Why Use the Read & React Framework

Published by Aram Parunak on

Why Use This Framework

Admittedly, coaching in the Read & React framework is significantly different from coaching from traditional systems. While the change may seem difficult at first, it can liberating and powerful for players and coaches. There are numerous advantages to playing this style of basketball.

  1. Emphasis on Offensive Team Fundamentals
    1. Spacing
    2. Player Movement
    3. Ball Movement
    4. Cutting and Screening
    5. Drive and Kick
  2. Coaching Advantages
    1. Compression of time frames in practice
    2. Provides framework for developing strengths and weaknesses
    3. Ability to use the same drills to teach offense and defense
  3. Player Advantages
    1. Allows players to take advantage of their strengths
    2. Hides players weaknesses
    3. Reduces need for a specific type of player
    4. Reduces what players have to think about
    5. Allows players to make plays
  4. Competitive Advantages
    1. Constant movement
    2. Incorporates any offensive concept
    3. Works against any defense
    4. Unpredictable movement

Offensive Qualities

Spacing, ball movement, and player movement are the three most important qualities in any offense.  We will talk about this in depth later.  Playing in this framework has these three qualities inherently.  There is no hoping that your offense has these qualities. If your teams stick to the very basic teaching points that you teach and emphasize every day, they will space the court. They will move the ball, and they will move. In fact, it becomes difficult for them not to play offense without these three most critical qualities in this framework.

Coaching Advantages

As a coach, I always think we need to cover more information.  Practice is never long enough.  I always feel like we need to spend more time working on something. The problem is that I know that 3 and 4-hour practices are rarely productive.  Players can’t be expected to have the mental or physical energy to perform at a high level for that long.  

This framework doesn’t change that feeling, but it does allow us to cover more in the time than we could traditionally.  Skill development occurs every day and all the time. It becomes part of the same drills that are used to teach offense or defense.  Defensive drills are the same drills that we use to teach the offense. The drills don’t have to change. All that we have to change is the emphasis depending on what we’re trying to work on.

The number and types of drills are only limited by our creativity. If one drill gets “boring,” there are plenty more that we can use to teach skills or team concepts.  Regardless, every time we do a drill, we are working on some aspect of the offense, even though that may not be the emphasis at that particular time.  Habits are methodically being created every day as we repeat the actions over and over again.

Player Advantages

This style of play allows players to use their strengths to be successful.  Shooters can find ways to get open shots.  Numerous driving opportunities will be created for penetrators.  Versatile players can take advantage of mismatches that may occur.  Post players can play to their own strengths without having to worry about their weaknesses.  Highly skilled players will have more success in this offense. However, even one-dimensional players can find success in the R&R without the coach having to make special accommodations for that player. Less skilled players can also find a role to help their team succeed. 

Championship teams aren’t usually comprised solely of role players. This framework doesn’t change the fact that talent matters. However, different kinds of talent can make it work. Teams don’t need to have a specific composition to be successful.  They can all have similar skill sets or they can all be different.  Simply, each player is able to do what they do well, while the offense will continue to function. 

Some people say that my players aren’t smart enough. I believe this offensive doesn’t require “basketball IQ”. Additionally, I believe it helps teach it. Of course, it helps to have a “high IQ”, but I think this allows us to teach “IQ” as well. Although the offense’s name starts with the word “READ”, the reads are simple and the reactions are predicated.  If the player passes, they cut to the basket.  This is a learnable and drillable habit.  If a player attacks the basket to the right, the other players rotate in the same direction. No thought process is involved with this read as long as we teach it.  

Again a high IQ player will be able to use that IQ to take better advantage of the opportunities that the offense will create.  As players spend more time in the offense, their IQ will grow. When certain actions become a habit, they begin to see other options that the offense gives them.  As coaches, we can dictate that certain players do certain things if they don’t do it on their own and if we think it is important for them to do so. We can foster the development of their IQ, but it is not a requirement for the offense to work.

Competitive Advantages

This style of play is very unpredictable.  Furthermore, players have significant freedom to make the offense work.  Coaches can add rules to the offense as they deem necessary.  However, in its purest form, players follow their trained habits until they find a scoring opportunity.  Since the offense is always moving, defenses must continue to work to defend it.  There are very few breaks for defenses.  Especially if the offense is aggressive, one small slip up by the defense will likely lead to an open scoring opportunity.

This helps make drills less predictable as well. Have you ever been in practice and the drills aren’t very game like? How much of that is because when players have the ball, they feel restricted to certain actions? What if players felt more freedom in drills? Your defense will improve because they won’t be able to easily predict what’s about to happen. In addition, you can make every drill game like.

The offense also incorporates any offensive concept that a coach prefers. A well-oiled team would be able to emphasize specific actions for a certain opponent based on their defensive strategies.  Additionally, they would be able to employ different concepts as needed without having to draw up a new set of plays. It is only up to the players on the court to convert their opportunities.

This offense is flexible enough to be able to attack any type of defense.  As a result, only a couple small adjustments need to be made in order to play against zone defenses.  The same concepts and principles work against press, trapping, and junk defenses.  Players don’t have to worry about what defense the other team is in.  They just have to follow their rules and they will find ways to score.  Again, the question is can they convert?

Scouting Reports

So many coaches are worried about being scouted. Please scout us. Can I send you film? The more time you spend worrying about us, the less time you focus on your team. We don’t know exactly what is going to happen from one possession to another.  However, I do know that we are going to be spaced, we are going to move the ball, and we’re going to move without the ball. We’re either going to get a shot attempt in the lane, get an open shot from the perimeter, get fouled, or make an aggressive turnover.

Honestly, I don’t know how that’s going to happen on any given possession. Most of all, I don’t really care how it happens. In the end, I am confident that we will find a good scoring opportunity more often than not. This means that if we don’t make our first shot, we’re probably going to be in pretty good offensive rebounding position. The question becomes are we consistently able to put the ball in the basket (and do we defend).

You can tell your team that we play basketball in this way and scout our tendencies.  You can play with 5 defenders in the lane pressure us.  It doesn’t matter to us.  No defense can take away everything. We will take what you give us. If you have better athletes than us, you may win.  If we have better athletes, then we’ll probably win anyway.  However, if we’re even athletically, our style of play is going to be tough for anyone to play against. Basically, you have to hope that we struggle to put the ball in the basket (and that we don’t play defense ourselves).


Aram Parunak

Aram Parunak

After 18 years of coaching college basketball, Aram wants to use the Hoops College platform to have a greater impact on the game and the players who play it. Allow him to join you on your journey to be the best player with the most options you can possibly have.

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