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by Rick Torbett
In one of the coaching clinics that I attended recently, one of the speakers mentioned where he thought the game was headed. He said, “I believe that in the future, you’ll see teams with no positions – POSITIONLESS BASKETBALL.” (Something to that effect – not an exact quote.) He didn’t propose how it would happen, just that it would. I really appreciate his prediction – he’s an NBA coach known for his intellect, insights, and ability to teach and breakdown the game. (That’s why I was there!)
The moment he said it, I immediately stood up and said, “Coach, the future is already here! The Read & React has been public for 4 years! Our Tribe coaches on all levels are changing the way the game is taught and played! They’ve won National and State titles and so many Coach of the Year awards, that I can’t keep up with it!! Creativity and Love of the Game is exploding in spots all over the nation and even in other countries!”
Well, OK, …. I didn’t really say that, but that’s what went through my mind! I sat there and smiled, wondering how the Read & React will ever break through to his level. Will he ever get a chance to take a real, honest, open-minded look at the Read & React? Oh well, nothing I can do about that other than help our Tribe succeed.
Let’s talk about “Positionless” basketball. This is one of the main reasons I created the Read & React. As far back as 1983-85, I experienced the need for a position-less offense. On one team, my point guard was my leading rebounder. The next year, my best post player, best outside shooter, and the best player to bring the ball up against a full-court press was the same player! I remember thinking, “How do I categorize these players? Where do I put them? If I give them a position, will it keep them from being their best and giving us the most production?” I don’t want to hide my best press-breakers in the post! And at the same time, if they can score in the post, then I want to let them!
Every coach’s philosophy, even within our Tribe, is a little different. That’s expected (I’m actually glad it’s that way – the Read & React can absorb it). My philosophy was to teach the Read & React to every player, remove myself from making assumptions about what my players can and cannot do, and allow each one to PROVE what he/she can actually do. Most players will avoid their weakness and choose their strength, just as most people will choose success over failure; pleasure over pain.
This is the essence of positionless basketball. If one player can break the press, then fine – do it. But if we need to bring the ball up by committee, then we do it – without a time-out and without calling a play. Let the players gravitate to positions and actions that they do best – not for the season, or for a single game, but possession by possession. In 1984, the Read & React would have allowed my best player to do what was needed and what was best on a moment-by-moment basis – without breaking 5-player coordination and without “calling a play”.
“Positionless Basketball” – Little did you Read & React coaches know that you were making history ahead of time! Go Tribe, go!!
The Perimeter Zone – Part 2 of 3 (If you missed Part 1, watch it here)
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