Search any library, bookstore, or the internet on the topic of basketball and you will find thousands of choices. The most popular titles will deal with offense and the art of shooting and scoring points. Defense will also be represented as will rebounding, pressing, and fundamentals. Among the popular titles you will find an amazing amount of information on is post play. Since the 70’s, good post play has been equated to winning. Jabbar, Chamberlain, Unseld, Russell, and Hayes are names that put post play on the map in the NBA. The fascination with these back-to-the-basket giants has not decreased and is a big part of a team offense.
Post play can be broken down into dozens of categories. Coaches with time and energy can help improve a player’s game year round. How much is too much, is the question. Young players are able to concentrate and take in only so much teaching at one time. Do coaches force feed their post players with too much information? At times I believe they do and this article will address a hidden key that coaches and players can add to their game with great results.
When breaking down the art of post play there are several components to consider. Post moves, footwork, physical play, ball handling, shooting, and positioning are all required. Coaches would all agree that these are the parts that must be taught and learned. There is a big part of the post puzzle missing, though. You must have the ball if you are going to do anything in the post. Knowing how to get open, catch the ball, use your feet, be physical opens the door to a whole new world in the paint! Read on as I share with you the secrets that great post players know.
4 Keys To Gaining Possession Of The Ball
1. Stay Off the Blocks. Kids are done a disservice by being taught that the blocks are the place for big guys to go. It is such an automatic habit for kids and one that is hard to break. I’ve coached many college players who thought that posting up right on the block was the way big guys play. Nothing could be more from the truth. Many times I’ve threatened to sand the block off the floor to keep players from gravitating to this sacred spot. What is the advantage of assuming a position 6 feet from the basket with your back to it while being guarded? Realistically, that is not a good position to be in at all. As if a powerful magnetic force draws the player’s body to this spot, by nature big players run there every time. Here’s the truth about good post players—they use the block only as landmarks and post up wherever the defense will allow them to post up. As a coach, I encourage you to teach young players to concentrate much more on ball location and defender location than that silly painted rectangle on the floor.
2. Focus on your defender. Teach young players to assume their position around the basket based on where their defender is. The goal is to post up your opponent as close to the basket as possible. If the defender is out of position, take advantage by stepping at the defender and posting up where he is. Use the phrase, “Take your post up to the defense.” You allow the post up position to be your choice, not the defenders. This technique must be worked on because players are not familiar with this skill. Like changing your grip on the golf club, the golfer must work hard to establish a new grip and become comfortable with it. In time your players will buy into the advantages of focusing on the defender because the rewards will be positive and immediate.
3. Initiate the contact. This is a new concept to many coaches, but a crucial technique for posting up in prime spots on the floor. Usually the defender is the one who delivers most of the blows in hand-to-hand combat on the block. Offensive post players gain a decided advantage when they are quick to initiate the contact, which enhances their post up position on the floor. This is another concept that must be taught in concentrated practice sessions and through repetition. Amazing Posting
4. Let the Ball Find You. In every gym across America, you can witness a common site. As if mesmerized, post players stare at the ball as they follow its path around the perimeter. Most kids are taught to do this and are simply doing what they are told. This may shock you, but good post players are never guilty of doing this. Good post players actually play away from the ball on the weak side more than they follow it. If rule #2, Focus On Your Defender, if followed, the ball will actually find YOU! This is a concept that is implemented at all levels by coaches that understand the elements of quality post play. As a play player, when you focus on the defender and your position on the floor relative to the ball, you will improve greatly. As a general rule, tell your players, “Don’t find the ball, let the ball find you”. If you commit to this technique you will find the ball in prime scoring areas on the floor on a consistent basis. The result will be increased post scoring and more fouls committed by the defense. In essence, your post players will become very “hard to guard”.
In my experience coaching players from grade school to college, I have seen many players improve drastically over a short period of time. I’ve seen skill deficient post players become all-league performers by committing their time and game to the four keys above. Becoming proficient around the basket has a lot less to do with skill and jumping ability than it does knowing how to play. Maximizing your position, physical play, and knack for the ball will make you an excellent low post player. Focus on your strengths, work on these keys, and watch your game elevate like never before. As you begin to catch the ball more and increase your scoring, your confidence will skyrocket. Good luck as you begin to develop outstanding post players in your program.