Home Forums Topics Systems & Strategies Actions vs Sets- A Read and React brainstorm Actions vs Sets- A Read and React brainstorm


Rick uses color calls to emphasize certain types of actions within the flow of the game. “Green” might mean P&C to speed up the flow (“go!”); “Purple” signaling to hunt for Post Up actions, “Blue” calling to “set back screens,” etc.

TJ has posted some variations he has used. For example, “Shooter” means go 4 out- 1 in with our hot 3pt shooter in the high post, setting back screens for cutters. Because the opposing coach has told his defender to “stick with the hot hand no matter what,” turning him into a screen creates open lay-ups and defensive switching confusion. The shooter can take advantage of this by popping out and shaping up for a catch-and-shoot when the defense breaks down. “Chop,” on the other hand, sets a permanent short corner runner and high post, encouraging 3-out hi-lo action.

Both of these approaches leaves the decision making in the hands of the players as they hunt opportunities to create.

As I’m looking to blend more structured actions, I’m thinking about the cognitive shift I’m asking from my players. When do I want them to think about a certain execution, vs. playing with opportunistic flow? I’d be concerned with them trying to create a certain shot for Charlie, as you suggest, rather than hunting any good opportunity the defense gives. Would it take their minds off the basket?

I’m settling on ‘initiating actions,” short, 2-3 action sequences we can run on non-transition possessions,  where they are set as the ball comes up the floor. I’m looking at two formations–1-4 high and Horns–with one sequence scripted out of each ball handler decision (pass to wing, dribble at wing, feed post, cut strong, cut weak, etc). I’m hoping this allows them to take what the defense gives them while initiating our half court attack with some structure. Each initiation action is built with R&R actions, and flows seamlessly into R&R for the rest of the possession (if none of the scripted opportunities leads to a good shot).

So, If I want to get Charlie a shot, my ball handler (best IQ) is the only one who has to hunt for the action that gives Charlie options. Everyone else is simply reacting to the flow.

This has been one of the dominant conversations for me this off season, held with many coaches here and elsewhere. Love to hear other opinions.