The question always comes up: “What if teams catch on to the Read Line and refuse to come across it?” In other words, what do you do when your opponents stop pressuring you on the perimeter? And it’s always asked with a tone that implies annoyance, as in, “I wish they would come out and pressure us!”
Let’s pretend you had a bully who is always taking your lunch money. Then you found a way to make him stop (perhaps a solid punch in the kisser). Now the bully has become more respectful. He’s still there, but he’s no longer taking your lunch money. Would you then complain that the bully isn’t pressuring you anymore?
Ok, that’s probably a poor analogy, but it’s still mildly humorous.
As many of you know, this past season, I collected game clips from two college R&R teams: Adelphi University W and University of Iowa W. Here’s what I noticed:
They still beat teams on “Read Line Rear Cuts” with defenders never actually stepping over the arc. How? With momentum.
Staying inside the arc, many defenders fell prey to “Curling the Puppydog”.
When fillers caught the ball and their defenders tried to eat up the space, they were susceptible to be beaten with a Momentum Move.
Defenders inside the arc still had to perform a Close-Out when their player received the ball. And Close-Outs are susceptible to being driven (see Killing Close-Outs).
Now, you probably already knew that. But here’s what I noticed. The first 3 above had one ingredient come to their success: HARD CUTS!
The players who beat their defenders ALWAYS cut hard.
Some players were a little clever and a little deceptive, but all of the successful actions came from HARD CUTS!
Being able to change direction and change speeds helped, but the speed they changed to was always a HARD CUT!
Here’s the good news: Three out of the four scoring actions above require NO SKILLS, NO REPS, NO BASKETBALL I.Q.! I can’t think of any better news to give my players! If you can CUT HARD, perhaps change speeds and change directions as well, you can be VERY valuable to the team! In other words, you’re going to score! Even against zones!
Perhaps this is a “checkbox” that should be added to any evaluation of Potential Positionless Players. I’m re-thinking my criteria for tryouts…
It is our sincere hope that we can provide you with every tool necessary to improve not only as a Read & React coach, but as a basketball coach as a whole. We look forward to working closely with you this season.