2.8.2 Getting post position
Basic Low Post Moves
It may seem obvious that tall players need to develop these fundamentals, but forwards and guards may also find themselves playing in a position that needs these skills. Indeed, one of the most valuable team strategies is to have a player that can take advantage of a mismatch (regardless of position) by moving to the low post.
Before Receiving the Ball
The first task of a low post player is to be able to receive the ball in the low post position. This is not easy as the defence is often actively denying a pass to the post. Using fakes, changing direction and changing speed are very important aspects in establishing a good position in the post, as is having a balanced body stance.
The post player focuses not on where the ball is, but on their opponent, getting a position of advantage. That position may have an immediate “passing angle” or it may be that the ball needs to be passed to a team mate who has a “passing angle”. It is the post player’s responsibility to get open. It is the responsibility of their team mates to then get the ball to them! When a post player is not free, they should not follow the movement of the ball.
In the diagrams following, the shaded feet are those of the offensive post player.
Where the defender “fronts” the post player, it blocks the initial pass being made from the wing. If the post player can hold the defender in this position, the offensive team may be able to move the ball to the top of the key and then pass to the post player.
The post player steps into their defender and then reverse pivots so that the defender is behind them.
The wing player may also be able to make a lob pass to the post player. This is most successful when there is no help defender at the basket. The post player must keep contact with the defender until the ball has gone past the defender.
A post player needs to use their feet to get position – two steps is usually enough. Here the first step is into the defender, and then the post reverse pivots to establish position.
Again, using shoulder, elbow and hips to “hold” the defender, and keeping good balance to ensure the defender cannot move them out of position.
Holding the “Seal”
It is a common mistake for young players to hold the defender only until they see their team mate passing the ball, and then they move their body to catch the ball. However, this also leaves the defender free to move and attempt to intercept the pass.
Instead, the post player should keep a good, balanced, stance with knees well bent and holding the defender with the shoulder, arm and elbow. The post player then presents a “target” hand (away from the defender), which is where team mates should pass the ball. Catch the ball with both feet on the floor – so either can be the pivot foot.