In yesterday’s post, we mentioned the simplicity of the Escape Hatch for a dribble penetrator who can’t make it all the way to the rim or just doesn’t like what he sees. Today, let’s take it one step further.

What if that ball handler (1 in this case) drove right, bounced off to the Escape Hatch, then immediately crossed over and attacked again – this time to the left? What would that do to the defense? Let’s take a look at it.

Bounce Off Escape Attack Frame 1

With 1 driving right, every other offensive player Circle Moves to the right. This forces every defensive player to rotate as well. Most likely, x2 has helped on the drive and now must recover to his man in the corner.

Bounce Off Escape Attack Frame 2

If 1 bounces off to the Escape Hatch, quickly crosses over, and attacks left, the defense may be in enough disarray from the extreme rotation that he has a clear path to the goal. Or, maybe a helping defender leaves the Natural Pitch or the Baseline Cutter open.

Bounce Off Escape Attack Frame 3

But, let’s say the defense is solid and can recover well enough to stop the second drive.

Bounce Off Escape Attack Frame 4

The ball handler can still easily bounce off and drift back to the Escape Hatch. At this point, anything is possible. With the defense having helped and rotated twice in a row (in opposite directions), who knows what break downs may have occurred. Perhaps another drive is open, or a quick Pass & Cut, or a Pin & Skip.

The point is that the defense has been sufficiently moved with only two actions and the ball never changing hands. Hopefully, it’s been moved enough to shake a scoring opportunity loose. If not, a good Read & React team will simply continue to hunt until one is.

And, this Bounce Off Escape Attack could be used in practice as a diagnostic tool for both your defense and offense. Is your defense capable of handling the stress of all of that movement and still remain intact? Is the Circle Movement habit ingrained deeply enough so that your players will Circle Move correctly on both dribble attacks?

The above diagrams were powered by FastDraw.

6 Responses

  1. If you are stopped on dribble penetration, then someone must have helped. You should just kick the ball to the open man. This dribble right, reverse dribble, dribble left, reverse dribble, etc. would drive me nuts. Plus, the reverse dribble may confuse teammates thinking you want a ball screen. If you’re not open, pass the ball. Keep it simple.

    1. @Magic – I totally get your point and I present this as an option for coaches that want to use it. If you think it’s going to complicate things, by all means, skip it. That’s why it isn’t a layer.

      I don’t think the reverse dribble (in this case) will confuse anyone because it is a reverse from inside the arc back to a spot. Maybe I’m wrong, but I haven’t seen that as an issue so far.

    2. I love R&R so don’t get me wrong but I have to be honest … I don’t think Circle Movement works . Not sure if it is because I am coaching 12 and 13 yr old girls or if it is because in New Brunswick, Canada we are ONLY allowed to play man to man defence so teams tend to sag except for the great ones. My experience with running circle movement is player beats her player 1 on 1 but one dribble away is help because they are sagging. This means you don’t have time to lob or bounce to 1 spot away or even use safety valve or laker cut because she wasn’t able to penetrate far enough into the paint. PLEASE prove me wrong but in the mean time, we are using circle reverse after attacking the sagging help defender for dribble penetration and also draft driving off a pass or behind a backdoor cut to dribble to the basket. Problem with these options, is we don’t get outside shots alot.


      Coach Dar

      1. Darlene,
        I’d like to share some of my thoughts about circle movement. I too coach 13 year old girls. My disclaimer on CM is this. Its not perfect. Its just the best option vs standing there watching the ball being dribbled. With my disclaimer out there, I taught CM before any other layer because my players just stood there while the player with the ball dribble penetrated. And that frustrated me more than anything else.
        Without seeing your team play, I’m just guessing there isn’t enough spacing between players. There is always room for a pass off the dribble if your players are beyond the 3 pt line. Again, this is without seeing your issue. If teams are sagging on your team, I don’t see the point in attempting to drive. Why not set a down screen or staggered screens for your shooters. If teams are backing off, push them deeper into the lane. This is what the pass and cut layer has done for us, created a environment where the defense is backing off. I say fine, we’ll just run more down screens and some dribble at’s to get you on your heels.
        Scott tells me he has posted my last two team video clips from last summer. See if there is anything on them that helps you. I’m sure you will see times when my players don’t circle move and don’t get a good look. You will probably see more scoring options when we do CM correctly. In our last tourney in Denver, CO. we made 20 3’s in the semi’s and finals. 13 makes off 17 shots in the semi’s.

  2. Hey Scott,
    I like the observation that one spot over in the direction of the drive is always open. I would like to get your thoughts on how to reconcile the Escape Hatch and Circle Reverse concepts from a “read” perspective. Is the thought that the “bounce” to the open space happens so quickly that Player 2 (using your example) would not have time to reverse his movement? Or is it that the penetration may have failed but it was not flattened out?

    1. @Mike – The Circle Reverse occurs when a penetrator’s drive attempt has failed and he picks up his dribble. Now he is in trouble and that should call on the Circle Reverse.

      This Escape Hatch can only occur if the ball handler keeps his dribble. Hopefully, if you let your penetrators know that this is available, you won’t have to worry too much about Circle Reverse because this is a preventative measure.

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