The question often comes up, “How do I know when our Read & React team should add new layers?”

Simple answer: when the previous layer (or bundle of layers if you’re implementing a few at once) are habit. Unfortunately, that leaves a rather unfulfilled taste in my mouth because the question you really want answered is, “How can I test to see if my team is ready for more layers?”

Ok, the answer to that question: use a diagnostic test.

Place 5 players on the floor without defense. Ask them to perform the offense using as many layers as are already in their arsenal with the intent to score on a specific action.

In the video below, Rick Torbett asks for the following progression:

• pass and cut for a few passes
• dribble-at a player
• the player who is cutting from the dribble-at leg whips into the post and receives the post feed
• the passer Laker cuts for the score

Actually, Rick asks for the score in the second (then third) Laker cut, but you can demand whatever you want. In fact, you could simply demand that they use all their known layers before they are allowed to score. There are a lot of ways to do this.

Your job as the coach is to note where they are struggling. And, if they have it down to your satisfaction, then you have your answer – now is the time to push forward.

The below clip is taken from our upcoming new 5 DVD set, Read & React Clinics: Planning the R&R Practice.

Side Note: You also heard Rick mention the benefits of a common Read & React language. Think about it, as a coach you could step into the shoes of any other Read & React coach and be able to control some major actions (and minor ones) with the same terminology that you use with your own team. I think this is invaluable especially for club systems or even a Varsity coach who has control over all the feeder teams.

Remember, though, you might not always need to add more layers. If your team has found a combination of layers that meets all of their needs and can stretch any defense in your league, you may want to stop adding layers and instead, go deeper with the layers you have.

And, yes, we’ve covered that a bit in the past: Going Deeper into Layers, Going Deeper into Pass & Cut, Going Deeper into Post Cuts.

What diagnostic tests do you run with your team?

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