The Art of War (and R&R)

During recent clinics, I’ve mentioned Kevin Eastman’s quote about the future of basketball – that it will be “position-less”. He’s not yet seen the Read & React and so I find it interesting that one of the best basketball minds in the coaching community “senses” where things are headed. I would love to see him wrap his mind around what you and I already know: the future is already here. The Read & React is position-less, formless, unpredictable and yet totally accountable and teachable. There’s no telling how Kevin would operate it – just like all the Tribe coaches; it looks different in everyone’s hands.

But that’s not what I want to point out today. His quote about “position-less basketball” brought other terms to my mind like “formless” and “unpredictable”. It reminded me of a quote about how your team should be like “water” and adapt its form according to the defense…

I found this quote today in THE ART OF WAR by Sun Tzu – and it struck me how close his language is to ours. You’d think he was talking to his Read & React team just before a game:

“Strike at their gaps; attack when they are lax; don’t let the enemy figure out how to prepare. This is why it is said that in military operations formlessness is most effective. One of the great Warrior-Leaders said, “The most efficient of movements is the one that is unexpected; the best of plans is the one that is unknown.”

…The military (team) has no constant form, just as water has no constant shape – adapt as you face the enemy, without letting them know beforehand what you are going to do.”

  • Strike at their gaps; attack when they are lax” – We call it a Draft Drive!
  • Don’t let the enemy figure out how to prepare” – Isn’t that Early Offense – the whole idea behind our Full Court Trips?
  • This is why it is said that …formlessness is most effective” – Layer 20 FLOW. Take advantage of the fact that your opponents are stuck in tradition – positions and sets.
  • The most efficient of movements is the one that is unexpected; the best of plans is the one that is unknown.” – Isn’t this a summation of the effectiveness and/or philosophy behind the Read & React?
  • …The military (team) has no constant form, just as water has no constant shape – adapt as you face the enemy, without letting them know beforehand what you are going to do.” – This is my argument for never leaving the Read & React; use it against ALL defenses – man, zone, junks, traps, full-court presses, etc.

Sun Tzu would have been a GREAT Read & React coach!

5 comments

  1. What are full court trips?

  2. I love it! That is the perfect description of why the Read & Read is so effective. The coach who introduced me to R&R 3 seasons ago had an opposing coach ask him before a game if he was running the R&R. His answer, “Yes, are you familiar with it?” The opposing coach said, “Yes, our JV runs it.” … No worries, it looks different every time. They won the game and the state championship that year!

  3. Great stuff Coach Torbett…I concur… Tzu would have led some championship teams.

  4. Really liked what you had to say in your post, The Art of War (and R&R), thanks for the good read!

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