January 13, 2014 • DefenseFrom the BenchOffenseWinning Hoops

Keys to developing young post players

Even though post play has been somewhat diminished with the dribble-drive offense and the high screen and roll offensive sets, it’s still a skill that must be concentrated on and emphasized. There will never be a lack of importance for a player who is effective around the rim.


The one thing that automatically improves a post player’s ability to score is their footwork. Footwork is that tangible that can create opportunities for a player and it can provide more options for the post player, especially against a sound defense.

Footwork doesn’t apply to those situations after the player catches the ball, but it is as important to teach footwork in catching the ball. How well a post player utilizes their feet in the catch automatically creates a better initial scoring opportunity, or in some cases it creates protection of the pass being delivered.

This footwork includes catches in post ups, but it also includes a post player creating seals with his footwork when the defender is taking away initial post up opportunities.

Coaches need to teach players to catch the ball with their feet. Footwork will be broken into three categories: in the lane, along the lane and off the lane.

In the lane, the major theme to teach players about is how to score. This is an area of the floor that players need to understand that they do not have the luxury or the ability to make moves, but it is very significant that they develop a quick release type of shot, such as jump hook.


When catching the ball along the lane, a player must develop a dominant move to each shoulder. Off of that dominant move, players must be able to have a secondary move that is effective once the dominant move is made.

One big mistake coaches make with post players is that they try to have them develop too many moves. A lot of average moves around the rim are be productive. Developing a dominant move provides players with the amount of reps necessary to become very effective.

These moves include jump hooks, power drop steps and turn-around jumpers. The secondary moves include pivot drop steps and up and under moves.

Post players who catch the ball off the lane must learn to use proper footwork to face up to the rim and become a perimeter player. The footwork necessary to teach a post player to face up is to use an inside pivot. I believe that a permanent pivot foot is the best approach to use.

Having a permanent pivot foot allows players to establish a series of moves on both sides of the floor that appear different due to where the move finishes. I think a right-handed player should have his or her left foot as the permanent pivot foot. This allows the player to use their shooting foot in all of their moves.

The series of moves when facing up can include the following:

  • Face up and shoot
  • Face up and rocker step
  • Face up and jab step into a sweep move
  • Face up and jab step into sweep step back shot
  • Face up and jab step into sweep and spin move

Coaching post players

Once you have established where and how you want players to finish in all of these categories, it’s then up to each coach to develop a practice routine that creates a good number of repetitions, done in both a fashion of perfection and in game-like situations.

Players must be taught to keep the ball up high, use the body to protect the ball, use both hands and use the backboard. When post players are put into drills, it’s very important that they score on each and every possession that they are put through.

Post players also must be taught to finish on every possession. This mentality should be ingrained into post players so that every time they catch the ball in the scoring area they try to score.

When working with post players, coaches must also stress cutting, catching and shooting, as they would cutting through the zone or spotting up in the short corner area, along with creating scoring opportunities by getting into spot ups as the perimeter player creates opportunities off of the bounce.

It’s imperative that coaches continue to place a lot of emphasis on offensive rebounding. Players need to realize how valuable offensive rebounds are to their teams, as they could be one of the most devastating blows to opposing defenses.

The last skill coaches must emphasize with post players is free throw shooting. Obviously, post players will be put in situations where they are fouled a great deal during shots. Don’t allow your players to be placed among those who cannot deliver from the line. Make your post players shoot free throws early in workouts, where they can work on form and shooting for perfection. Then, have them shoot free throws when they are tired, creating a game like situation.

Even though the game has changed and the traditional positions of basketball have become more of a hybrid nature, it’s even more important to take those players with multiple talents and work with them in both perimeter and post up moves and skills.

Don’t limit your players. Expand what they are able to do on the basketball court.