All players should be taught basic skills of post play. There are three main techniques for defending a post player:

  • Denial stance
  • Fronting – toes in and toes out
  • Behind.

Post Defence – Denial Stance

A denial stance may be established on either side of the post player – shown here on the baseline side. The defender has their feet straddle the post player, and their arm extends across the post player’s body.

The defender may step their front foot in front of the post player, although the more that this is done, the more the defender exposes themselves to being “sealed inside” by the post player (i.e. the post player is closer to the basket). Keeping one foot behind the post player makes this less likely.

Post Defence – Behind

Keeping the defender behind the post player (which allows a pass to be made) means that the post defender is better able to be involved in “help” defence. It may also be used where the offensive player is less skilled in the post.

Keys for guarding from “behind” are:

  • Make sure the post player remains in sight at all times. Young players in particular will tend to watch the ball
  • Be close enough to the post player to get to them as they receive a pass. This is the same philosophy as guarding on the perimeter
  • Do not try and intercept the pass from behind. If a player wishes to intercept the pass, they need to move to a denial position – moving their feet, not just reaching around the post player.

“3 Passers Post Drill”

x5 adopts a denial stance, with the ball at the top of the key. When the ball is passed to the wing, x5 moves to a position to deny that pass.

As the ball is passed to the corner, x5 moves to a denial stance on the baseline side.

Players pass the ball when they can to 5, who makes a move to the basket. No lob passes (as there is no help).

Defence can also be added on the perimeter players.

If the ball is passed from the corner to 1, x5 may find it easier to establish their new position by going behind the post player (shown in red), rather moving in front of 5.

Playing behind the post

Offensive players are in position on the wing and at the point position. x5 defends the post player from behind, adopting a “split line” position when the opposite wing (in this diagram player 2) has the ball.

On each pass, x5 adjusts their position. Again, defence can also be placed on the perimeter players.

Defend 2 Post Players

With two post players, perimeter players pass the ball, looking to feed the post players. The post players stay in the low post, focussing on establishing a position against their player and not “chasing” the ball.

When the ball is on the wing, the post player on the “weak side” (opposite the ball) may be able to establish a position against their defender by stepping in to the key.

A skip pass (from one wing to the other) is then the most effective way to pass the ball to that post player.

Perimeter players should be encouraged to dribble to create a better passing angle. The coach may also allow the weakside post player to cut to the high post, which serves two purposes:

  • Ensures x4 keeps sight of their player, otherwise the cutting player will be open
  • Takes away the split line defender so that a lob pass may then be used.