This post will provide an outline of the basics for Read & React style of play. Players can start in a 5-out, 4-out 1-in, or 3-out 2-in alignment.  The 3-out and 5-out alignments use the same spots for player landmarks. The spots in a 4 out are very similar except that the top spot is split into two. As a result, in a traditional 4-out alignment, there are 6 possible spots in the offense. The adjustment to the 4 out spots from a 5 out alignment is not difficult with proper repetition. Some coaches use the 5 out spots in a 4 out alignment to simplify the teaching. There are advantages to both methods. I prefer using the traditional 4 out spots because it keeps the tends to stay in the middle of the floor more often

Each of these perimeter spots is at least 1 step and at most 3 steps behind the college 3-point line. Concurrently, successful execution of all of the layers of the offense requires that players work from these areas.

In order to streamline the implementation of the Read & React Offense, the teaching progression and all drills assume a 5 out configuration initially. Your team may use a 3 out 2 in or 4 out 1 in as its primary set. After players understand the offense from a 5 out configuration, the adjustments to a 4 out 1 in or 3 out 2 in alignment are fairly minor.

Outline of the Layers

  1. Dribbling Layers
    1. Attack Dribble
    2. Circle Movement
    3. Baseline Drive
    4. Post Slides Basic
    5. Dribble At
    6. Power Dribble**
    7. Post Slides Advanced (Circle Movement)**
  2. Passing Layers
    1. Pass, Cut & Fill
      1. One Pass Away
      2. Read Line
      3. Skip Pass
    2. Post Pass Basic (Laker Cuts)
    3. Zone Adjustment (Hook & Look)*
    4. Post Pass Advanced (Relocate, X-Cut)**
  3. Next Best Actions
    1. Posting Up
    2. Back Screens
    3. Multiple Screens**
    4. Corners**
    5. Pin & Skip
  4. Post Screening Actions
    1. Ball Screens*
    2. Weak Side Off Ball Screens (Pin Screens)
    3. Ball Side Off Ball Screens*
  5. Team Concepts
    1. Transition**
    2. Press Break**
    3. Changing Alignments**

The asterisks (*) in the outline denote “advanced layers.” The double asterisks (**) are high-level layers. Initially, all players must learn the basic dribbling and passing layers. In addition, they must be able to execute them sufficiently before the other layers are taught.

Some of the layers apply only to perimeter players.  These are colored in GREEN. Other layers require a combination of post and perimeter player interaction. These are colored in BLUE. Finally, the last group of actions is team concepts that integrate each of the other layers.

Perimeter vs. Post

Perimeter players are players who are on the perimeter when an action occurs, not just “guards.”  Post players are players who are in the lane when the action occurs, not just “post players.” Keep in mind, any player could be on the perimeter or in the post at any given time.  A player’s role can change from one to the other in a matter of a couple seconds. It is important that all players are able to react from either position.

Players will be taught to react properly from perimeter positions first. Then they will be taught how to react from the post. Foundational layers are layers that are necessary to execute the offense. The action of the ball handler determines what the other players do in the foundational layers.  While the action of the ball handler starts the execution of some of the supplemental layers are dictated, players without the ball initiate some of these layers as well. The fundamental layers will be taught in the following order. 

  1. Attack Dribble 
  2. Circle Movement
  3. Baseline Drive Adjustment
  4. Post Slides (Basic)
  5. Dribble-At
  6. Pass, Cut, & Fill (One Pass Away, Read Line, Skip Pass) 
  7. Post Pass Basic (Laker Cuts)

From here, the coach decides which of the “Next Best Action” layers to implement next.  If the team is going to play with at least 1 post, the coach can introduce any of the post-screening actions.

Do I Need All of Them?

A complete workable offense requires the basic layers.  These layers will serve most youth teams.  However, mastery of these layers allows for smooth progression to the others.

The team concepts are optional as well. Teams can employ any transition offense to get into movement of the offense in the half court. Teams can start with very basic strategies and get more advanced as the season progresses. Also, the configuration of the offense may change from possession to possession or even within a single possession without the team even realizing it.  Regardless of the configuration, players must maintain good spacing. Initially, players should play from the predetermined spots, so the team maintains proper. As players become more accustomed to proper spacing, operating from each of the “spots” is less critical as long as the team keeps proper spacing.

You got the WHOLE. The next post will start to cover the PARTS.


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