Misunderstood Spacing of the Read & React

Misunderstood Spacing of the Read & React

Whenever I find myself in a conversation about my favorite subject: the Read & React, I will invariably talk about the 3 possible formations: 5 Out, 4 Out 1 In, and 3 Out 2 In.

My listeners will make some telling comments like:

“5 Out does not have an inside threat…”

“I’m worried about spacing when using 5 Out, etc,…”

“How do you rebound out of a 5 Out formation?”

You get the point.

These are good questions, nothing wrong with them, but as I said, they’re “telling”. They tell me that we need to look closer at the Read & React. Perhaps my listeners just don’t understand some basics about how it’s engineered.

Anyone who has been on our website or read some threads in our forum knows at least one aspect of the Read & React that separates it from all other offenses: If you pass, then you MUST basket cut. Let’s look at what that does to our formations and spacing.

When your formation is 5 Out, the first pass will change the formation to 4 Out 1 In. From that moment on, there will be one player cutting with 4 players left on the perimeter. In other words, even if you’re initial formation is 5 Out, the spacing on the perimeter is occupied by only 4 players. 5 Out in the Read & React is actually a 4 Out 1 In offense with a constantly changing inside player (whoever is cutting).

When a shot goes up, there’s always one cutter caught in the act of cutting the lane – that’s one interior rebounder – and it changes with each pass. When someone says that there’s no inside threat when you’re playing 5 Out, it tells me that they don’t understand how the Read & React is engineered.

Similarly, when your formation is 4 Out, it’s actually 3 Out with 1 permanent post player and 1 “constantly changing” post player (the cutters). 4 Out equates to 2 inside threats. The spacing on the perimeter needs only to accommodate 3 outside players at any one time.

The Read & React 3 Out formation consists of 3 inside threats: the 2 permanent inside players with a 3rd inside threat that’s constantly changing with every pass. There’s lots perimeter space because once a pass is made, there’s only two perimeter players.

5 Out is only 5 Out when you first draw it up! The same is true with 4 Out and 3 Out.

5 comments

  1. I’m really enjoying learning and coaching the read and react. My 4th grade boys have the general concept of layers 1-3. We are getting stuck just getting started some times when the initiator/orchestrator is getting picked up at half court and we can’t make that first pass. Suggestions and/or thoughts on how to get the offense flowing more smoothly?

    • John-Here are two Layers (ideas) that could help initiate the offense if the wings are not able to get open:

      Layer 3- Dribble-At: Dribble at the wing to force backdoor cut
      Layer 4- Circle Movement: Similar penetration to the above Layer 3 will get the offense moving and start putting the defense in more vulnerable positions.

      Let us know if these don’t work for your or you have more questions.

    • PLEASE READ THIS………….NO PROBLEM MOVE YOUR OFFENSIVE SET UP CLOSER TO HALFCOURT AND MAKE THE MID POINT OF THE FREE THROW LINE THE DECISION BOX OR HOOP UNTIL YOU GET THE OFFENSE IN MOTION….

      THIS DOES WORK……………..

  2. A read line cut with someone filling the empty spot can also free up a player to receive the initial pass to get the offense moving.

  3. John, I have two 4th grade youth teams this year and early on we faced a similar situation — the orchestrator gets picked up and/or double teamed at half court. What I did was treat this like transition in the Youth R&R course — we kept multiple players “back” with the orchestrator as he brought the ball up and started our actions around half court when the orchestrator was met.

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