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Why the Rear Cut Works

In the Pass & Cut Layer, a rule is established that never changes throughout the offense: If you pass one spot away, you must basket cut. There are many reasons for this rule, but I want to focus on the Rear Cut.

Most teams teach their defenders to jump to the ball when a pass is made. Depending on a coach’s defensive philosophy, this is done for one of two reasons.

  • To establish denial position and prevent the return pass.
  • To get in a better helping position closer to the ball (gap defense).

The Rear Cut is the best response for this defensive habit.

But I don’t want the offensive player to make a decision – it’s too slow. That’s why I made the basket cut a rule. I’m giving the offense an instant reaction habit that counters the defensive habits of most teams.

Look at it this way: by jumping to the ball, the defense just moved out of your way and allowed you a clear cut to the basket. It then becomes a foot race from the perimeter with the offense facing the goal and the defense with its back to the goal. All things being equal, guess who wins?

If the defense does not jump to the ball to get denial position, then the passer Front Cuts the defender. The moment the offensive player steps in front of the defender, it’s over – the defender is beat.

It’s that simple. If the defender jumps, Rear Cut. If the defender stays, Front Cut. I could teach a donkey to do that.

Rear Cuts are also implemented when the defense steps over the Read Line. This usually occurs when the offensive player is filling a spot one pass away from the ball and the defense is either trying to deny or is trying to steal the anticipated pass.

The reason the Rear Cut works in this case is the same as before. The defender’s back is to the goal with his weight moving away from it. And the offensive player is facing the goal with his weight moving toward it. Advantage: Offense.

By the way, all Rear Cuts don’t work in all situations, but they are more likely to be successful in the two scenarios that I’ve described – when the defender is in the act of moving his weight away from the goal.

I’ve set up the habits of the Read & React so that the offensive player’s Rear Cut is timed to the defender’s most vulnerable moment. No thinking. No decisions. Just cut. Missing that timing or allowing the defender to get into your body (more on this in a future post) while in the denial position will lower your chances at an effective Rear Cut.

It is easy to theorize in a blog post about what would be best, but I’m sure you want proof. Ok, you twisted my arm. You can see the Rear Cut in action in real time in real games here.


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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.

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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.