During recent clinics, I’ve mentioned Kevin Eastman’s quote about the future of basketball – that it will be “position-less”. He’s not yet seen the Read & React and so I find it interesting that one of the best basketball minds in the coaching community “senses” where things are headed. I would love to see him wrap his mind around what you and I already know: the future is already here. The Read & React is position-less, formless, unpredictable and yet totally accountable and teachable. There’s no telling how Kevin would operate it – just like all the Tribe coaches; it looks different in everyone’s hands.

But that’s not what I want to point out today. His quote about “position-less basketball” brought other terms to my mind like “formless” and “unpredictable”. It reminded me of a quote about how your team should be like “water” and adapt its form according to the defense…

I found this quote today in THE ART OF WAR by Sun Tzu – and it struck me how close his language is to ours. You’d think he was talking to his Read & React team just before a game:

“Strike at their gaps; attack when they are lax; don’t let the enemy figure out how to prepare. This is why it is said that in military operations formlessness is most effective. One of the great Warrior-Leaders said, “The most efficient of movements is the one that is unexpected; the best of plans is the one that is unknown.”

…The military (team) has no constant form, just as water has no constant shape – adapt as you face the enemy, without letting them know beforehand what you are going to do.”

Sun Tzu would have been a GREAT Read & React coach!


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  1. Aaron Harmon says:

    What are full court trips?

  2. Mark Dickerson says:

    I love it! That is the perfect description of why the Read & Read is so effective. The coach who introduced me to R&R 3 seasons ago had an opposing coach ask him before a game if he was running the R&R. His answer, “Yes, are you familiar with it?” The opposing coach said, “Yes, our JV runs it.” … No worries, it looks different every time. They won the game and the state championship that year!

  3. Robert Rowe says:

    Great stuff Coach Torbett…I concur… Tzu would have led some championship teams.

  4. Kimberlie says:

    Really liked what you had to say in your post, The Art of War (and R&R), thanks for the good read!