Setting Priorities for Post Players

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series Post Play

Have you ever thought about keeping your post players stationary in your half court offense? What is the quote?  “Movement is the enemy of the defense?”  Trust me, I still think that is true.  However, I think this is one time that less movement may actually be better.

Post play is more about positioning than it is movement.  A good post player knows how to get position whether it’s on the offensive or defensive end.  I’ve found that the more post players move, the less they get position. Getting position and keeping position requires contact.  Movement reduces the amount of contact that a post player can have.

Let’s think about how we teach a secondary break.  We want our posts to run to the rim right?  Do we want them to go the ball side block if they can bury their defender under the rim?  Of course not.  If they post up at the rim, they catch the ball and shoot a lay-up.  If they post up on the block, they have to make a move to score.  This is all about gaining position. It has nothing to do with moving to a certain spot.

That’s one small example.  Half court offense provides numerous examples of how we should emphasize positioning for our post players over movement. This thought process was inspired by observations playing in a 4 out 1 in alignment.  However, I think there are advantages to minimizing the movement of post players in a 3 out 2 in alignment as well.

In a 4 out alignment, the post player can start anywhere you want them to.  Let’s look at how ball movement and player movement create opportunities for a post player to impact the game without them having to move.

If they are on the ball side, they can be a primary receiver. In other words, they can be option number one for the next pass. They can set a number of screens: ball screens, back screens, flex screens, and down screens.  They can occupy one or more help defenders. Of course, they are a strong side rebounding option. Depending on their location, they can stand in one spot and execute many of these actions at one time.

If they are on the weak side, they can still be a receiver.  They can still post up.  They can flash to the ball.  They can set pin screens and they can still sprint to a ball screen. They can use screens set by other players for them. Moreover, it’s the best place to rebound.  Being on the weak side opens up the ball side block, which creates driving lanes.  It creates interesting defensive rotations. Who helps?  Who doesn’t?  The more I think about it, the more I want to look at this more in depth.

So there are advantages to being on the ball side and on the weak side.  Since the post player can be effective on either side, think how much variety it offers offense if they learn to play on both sides.  The less they move, the more they can evaluate defense and either gain position for themselves or create openings for others.  Instead of chasing the ball as it moves around the perimeter, they can chase rebounds when they come off the rim.

Having 4 perimeter players moving all over the court creates so much movement that it may be better to keep your post stationary. It makes it easier for guards to know where this player is.  They don’t have to wait for the post player to get position.  The post player should be gaining position ahead of time.  It is incumbent on the post player to take advantage of the defense and use their position against them.  There’s no way a post defender can guard all 4 sides of an offensive post player at one time.  If the offensive player knows how to position themselves, they will always be able to make the defense uncomfortable and use it to their team’s advantage. If we teach them position first, before we teach them movement, we may find that they have to move less to be successful because they are achieving better position.

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