up another action, etc…
Clip 2: Another good combo of the two main Layers of the Read & React: Drive & Circle Move and Pass & Cut. These two set up a third Layer for the score; the Baseline Drive. The Natural Pitch is open, but not for the shot – it’s the re-drive that scores.
There's a difference between simply “Running the Read & React” and learning how to use the weapons that make up the Offense.
Doesn’t running the Offense mean that you know how to use the actions of the Read & React?
No, and here’s why.
The Read & React is an attacking offense, but just like anything, the same attack isn't always going to work. That's why the Read & React is made up of layers - you can use one layer to set up the attack of another.
Think of it from the perspective of a boxer. A jab is an effective punch, but if that's all you throw, then it gets fairly easy to defend. So… you throw in a cross every once in a while or a punch to the body. And, even better is using the jab to set up the cross.
In the clips below, you'll see how one layer of the Read & React Offense is used to set up the attack from another layer.
Clip 1: The Pass & Cut Action in the 4out formation does not produce a basket in and of itself. Instead, the team uses it to hunt for an opportune time to drive for a lay-up. When the defense has been forced to move and change positions because the ball and offensive players have been moving and changing positions, the defense eventually misses an assignment or is not in the best position. A good hunter like Printy #24 will find it and exploit it.
By just implementing a couple of the Read & React layers, a team can have a functional offense. In fact, the Iowa University women only used 8 layers of the offense. And, they were the 2010 BigTen Runner Up. (You can see an interview with assistant coach Jenny Fitzgerald here.)
In the clips below you'll see how the Read & React Offense using mainly Layer 1: Pass & Cut puts the defense on its heels. And, once you're finished with these clips, check out more game footage at our Read & React video page.
Clip 1: This is a great Combo clip in a 4out formation. The Layers that you’ll see are Feed the Post with a Laker Cut, Pass & Cut, Post Blocking combined with Back-Screens.
There is one exception to the Circle Movement rule in the Read & React (and it couldn't be helped). When a player drives baseline, four passing windows must be filled: the Safety Valve, the Natural Pitch, the 45 degree window, and the 90 degree window. Filling these windows puts all the offensive players into the best positions to catch and shoot or catch and do something else (hopefully smart). Because of this, the driver always knows where each her teammates is on the drive, which is a huge benefit of the Read & React Offense.
The clips below show a variety of Baseline Drives from a couple of formations. You can see that sometimes those four passing windows are filled with guards and other times, they're filled with post players. For more basketball video of the offense at all levels, check out the Read & React video page.
Clip 1: Baseline Drive 45-degree window. However, note that all of the windows of the Baseline Drive Layer were filled and it’s a combination of 3 Layers: the post slid up to the 90-degree window (Basic Post Slides); the Safety Valve behind her was filled and the wing circled into the 45-degree window (Circle Movement); and the opposite corner flattened for the Natural Pitch (Baseline Drive Layer).
With the Read & React Offense, a team can use various formations without altering the fundamental principles of the offense. You'll see in the clips below, Iowa spends some of their time in 5out and some of their time in 4out (solely based on the personnel they have in the game at any given moment).
You'll also see them flowing seamlessly between those formations. And, that's where the Read & React can get really tough on the defense. You can see more examples of how the Read & React Offense pushes a defense to the limit, along with basketball game footage from all levels, at our Read & React Offense video page.
Even Bill Self believes that the Read & React Offense is great as a developmental basketball offense. But, can it work at the highest levels? The University of Iowa women think so - that's why they've run it for the past 3 years with some great success. Hear what longtime Iowa assistant coach, Jenny Fitzgerald has to say about it here.
You can watch some of that success in the video below. And, if you want to see more game footage from the Read & React at all levels, visit our Read & React Offense video page.
Clip 1: 4out: a little mix of Pass & Cut with Dribble Penetration & Pitch.
The Read & React Offense isn't just a concept or theory - it works in real basketball games, even at the highest levels. Early in Read & React's existence, coaches wanted to see what it looked like in live action. Well, we've obliged.
Here are some clips from the University of Iowa women, who reached the BigTen Championship game in 2010. For more Read & React game clips from the Iowa women (and teams of all levels), check out our basketball video page.
Clip 1: This illustrates what I mean by a NORTH-SOUTH drive. The help defense must be across and deep, leaving the receiver plenty of time for the shot. Simple Layer 1 stuff.
The Read & React as a whole has all of the complexities needed to beat any defense at any level. This is because it coordinates five players using multiple basketball actions linked randomly together. But, that’s not the whole story.
It has been noted by almost everyone who has looked at the Read & React system that each layer of the offense is simple. A layer consists of actions of a ball handler followed by the reactions of those without the ball. Both the actions and reactions are simple. If you pass, then you cut. If there is an open spot, fill it. Simple.
So, how can the simple actions available to the ball handler and the simple reactions required of the non-ball handlers be so effective?
Fleas are capable of jumping extremely high. In fact, the average flea can jump between 8–10 inches high, which is just about 100 times its height. That’s like a 5-foot-tall person jumping from the ground to the top of the Washington Monument. Yikes.
Fleas can be trained, however.
If you were to place a group of fleas in a jar with the lid off, their superior jumping ability would easily allow them to escape from the confines of the jar.
Now, close the lid and walk away for three days.