Playing in the post can be hard work and is not always the most glamorous position. You have to work hard to get a catch on the block and then hope that one of the guards passes the ball into you. Along with battling in the post, you have to be willing to set screens for your teammates and help them get scoring opportunities, usually without any recognition to yourself.
Unless you are an amazing shot blocker, dunker, or extremely dominant in the post on the offensive end, the position does not receive much recognition. Without having a player battling in the trenches and doing all the things that go along with playing this position, the team will struggle to win. That is why you must learn everything that goes into being a great basketball post player and then mastering those skills. Here is a list of things that every basketball post player should know.
Post Position Makes all the Difference
When you are in the post with the basketball, the difference between having a foot in the paint and being 2-3 feet off of the block makes all the difference in the world. As you post up on the block, you should be trying to battle for the best position possible. Get your work done before the ball gets there, and bury the defender under the basket. Put them in a situation where the only way to stop you from scoring is to foul you.
When you are battling for position, you want to make sure that you have good timing. If you try to duck in too early, you will be pushed back out before getting the ball. As the ball is coming around the arc, you want to time it so that you can duck in and receive the ball before the defender can recover.
Screens are Scoring Opportunities
Don’t treat setting screens in basketball as a chore and something you don’t want to do. Setting a good screen in basketball can be a great scoring opportunity for yourself. This is because your defender will have to help the player you just set a screen for, which opens up the opportunity for you to space, roll, slip, etc. This will never happen, though, if you are not willing to set good screens for your teammates.
After you set a screen, you never want to stand. You want to read the cutter or the ball handler and then react to them. For example, if you are setting a down screen for a shooter and they curl around your screen, you wouldn’t want to dive to the basket because they are already there. In that situation, you pop or space for a mid-range shot. On the other hand, if the cutter straight cuts off of your screen, then you would dive to the basket for a finish or to post up. You must read the cutter using your screen first and then make your play.
Run the Floor in Transition
Running the floor on offense can get you an easy basket, but it also creates shooting opportunities for the wing players. The reason why is because you are going to rim run right down the middle of the floor (beating your defender down the floor), and this will put the defense in a situation where they have to either give up a layup/dunk to you or an open shot to the wing players running to the 3 point line.
Another situation is that your man is already back on defense to meet you, but you rim run again and bury him/her under the basket with a duck in move, catch the ball from a post feed, and then finish right at the basket. The only reason this works, though, is because you can get down the floor quickly and get into it before the defense gets set and can be in help position.
Anchor the Defense
You are most likely going to be guarding the other team’s post player on the block (unless they are a stretch post player), and this means that you are in the perfect position to anchor the defense. Being in this position allows you to see everything on the floor and everything that the other team is trying to do on offense. This leaves you responsible for communicating with your teammates and calling out screens, cutters, etc. One of the best players that I have ever seen at doing this is Kevin Garnett. If you watch one of his games, you will see him communicating the entire time with his teammates. This type of communication can be invaluable to your defense.
Not only can you see everything on the floor, but you are also the last line of defense to the basket. This doesn’t mean that you have to be a 7-foot shot-blocker, but it does mean that you need to either contest a shot or learn how to take a charge. A big key to this is reading what the offense is doing and then positioning yourself correctly. You want to establish a defensive position so that the offensive player has to make a tough finish over you. You must learn to contest without fouling and putting the other team on the free-throw line.
Dominate the Boards
The first step to dominating the boards on defense or offense is having the desire to do so. As a post player, you must consciously be thinking about rebounding the basketball. There are different basketball rebounding drills that you can do as a player, but if you don’t want the ball more than your opponent, they are no good.
If you have the desire to rebound as a post player, you can move on to the next step, which is your rebounding technique. Depending on whether your opponent is in front of you or behind you when the shot goes up will determine what type of technique you will use. If they are in front of you, then you can either try to ride them under the basket so that they don’t have a good rebounding angle (don’t extend your arm, or it will be a foul), or you could try a spin move or something along those lines to get back in front of them. Both types of moves can be effective, and it will be up to you to make the correct read in a game situation.
If the defender is behind you when the shot goes up, you want to first meet them with your forearm and then drive them backward with your box out. As you drive them backward, keep your arms out and your hands up. This will make you wider and harder to get around and keep you from getting a foul by wrapping your hands around the player you are boxing out.
In all situations, once you have located the ball, you need to release and go grab the ball. Don’t wait for the ball to come down to you, but go get it at its highest point. When doing different basketball drills, in practice, and especially when playing, you must be having the mindset of every rebound being yours.
5 Things Every Basketball Post Player Should Know Conclusion
To dominate the post position as a basketball player, it takes a conscious effort to first learn what is needed and then apply it. The average fan or untrained eye will not always appreciate your work, but your teammates and coaches will know what you bring to the team. They will know that you directly affect the team’s success.
So use these five things that every basketball post player should know and start working on them today. The more you can focus on these different areas, the more you will be likely to do them in a game, and ultimately, dominate in the post.