A day ago I took the trouble to type out my unconventional approach to implementing read and react… but I was too embarrassed to have you guys read it so I didn’t post it. So although I’m back making another attempt to confess my sins, we’ll see if I actually hit “Send Post” when I’m done. :-/
It’s not that my guys over dribble necessarily, it’s that they tend to not think to pass when they get the ball until they’ve dribbled at least a little bit. It’s as if they feel they have to enjoy having the ball a second before they’ll share it with others.
So this year, I have been teaching Read and React in an order that, I hope, teaches them first to pass.
(1) Layer 1 – I taught the guys the spacing outside the arc for 5 out, and drilled layer 1 (pass and cut) 5 out only, to keep it simple and not have them worry about the complications of post passes yet. I included read line cuts as well of course. When this was automatic…
(2) Layer 10 – I taught the guys layer 10 (back screens). I did this so that when guys ran to corners that were already occupied, they had a smooth way to handle it.
(3) Layer 14 – I then added layer 14 (corners pass and out) because in practice, the defense, our own players, knows that all this cutting is vital to the flow of our offense so they started holding up our cutters to tangle up the offense. Layer 14 counters that. By the way, because calling a player movement “corners” gets confused with the spots on the floor we call corners, I call this an “X-screen.” After all, if an X-Cut is setting a screen then changing direction and cutting to the basket, then it seems to me like cutting to the basket then changing direction to set a screen would be an X-Screen.
(4) Layer 9 – Then I taught the guys the spacing outside the arc for 4 out, and the 6 post spots (elbows, midposts, short corners), then taught them layer 9 (post screens) so that the post player would have something to do (setting screens) while the perimeter players were getting used to playing 4 out. Remember, at this point players were not yet passing to the post.
(5) Layer 2 – It didn’t take long for the players to adjust to 4 out with a post player screening for their cuts, so I quickly added layer 2 (post pass and cut). Now the post player was getting passes and the kids were learning Laker cuts high and low, and were having fun practicing wrap around drop passes for cutters.
(6) Layer 13 – When everyone looked comfortable with 4 out, I added layer 13 (post pass and cut east west). This seems to really take the predictability out of what a defender thinks a passer is going to do after he passes the ball from the perimeter, so I really like it.
(7) Layer 7 – With the team confidently passing around the perimeter, and passing to the post and cutters, I then taught them how to skip pass, layer 7 (pin and skip).
By the way, it is amazing how much basketball you can play without dribbling, and thankfully, my guys seem to have now noticed that.
Also, Rick talks about time compressing to accelerate the learning process. I believe teaching the passing layers first has done that for us. I think we have picked up supplemental layer skills with little effort, all the while driving the foundational passing skills deeper into our habits.
(8) Layer 3 – Having taught the guys 7 passing layers, I then introduced the first dribble layer (layer 2, dribble at). The cutting it initiates, and the filling outside the arc are super easy for them to understand so this layer is literally taught in minutes.
(9) Layer 15 – The next dribbling layer I taught them was layer 15 (power dribble), which is basically setting up a hand off on the perimeter, so again, this layer is taught in minutes. But this is as far as I could go without them learning how to drive north – south.
But notice how much read and react basketball the guys know, and they still haven’t been taught how to drive to the basket, their favorite go-to move?
(10) Layer 5 – It might seem kind of odd to teach the layer 5 (basic post slides: dribble penetration) before I teach layer 4 (dribble penetration), but teaching them what a post player does when someone drives north – south is quick and easy and puts post players in the right places as we drill the harder layer, layer 4.
(11) Layer 4 – This is where we are now (layer 4 circle movement: dribble penetration). This layer is going to take some time to teach. Some drives can be vague and players can circle both ways at once trying to figure it out.
Also, I’ve observed from youtube footage of other teams, that players can get lazy about circling when someone is driving and just stand there watching the drive, so I keep emphasizing that the whole purpose for player movement while the ball is being driven is to put them in windows where they can potentially receive passes.
In other words, if you don’t circle move, you won’t get the ball. Hopefully that will provide motivation for them until it is a habit.
(12) Layer 8 – When layer 4 looks like they are reacting out of habit rather than thought, I’ll next teach them what to do when the drive has been stopped (layer 8, circle reverse).
(13) Layer 6 – Then I plan to address layer 6 (baseline dribble penetration). While layer 6 seems to violate the RULES of circle movement, it definitely still follows the PRINCIPLES behind player movement when the ball is being driven: namely that players need to position themselves into windows where they can potentially receive passes. So again, I’ll emphasize to them that if they want the ball, they need to be in the windows at 0 degrees, 45 degrees, 90 degrees and 180 degrees.
(14) Layer 12 – We aren’t “pick and roll maniacs,” but I’m hoping we’ll get as far as teaching layer 12 (ball screens) this season. Last year some of our opponents really overplayed us on top to force our point guard to give up the ball, then they’d deny him getting it again. We sometimes used a high pick and role combined with a give and go with a wing to beat it. This layer would bring back that option to us this year.
When I get my team to this point, we should know all 8 foundational layers of the read and react offense, plus 6 of the 8 enhancement layers, but with the important distinction that will have learned them pass first. Hopefully then, passing is what they’ll feel most comfortable with, or at least they won’t be thinking “dribble” as a knee jerk reaction to having received a pass.
So, this is my approach. I’m guessing it will seem confusing and convoluted to others, nevertheless, my 14 to 17 year old guys are getting it and are progressing well with this approach.
Unfortunately, it is still our pre-season and many of our key players aren’t available to practice yet because they are involved in high school football and golf, whose seasons are still going. When we get those guys, we’ll of course have to start all over again, but at least I’ll have 4 to 6 other “teachers” on the floor helping me teach them. At least that’s the plan.
To click “Send Post” or not to click “Send Post.” That is the question. :-/