If you haven’t met Rick Torbett you should. I don’t mean face-to-face but on-line by visiting him at his very fine website. That’s where I first discovered him several years ago.
Torbett is a successful, seasoned coach with a passion to teach the game. Midway through his career he became frustrated with the annual routine of teaching motion, set plays, and various forms of continuity offense only to see them breakdown in the face of a live game. “My players became very good at running plays, but they never learned how to play… If I could change everything and start from nothing,” he told his assistant, “I would teach players how to play by principle.”
He searched for a way to teach the underlying principles of offense in a systematic, “layer by layer” manner that could be used by any age group but in ways that would accommodate their differing levels of maturity. After five years “in the lab,” as he describes it, he hit upon an offensive system he calls the “Read and React.”
What I especially like about Torbett is his refreshing honesty as he relates his growth as a coach and his epiphany that basketball is not a game of mechanical exactitude but one of spontaneity and freelance. He believes that “players should know when they’re being over-played without the ball and can go back-door. Players should know when their defender is out of position and can be beaten by forgetting ‘the play’ and ripping the ball to the goal. Players should see slight openings in the defense that a coach on the sidelines can’t and take advantage of them.” And he insists that players can learn these instinctive reactions if only their coaches would get out of the way and stop trying to control everything that takes place on the floor.
I think he’s right on target.
Take a look at Coach Torbett’s web site. You’ll enjoy what you find there.