Better Basketball logo

What I Learned This Summer : Whose Turn Is It?

In my previous post, I pointed out that I had the pleasure and opportunity to work with 20+ teams and their coaching staffs this past summer.  These teams ranged from youth teams to college teams from a single team of eight players to a multiple team organization of 100+ players on multiple courts at the same time.  This experience took me through Maine, Maryland, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Washington, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky.

Here is MORE of what I learned through this experience this summer:

Never assume that players know what you know, or “see” what you see.  Even the simplest of actions needs to be explained, taught, and drilled with expectation.  Here’s one simple action as an example:

When the ball is passed in the Read & React Offense, three players are immediately entwined in a game of “Whose Turn is It?”  As an exercise, ask your players if they can recite the order of “turns” or “opportunities” every time this simple action occurs:

When the PASSER passes, the passer becomes the CUTTER and has six NEXT actions or opportunities that can lead to a scoring chance:

  1. Front Cut for a lay-up
  2. Rear Cut for a lay-up
  3. Logo Shot
  4. Logo Move
  5. Logo Dish
  6. Logo Pitch

These actions or opportunities are identified, explained, and drilled in the Read & React Offense, Layer 1 : Action A : Cutting . 

The CUTTER should be cutting with a purpose as an EAGER RECEIVER, hands ready and body language to receive the pass.   The RECEIVER should catch with instant readiness to return the pass to the CUTTER as early as possible. (see my last post) .

Almost simultaneously (but not quite), the RECEIVER’s turn is next.  As the CUTTER is cutting, the RECEIVER must flip a switch from possibly passing to possibly DRIVING:

  1. Can I DRAFT DRIVE the cutter?
  2. Is REAL ESTATE being created by the cutter? If so, is it to my right or left?
  3. Is my defender closing out on me?  If so, which way can I drive?

This might sound like a lot for the ball-handler to be considering, but it is not if they are taught one decision at a time over a period of time.

If the CUTTER is not open, and if the RECEIVER does not drive or shoot, then it’s the third player’s turn in this scenario: the FILLER of the empty spot.  Both the FILLER and the RECEIVER need to be trained in this “turn.”  The FILLER must read his/her defender and consider that one of the following might be available:

  1. READ LINE and rear cut
  2. PUPPYDOG the trailing defender
  3. SHOOT if there’s space (and in the shooter’s range and the shooter is prepared)
  4. RIP & GO in the other direction if the defender is arriving late

Of course, there’s a 5th possibility for the FILLER: the FILLER could simply catch the ball and choose some action other than the four above.  Understanding that it’s your turn (The FILLER’s turn) will change the speed, angle, body language, and cleverness of the player who FILLS the empty spot.  (You can find details on expanding these skills in the VOD series : “Developing the Read and React Player.”)

That’s 14 things that could happen every time the ball moves.  That’s 14 things that we should be teaching and training every player on our team.  There’s more to Pass and Cut than simply Pass and Cut for a layup, and every team I worked with this summer was leaving some “meat on the bone” by overlooking this simple and most common action in the Read & React Offense.

I’ll have more to things I learned this summer in my next post! – Rick.

[author ] Coach Rick Torbett is a 20-year high school coach and the creator of the Read and React Offense and the CEO of Better Basketball, Inc. His videos have been sold in over 100 countries. He has been a featured clinic speaker at The NCAA Men’s Final Four Coaching Convention, written countless articles and continues to be a regular speaker at PGC Basketball PGC/Glazier clinics nationwide in the United States.

FbLogo  BetterBasketball  TwitterLogo  @ricktorbett  InstgramLogo  @betterbasketball




Read & React 5-Player Coordination Drills

Enter your email address to get an inside look at teaching the Read & React Offense with the drills in this free video.


Become a More Confident Shooter

From our friends at PGC Basketball — PGC’s Shooting Specialist shares 3 FREE video trainings for scoring more points & getting more playing time!  Enter your email to get started.



about rick torbett

Rick Torbett has taught thousands of coaches to win more games through his innovative approach to the game. He has created powerful training for coaches at any level so they can coach their best and win more games.

Follow Us

Read & React 5-Player Coordination Drills

Enter your email address to get an inside look at teaching the Read & React Offense with the drills in this free video.