The purpose of this blog is to provide a detailed progression of how to install a complete offensive and defensive system for any basketball team. Much of these thoughts were initially based on Coach Rick Torbett’s Read and React offense. Over the years, it has evolved into a description of experiences in how to teach the game. It is a result of success and failure. It is ever changing. I hope to provide a holistic approach to teaching the game of basketball. The better we teach the game, the better our players will learn it.
Extensive experience, research, and conversations have led to the development of the philosophies and practices discussed in this blog. Lessons are still being learned and will be incorporated into this ever-changing documentation of coaching and playing the game. However, the foundation of this philosophy is rooted in the basics of the game. This approach is designed to be holistic, progressive, and aggressive. It is meant to teach offense and defense from the ground up, in a way that provides players and teams a path towards success.
There are a few problems I’m trying to solve. How can we better teach the game? How can we grow our game? How can we help our players quickly adapt to any situation they face? How can we daily mold our philosophy to more types of players with fewer changes in what we teach? How can we teach offense and defense at the same time? How can we get more done with less time? How can we be great defensively and still be good offensively?
I have taken the Read and React and made some modifications. The more I coach players, watch players be coached, and observe the game in general, there are certain trends that I see in how players play on both ends of the floor. This has helped form my definition which is as follows:
The Read and React offense is a layered collection of offensive basketball concepts that give players with the ball the freedom and players without the ball the structure necessary to generate scoring opportunities in an unpredictable yet organized and coordinated manner.
I have taken this framework and am working to create a way for coaches to be better. I want to provide a resource that will help coaches no matter what they run. It’s not about Read and React. It’s about the game. It’s about teaching and playing the game of basketball better.
The layers that make up the offense provide the opportunity for coaches to implement a variety of different offensive strategies, while continuing to keep everyone on the same page. The first few layers are basic in some way to most any offensive system. The mastery of these basic layers will provide numerous scoring opportunities for teams at all levels. At the same time, as defenses become more advanced, additional layers can be added to help keep defenses off balance and provide additional options for attacking them.
This style of offense is amazingly simple in its design, allowing players to naturally utilize their strengths and hide their weaknesses while at the same time providing a cohesive framework for the team to function. However, this simplicity does not imply that players will be able to execute it immediately. Execution of the offense still requires breakdown and consistent practice. This practice can occur during individual skill development or in team practices. Repetitions can occur during offensive or defensive segments. Whole practices can be designed around the offense for any type of player for any type of game plan or philosophy.
When executed properly, fundamental offense will expose poor defensive habits in your team as well as your opponent. Fundamental offense will also expose individual offensive weaknesses and provide a tool for improving both offensive and defensive skills. It is up to the coach to determine how they spend their time.
While many coaches try to tailor their offensive playbook to their team’s strengths and weaknesses, teaching players to play offense naturally takes advantages of those strengths and can hide those weaknesses. Now coaches can focus more time on devising defensive strategies for their teams, while players use their natural individual abilities in a coordinated manner to find scoring opportunities as a team. The breakdown of these defensive strategies fits in with the design of the offense in such a way that allows each layer of offense and defense to be taught in an order and progression that builds a team’s whole system logically. This allows coaches to be more organized and efficient with limited practice time.
Since we’re teaching OFFENSE, as opposed to AN OFFENSE, players can use these same engrained habits in pick-up games anywhere they are. Teams and individuals can always practice team offense even if coaches aren’t around. It gives players structure for pick up games that still lets them “just play.”
Also, the concepts are easily transferable from one player to another. Coaches may have to hammer the little details, but at least the players can have a general idea of how the offense works going into practice. Knowing the offense is very simple. Executing it takes time and repetition.
Here’s Part II of the introduction: “Why Change?“