The next time I taught Read and React, I tried a different layer order (teaching the passing layers first), and I worked harder to sell the offense to the players, and that really worked for us.
However, the third time I taught a team read and react, I really strayed from the beaten path and taught it in a totally new way, a way which I’m about to share here in five parts.
This is part 1 of 5.
I’m sure many of you will absolutely hate this new approach, but frankly, it was dramatically more effective — so much so that I plan on using this approach again, refining it as I go.
In fact, I’m posting it here in the hopes that you guys will help me refine it, or at least tell me why I should go back to a more conventional way of teaching it.
In other words, here is the current version of my ever evolving Basketballogy approach to teaching Rick Torbett’s Read and React Offense:
For reference, Rick Torbett has invented a smart half court offense called “Read and React,” and he teaches it in what he calls “layers.” I like the offense, but the layer approach of teaching, while simplifying individual concepts, complicates the overall understanding of the offense, I think.
Rather than teach and drill the Read and React offense a “layer at a time,” I reorganized the Read and React principles into 4 logical, intuitive groups, and taught and drilled each group at once. This approach made Read and React easier to grasp, faster to learn, and much more natural and effective in its execution in half court basketball for at least 2 groups of teenage boys.
I base my approach on what I call the “RGB of half court offense.”
As most of you know, in the world of technology, “RGB” stands for “red, green, blue,” and everything we see on a television, computer screen, smart phone, etc. is all just a blending of these three fundamental colors.
It really is amazing when you think about it: everything we see on these screens is really just a matter of how the device uses red, green and blue.
Likewise, everything that happens in half court offense is just a matter of how a team uses the RGB of half court offense:
2. Player movement
3. Ball movement
It doesn’t matter what half court offense you talk about, from the Triangle (Triple-post) Offense, to the Read and React offense, to a library of set plays, to freelance playing… all half court basketball is just a matter of how a team uses spacing, ball movement and player movement to score the ball.
The funny thing is that as obvious as this is, I have yet to meet a coach or a player who even understands that all his favorite half court offensive strategy and set plays are all just how these three things are being applied to create scoring opportunities.
Anyway, like all half court offenses, the Read and React offensive principles can be grouped into these 3 fundamental elements of half court offense, and by teaching them in these groupings, players grasp the R&R Offense’s principles very quickly. And because they instantly see how the R&R principles apply to their half court play, they quickly adapt them into real basketball playing.
Each phase has its own set of rules, and the reasons behind them. I feel it is critical that each player doesn’t just understand the rules of the offense, but the reasons for each of the rules as well. Teaching players why they should do certain things on the floor makes a world of difference in how well they do them.
After all, it is one thing to tell a kid to climb a mountain, and another thing altogether to tell a kid to climb a mountain because a giant tsunami is coming.
The “why to do” something has such an affect on the “what to do” that I feel we can’t just teach players what to do and send them out there like robots who will obediently execute what they’ve been taught (and if they don’t will once we yell at them to). I feel players play better when they know the reasons for doing what we do on a basketball court.
After all, no matter how good our offensive system is at creating great shots, it can’t make them for you. Ultimately, players play the game, not coaches.
Which brings me to my next point: our offensive system only contributes 3 of the 6 elements of offense. While our “system” gives our offense spacing, ball movement and player movement, there are 3 elements of offense that are contributed mostly by the players on the floor:
1. Acumen (decision making)
3. Capability (talent, skills, size, athleticism, etc.)
True, these things can be coached to a degree. We can use our knowledge to teach players better decision making, our influence to get great effort from our players, and our authority to get the right capabilities on the floor, but none of that is actually playing the game. Ultimately acumen, effort and capability are player contributions.
Now that I have introduced the RBG of the Read and React Offense, it is time for…