I recently came across a story that I think applies to the Read & React (and perhaps basketball coaching in general). It’s the story about an Indian Fish shop (actually, you can find it in a variety of cultures) and you can read the original blog post here.

When Vijay opened his store he put up a sign that said “We Sell Fresh Fish Here.”

His father stopped by and said that the word “We” suggests an emphasis on the seller rather than the customer, and is really not needed. So the sign was changed to “Fresh Fish Sold Here.”

His brother came by and suggested that the word “here” could be done away with — it was superfluous.

Later, his neighbor stopped by to congratulate him. Then he mentioned that all passers-by could easily tell that the fish was really fresh. Mentioning the word “fresh” actually made it sound defensive as though there was room for doubt about the freshness.

Now the sign just read: “FISH.”

As Vijay was walking back to his shop after a break he noticed that one could identify the fish from its smell from very far, at a distance from which one could barely read the sign. He knew there was no need for the word “FISH.”

It seems that we always want to add more to the equation: one more Side-Out Play, one more drill, 10 more minutes to our practices. Or, in the case of the Read and React Offense, one more layer, one more adjustment, one more Quick Hitter. And, don’t get me wrong, those are great things to work on, but especially right now as the post season looms close, are they the best things to spend your practice time on?

Don’t let the adding of more detract from the fundamentals, from the basics. In pressure situations, will your players remember those additions? Spend the time you have before the post season sharpening the tools you already have rather than adding to your pouch. In the end, it will pay off.

And, Read and React coaches, know this: a handful of sharp layers will always outperform a bucketful of dull ones.

Do you agree?

4 Responses

  1. I totally agree i have been guilty of adding to much during this time instead of adding layers enhance the one’s you already have my girls arent the fastest or the biggest team out their and we one only 1 game but we didnt towards the end of the season and it’s because we are enhancing the layers we already know and that will carry over to the playoffs for us and seasons to come

  2. “K.I.S.S.” and “Less is More” come to mind. I have seen a few high school teams out perform opponents who have less talented/athletic players with their numerous set plays. But, when pushed to their physical limitations by equally talented teams, some of these previously “winning” teams crumble due to poor fundamentals. Some of the coaches of these same teams scream, yell and call out players for not performing a fundamental skill. I wonder how much time or emphasis is placed in their practices concerning these skills “everyone should already know.” I agree that an emphasis on the basics as well as how to Read and React as a team is a design for consistent success. But, it doesn’t hurt to have the players. 🙂

  3. Coach Ginn:
    Good afternoon. This is so true…Lord knows that I have been guilty of this in fear of I’m missing some “element of surprise” that I can use to help in my attack or game plan of an opponent. When if I would just get the youngsters to execute better on the fundamentals…we would progress a whole lot more. What I’ve found out also is that, when you focus on things like that, you tend to forget about emphasizing a fundamental that is BIGGER in your play throughout the season!

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