Posting-Up: Fundamentals

This entry is part 6 of 13 in the series Next Best Actions

The 8 C’s of Post Play still apply, but we probably need to break those down into specifics.  This is especially important for players coming from the perimeter who may not be as skilled in the post or who may be unfamiliar getting post position from the perimeter.

Philosophically, I’m not a huge fan of a post player trying to gain a position that the defense is taking away.  What I’d prefer is to let the defense take away one position and then keep them in that position as the ball moves. It’s easy for post player to get offensive fouls fighting for position that may disrupt the timing and rhythm of the offense anyway.  A defense can take away somethings, but they can’t take away everything.  I would prefer to teach post players how to take advantage of a defender’s position.

Let’s say for instance that a defender is fronting the post.  I’d prefer that the offensive post player concede that position and keep them in that position.  Then as the ball moves that defender will almost certainly be out of position.

A good post player may be denied the ball in one position, but they will use that denial to their advantage to get the ball as it moves.  Of course we want to teach players how to post up.  We want to teach them how to swim, how to duck in,  and how to step in, spin and pin.  Sometimes it’s better to work smarter.  It might make the hard work count for more.

  • Sealing for the Lob
    There’s no easier post move than not having to make one. The opportunity to catch and finish is one that is always a good option. Of course this takes a good read and a good pass from a guard, but the threat of a good lob pass creates longer closeouts on skip passes and a post defender that is less comfortable.  Players who are posting up should know how to seal for a lob pass, how to catch the pass, and then of course how to finish.  This should look different when the ball is on the wing, as opposed to when the ball is at the top, or on the weak side. Maybe their defender did a good job of jumping to the ball on the pass and preventing the face cut.  That’s fine. If the offensive player can learn to keep them in that position, they could have an easy lay-up as the ball is reversed.
  • Step-in, Spin, and Pin
    So now let’s pretend the defender was extremely physical with the cutter.  The defender jammed the cutter, but really didn’t jump to the ball.  The offensive player may not be able to finish their cut to the rim. However, the defender is going to have a hard time keeping the offensive player from stepping between the defender’s legs, spinning and getting them on their back. Again, you can take some things away, but you can’t take everything away.
  • Duck-in/Weak Side Post
    The offensive player decides to post up away from the ball.  You might say, “that’s dumb.” Well, maybe it is because players haven’t been taught how to take advantage of this opportunity.  Their defender relaxes for a second because they are in help position.  The offensive player recognizes the opportunity and ducks in for an easy catch and finish.

    Keep in mind too that there’s rarely help on the help side.  So let me say it another way.  If you can post up the help-side defender, who is going to help them?  They are already supposed to be helping on the ball side.  Occupying a help side defender by posting them up is a great way to attack defenses.

  • Facing up
    I haven’t had the privilege of coaching a lot of BIG post players.  Most of the time they are undersized.  Drop step, hook shots, up and under moves are all wonderful. I’ll let someone else teach them that if I don’t have time.  I want to teach them to face up.  I want to be able to teach them the same things from the elbow, the mid-post, and the stretch (short corner). Not many players are going to be able to successfully execute back to the basket post moves from the elbow or the stretch.  So in 4 out of the 6 spots, they have to know how to operate facing the basket.  So to me, it makes sense to teach 1 thing 6 times as opposed to 1 thing 4 times and another thing 2 times.  Not to mention now you’re teaching them skills they can use on the perimeter as well.
  • Playing from the Elbow
    It’s important to be able to catch the ball at the elbow and make a play.  This could be a scoring play, whether it’s a shot or a drive.  It could be a high low pass, a pass on a backdoor cut, a skip pass, or a handoff.  This is a great place to attack defense, but it’s also going to get the person with the ball a lot of attention. Can your post players catch it there?  Be strong with it?  Make good decisions with it?  Do a variety of things with it?  This is a hard place to guard players in a 1 on 1 situation.  Not to mention all the other defenders are one pass away when the ball is here.  It’s hard to double because rotations are more difficult. But your players have be able to do something with it when they catch it.
  • Playing from the Stretch (short corner)
    This is not a baseball term. Stretch is less typing than short corner, but it also creates a more concrete idea for players why we would want them there.  To me, attacking from the stretch is much the same as attacking from the elbow.  It’s just that players are used to playing one on one from the foul line, not from the stretch. We treat a catch in the short corner the same as a baseline drive.  This player is going to get a lot of attention, and I bet the shooter in the corner is going to be open.
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