This post was inspired by a thread in the Tribe Forum. Be sure to check out the forum and pick the brains of Read & React coaches from all over the world.

I’ve always had an inside-out mentality when it comes to basketball.

It makes sense, right? The defense is required first to protect the lane (hopefully forcing them to rotate and cheat to do so), which opens up the outside game because it’s always easier to attack a recovering defender.

But what if you don’t have a strong inside presence?

Basketball’s traditional paradigm teaches us that to “go inside” means we need to have Post Players inside, hogging the lane, and scoring with drop-steps and hooks and dunks and high-low action, etc, as we run our offense through them. I can count on two fingers how many times I had a post player like that in my program.

The good news is that you can get the same amount (if not more) inside-out action in 4 OUT or even 5 OUT. It sounds like a contradiction, but it isn’t.

Inside-out doesn’t work because you have post players scoring, it works because usually the team that gets the most shots in the lane wins – regardless of who gets those shots. And, opening the lane up with 5 OUT and 4 OUT (even 3 OUT if you do more with your posts than just sit them in the mid-post position) gives all players using the Read & React Offense a chance to score in the lane.

I intentionally designed every action (or Layer) in the Read & React to send someone to the rim as a scoring threat: it’s hard wired with an “Inside-Out” philosophy. There’s no other basketball offense or offensive system that sends more players to the rim with each movement of the ball than the Read & React.

Here’s a breakdown of the Inside Threats created by each layer:

Layer 1: When you pass, what happens? The passer must basket cut. The cutter is the Inside Threat.

Layer 2: Feed the post and the passer Laker Cuts to the rim. Even the Advanced X-Cut (Layer 13) sends the screener to the rim.

Layer 3: When dribbled at, a player must cut to the rim. The cutter is again the Inside Threat.

Layer 4, 5, 6: When someone drives… well, that’s obvious.

Layer 7: What about a Pin & Skip? The Pin Screener is now inside and capable of threatening the rim.

Layer 9: When a post player screens for a cutter, Layer 9 teaches them to “Shape Up” into the lane and call for the ball. That’s the Inside Threat.

Layer 10: When a filler decides to set a Back Screen, the user of the screen cuts to the basket.

Layer 11: Multiple Screens has multiple threats inside – cutters and screeners.

Layer 12: After the ball screen is set, there are two players threatening inside: the ball handler and the roller.

Layer 14: When a cutter is forced to make a corner, they’re setting a back screen most of the time.

Layer 15: After the Power Dribbler hands off the ball, she rolls to the basket. Inside Threat.

Layer 16: The Advanced Post Slide is initiated with someone driving to the rim (Inside Threat). And, one of the Advanced post slides gives the post a better chance to receive the dish – a pass for weak side lay-up.

So, all of that means, if you’re running the Read & React, you are going inside first. The ball might not be thrown inside (the way it’s done with the traditional post game), but it doesn’t have to be to get the same effect.

The Read & React makes the defense guard inside first with every action, so it doesn’t matter whether the ball is thrown inside or not. The threat to score inside is there and it distorts the defense and creates the same helping, rotating, close-out errors by the defense that allows scoring opportunities to take place.

3 Responses

  1. Rick,

    This series of posts is so great. I’ve been using R & R for the past several years at our Jr Varisty level. Had a chance to move up and coach our school’s senior/varsity girls’ team this past season. Previous coach ran a FLEX, so it took the players a bit of time to warm up to the idea of the R&R and the freedom it gave them to play the game.
    I even revamped their BLOB/SLOB plays to follow R&R.

    In the end, we won our Zones/Regionals and qualified for Provincials. 1st time in over 30 years the school had done that.
    Very satisfying; one player received an HM AllStar and the team won Most Sportsmanlike out of the 16 teams represented.

  2. Shayne,

    Congratulations on winning your Regionals – first time in over 30 years! I love hearing this kind of stuff. And to do it while winning Most Sportsmanlike tells me you’re doing more than just teaching basketball. Perhaps a good post to start would be something on “Building a Winning Culture – More Than the Scoreboard”. How’s that for a title? I would love to hear about the abstracts and intangibles that you and other Tribe members use in your practices, games, team meetings, etc.

    Back to Read & React – Isn’t it amazing what happens when you take the shackles off players and get back to the purity of the game? I read somewhere that where rules and regulations are simple and easy to understand, complex and creative behavior will result. But where rules and regulations are multiplied and complicated, you’ll get simple and stupid behavior. (That’s a paraphrase – I’ll look it up when I get a chance.)

    I’m glad you had the courage to buck the traditional paradigm. I think about what your kids will carry with them for the rest of their lives – beyond basketball.

    Thanks again for sharing your success!

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