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PostPosted: 22 Oct 2017, 12:41 

Posts: 2
Ok, so I've been coaching middle school and travel boys basketball for about 5 years now. This is currently my third consecutive year at my current middle school. I coach the JV boys (6-7 grade) there, and the Varsity (8th grade) coach is entering his 2nd year. Before moving to the middle school, he also helped coach the JV boys at our feeder high school for several years.

This year, he wants me to start running the Flex offense that the Varsity boys run. The reason behind this is because our high school JV and Varsity programs both run the Flex offense as well, so they would like us to sort of be on the "same page." I totally get that.

However, I have been running the Read & React for 2 seasons now, and I love it. I have been reading up on it even more over the summer and feel even more confident in my ability to teach the Read & React system, as well as my ability to go in more depth than I have with it in the past. I love how it sort of helps our players learn how to "play ball." I am afraid that by moving to the Flex, my team will be more stoic and run a ton more set plays than I have become accustomed to. These things are not part of my philosophy at all. Set plays have their place, of course, but I like to use them sparingly.

He is saying that it is "up to me," and I think he means it. I just really love the R&R system and I believe in everything it teaches. By teaching the R&R, I know I could foster great habits that are very beneficial in the Flex offense, such as things like back cuts, curls, down screens, etc. I just don't know if it would be better to just have them be in the system for another year or to have them learn the habits built by the R&R first, then move on to the Flex next year as 8th graders.

Should I sort of go against my principles and run the system that these players might play in for the next 5-6 years? Or should I stay with what I know and truly believe in?

PostPosted: 23 Oct 2017, 06:24 
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Tough question that we can't really answer.. only you can. But I can appreciate your dilemma (not an easy one) and you're obviously looking for opinion and thoughts to help you answer those questions.

Here are some thoughts to consider:

1) In my opinion, your job as a 6-7th grade coach is to:
- Develop the players and prepare them for high school
- Make a positive impact by teaching life lessons and using sport to develop character
- Foster a love for the game, sports, and physical fitness

You do those things the best you can... with whatever offense that happens to be.

2) To develop players, the players need to spend LOTS of time on skill development. They need the ball in their hands shooting, dribbling, passing, pivoting, making decisions, etc... small sided games... 1v1, 2v2, 3v2, 3v3,

The R & R takes time to learn (there's a bit to memorize based on what the ball does). The Flex takes time to learn too. You need to get lots of reps learning the pattern and then lots of reps against defense because it all falls apart once you add defense.

If you teach them flex now, it might free up time for the next coach to spend more time on skill / player development.

3) You say you are more comfortable with R & R and it will take some time / trial and error for you to get comfortable with Flex. Being comfortable and believing in what you are teaching is important. With that said, I have tried new offense/defenses that maybe weren't my preferred choices... but it was always fun and exciting to learn something new. And it usually took a while but eventually I'd come around and once I full understood realized the offense/defense wasn't so bad after all.

4) Bottom line you can make either one work. I don't think you can make a bad choice as long as you focus on developing the players skills and so on.

5) Ideally this kids learn both offenses... I think a motion or R & R will allow them to run the flex better when they are older. I agree the concepts from the R & R will make the Flex better. With that said, the time learning both over their careers takes time away from skills they can be working on. So it's kind of a wash.

You know how you do things and the situation. I'd say as long as lots of time is spent on skill development, I'd stay with R & R or a motion that gives the same benefits but easier to teach (because not memorization of what to do based on the ball). However if teaching R & R is going to take away too much time from the players skill development over the years I'd switch to the Flex.

Hope this helps and good luck!

Jeff Haefner

PostPosted: 25 Oct 2017, 17:10 

Posts: 2
Thanks for the thoughtful response, Jeff. The main reason why I love the R&R is because of its focus on fundamentals. Cutting, spacing, moving with/ without the ball, and more are all things that fit into any style and will always be a part of basketball. I've decided to stick with the R&R and I'm looking forward to the growth of my players in this upcoming season.

PostPosted: 27 Oct 2017, 08:11 

Posts: 214
I love the way the read and react gets players to learn the overall game so I wouldn't want to deviate too much from that if it's what you're most comfortable with.

Maybe install the first layer of Flex as a set play. Work on the Flex screen and the down screen and tell your players that if those two options don't result in a shot then you go back to your pass and cut or whatever R&R actions you have them run.

This way it looks like you're doing what the other coach suggested while still teaching your overall preferred method.

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