This week we are featuring a Read & React State Champions Robert E. Lee High School, coached by Jeremy Hartman.
In the summer of 2008, after my third year as the head coach of the girls’ basketball program at Robert E. Lee High in Staunton, VA, I knew something needed to change. We were making progress as a team but we still seemed like we were too easy to scout and our offense was too methodical. With a talented group of freshman slated to hit the program that winter I went searching for something that would take the program to the next level. That’s when I found the Read & React offense.
I spent countless hours talking to people about the offense and asking if they had tried it or knew anyone that had. No one seemed to know anything about it so I purchased the DVD set and spent my summer engrossed in the Read & React.
The Read & React was so simple, so pure, yet it was all basketball. It was perfect for my group of freshmen coming in. I began implementing the drills in our off-season conditioning program and continued throughout the summer and fall. Once practice started in the winter we began putting in the layers and working through the offense. We had our hiccups early on, but I reached out to Rick Torbett and he shared several emails on ideas and thoughts. He told me to stick with the offense and to trust it. He said by late January I would have a new team. I listened to Rick and stayed the course.
He was right. By January we were a totally different team. Our movements were fluid. Teams had a harder time scouting us because there was no predetermined motion or cuts. Many fans mentioned to our staff that it was a thing of beauty to watch our girls play so effortlessly. It’s all attributed to the Read & React.
We finished the 2007-08 season with 11 wins. We finished the 2008-09 season with 23 wins and a state runner-up trophy. Over the course of the next three years we won four straight district titles, three regional titles, finished as a state semi-finalist and state runner-up again before winning the state title in 2012. The Read and React brought historic changes to our program.
I live, yes…live, the Read and React because I have adopted it forever. I’m sold on the offense. It allows players to play the game of basketball the right way without becoming robots. It also works beautifully with other aspects of the our coaching philosophy such as transitioning from a secondary break into your offense with the offense’s a natural flow. It’s easily adaptable without changing basic concepts. Today, I continue to use the Read and React even when coaching my 10-year old son’s AAU team. I will use the Read & React in every coaching stop because it’s simply that good.
Commit to it and trust it, like Rick asked me to do, and you won’t be disappointed.