As a coach who’s had the blessing of having some very talented wing players on my teams, but who believes the right way to play
basketball is from the inside out, I sometimes have trouble getting my players to throw the ball into the post. Not only do they rarely throw it in, but because they haven’t learned how to do so properly before, it often results in either a turnover, or a catch much too far away from the rim for the post player to be comfortable.
That’s why I’ve now started to take a little bit of time out of every practice, running a series of drills that teach my guards how to pass the ball into the post correctly, and teach the post player how to seal his man correctly and present a target for the passer. There are three basic kinds of passes that you’ll need to make: the direct post feed, the baseline bounce pass, and the lob feed.
Direct Post Feed
The most simple of the passes is the direct post feed. If the post defender is set up low, taking away the baseline and allowing the post to seal middle, we will immediately take advantage. If we were on the right block, the post player would be using his left arm to help seal the defender, while presenting a big target with his right.
Now usually the defense will not surrender this position, and here’s why; one power dribble into the paint after that catch, and your post player has a plethora of options at their disposal. The jump hook will be almost impossible for the original post defender to contest, so they may see the double team coming across from the opposing wing. It’s important for the post player to be decisive, and either go up strong with the jump hook if they’re in single coverage, or make the overhead pass, keeping the ball high, to the player the double team is coming from.
Baseline Bounce Pass
This is the pass that you’ll end up making 90% of the time. Because the middle is so easy to exploit from the post, the defender will slide to the post’s high shoulder. Again were on the right block, but the post player will use his right arm to help seal, and extend the left hand out as a target.
The wing should make a low bounce pass to the left hand. It’s okay to lead the post player a little bit, as they should be coming out and attacking the ball for the catch, and not waiting for it to get to them.
The post player has the freedom to read whatever the defense gives them here. They need to be aware of the double coming from the weak side, and the passers defender digging at the ball, but if that doesn’t happen, I would suggest going to whatever move they feel is their highest percentage shot.
This is a high risk, high reward play. If the defense has decided to front the post, instead of wasting their energy to fight back in front, your post player should seal the defender with his hips. They can use either the left hip or right hip here, whichever they feel most comfortable with, but either way they need to have their opposite hand high in the air indicating a target for the passer.
This is a tough pass, and not one you’ll want everyone on your team to attempt making. The easiest way to make it is to give yourself a target – I usually suggest the bottom corner of the back board. If you get a little bit of air underneath the ball, the post player should be able to jump up and grab it without the defender having any chance at getting a tip.
Once they’ve done all this work to get the lob pass, make sure they don’t negate all that hard work by bringing the ball back down to waist level before going up. Your post player should keep the ball high, and go right back up for the easy layup.
- If you’ve got two players with great chemistry, like Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu, who can communicate with their eyes, with a quick spin off by the post player, you can create an easy opportunity for a lob to the basket (just like in the video above!)
- If there’s no angle for the bounce pass, have the wing player take a couple of dribbles towards the baseline, it should open up a shorter, easier passing angle!
If your looking for some drills to help your posts get more efficient down on the block, check out these post move drills!