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Game Elevation - Fundamentals
      Learn what it takes to become a more complete and skilled basketball player with Game Elevation – FUNDAMENTALS, presented by the Fundamentals Basketball Academy.

      From defense to ball-handling to shooting, Game Elevation - Fundamentals will detail and breakdown a specific fundamental skill set component on a monthly basis.  The emphasis will be to educate today’s player on proper fundamental execution in order to advance and progress in the sport of basketball.

     Take this opportunity to read this month’s Fundamental and then bookmark this page so you can stay connected as Game Elevation provides you with the resources needed to accelerate your full basketball potential.


Questions You Need to Answer:
Who should play the post?
What determines a post player, Size or ability?
Who has the advantage against his opponent?
What is your advantage?
Do I need to be able to dribble if I play in the post?
How do I get the ball?

      Get the ball on the block, as close as you can to the basket, so you can receive the ball and take the highest percentage shot possible.
      How? By working for position!

        1.  If played from the middle, hold position and signal for ball towards the baseline.
        2.  If fronted, hold position and receive a loft pass over the defender and go to the basket.
        3.  If played from the baseline, hold position and receive a pass towards the middle (lane) for a variety of shot choices
             (See What To Do When You Receive The Ball).
        4. Catch and Kickback.Knowing where the defense and your teammates are at at all times is a critical element in playing the post position. 
             Not only do you need to know where your defender and the defense is you must also be able to see the floor and your teammates from 
             your post position and know what your teammates like to do once they make an entry pass into you (i.e., reposition to a different 
             shooting spot, cut to the basket, etc...).  Once you kick the ball back to your teammate secure your position and prepare for a re-entry 
             pass.  Ensure that you are on the block and not in the lane where you will be called for a 3-second violation.  Many times a kickback will 
             cause the defense to move and readjust quickly which might allow you the opportunity to receive the ball right back for a quick scoring 
             opportunity.  In this instance being unselfish and passing the ball back out might be an avenue for you to receive the ball in a better and 
             advantageous position which can lead to you scoring.
        5.  If played by a great defender, go away (to the opposite block) with a quick V-Cut and come back and reposition the defender.  Many 
             times as you move away from your position when a defender is doing an excellent job you will cause that defender to give up his/her 
             good foot work and position.  This will allow you the opportunity to post the defender in a position that is advantageous for you and your 

Once you receive the basketball you've got to know what to do with it.  From my experience as a personal trainer I have noticed that most of the players that I train that have been utilized in the post position as young players have only been taught one thing; keep the ball high, turn around, and shoot.  For a young player who is tall this has probably provided that individual with much success in his/her early basketball career. However, as they have grown no one has taken the time to develop their skills so they are in a position to grow in post play as they advance in the game of basketball.  Listed below are several skills for post players to work on to help develop their post play abilities.  We have taken the liberty to classify the moves for different skill levels.  Feel free to modify the list to meet your individual needs so you are in a position to improve your post skills.

Post Moves 101
(Basic Post Moves)
Post Moves 201
(Advanced Post Moves)
1.  Ball Fake and Jump Shot
2.  Power Move.  Gather and explode to the 
3.  Quick move by putting the ball on the floor.
4.  Step Through/Up and Under.
5.  Drop Step (Baseline or to Middle of Lane).
6.  Turn around jump shot.
7.  Hook Shot (Right and Left Hand)
1.  Set defensive man up to middle and come 
      back baseline for a jump hook.
2.  Drop Step (Baseline or to Middle of Lane).
3.  Jump Hook (Left and Right Hand)
4.  Step Through/Up and Under
5.  Step Out (Baseline )with Jump Shot.
6.  Step Out (Baseline) with Ball Fake or Sweep Move and 
     Drive to Basket.
7.  Step Out (Baseline) with release dribble 
     backwards (one dribble) and Jump Shot.
8.  Drop Step Middle of Lane with exaggerated
     ball fake and release dribble towards free
     throw lane with jump shot.
9.  Shoulder shimmy.  Fake with shoulders left
     and right quickly and then make move to 
     either shoulder depending on your 
     advantage (jump shot, jump hook, up and 
     under, etc...).  Be quick. 

Getting Your Shot Blocked:Don't be intimidated about getting your shot blocked.  At some point it is going to happen.  However, don't let your post play be dictated by your shot being block.  Don't be intimidated!  If it gets blocked go after it and learn from it.  Next time up the floor you will know that the defender is either tall or that they can jump and are now prone for a ball fake or other post move.  Learn from the shot block and use it to your advantage.  As a post player, or any player for that matter, you need to dictate to the defender.  Having your shot blocked does not make you a failure or any less of a basketball player.  Put aside the pride and worries of your friends harassing you after the game.  What that shot block has done for you is set you up to be a student of the game.  Learn from the defender and adjust your post play accordingly.  Good players look pretty.  Great players learn, advance, make adjustments, and dictate while the game is being played.  Be the latter.

Interior Passing:  Great post players draw defensive help.  This type of post presence makes interior passing a crucial element to your offensive game.  The ability to find the open man and make a quality pass is a critical skill that has to be developed for a post player.  Many times as you make a move in the post defensive help will adjust to your ability, and this adjustment causes gaps and holes in the interior defense that teammates will shift to.  Knowing how the defense will move before it happens and how and where teammates may and may not be is crucial for interior passing.  For example, many times when a post player spins towards the baseline and drives towards the basket heading for a reverse lay-up the defense from the weak side post position will drop to help and look for the shot block on that side of the basket.  Now we have two defenders heading right towards one another (strong side defender staying with offensive post man with the ball and weak side defender coming to help).  This creates an interior passing opportunity for the post player with the ball and the offensive post player from the weak side of the basket.  Many times the pass can be made between the two defenders to the middle of the lane as the weak side offensive player shifts to the middle of the lane for a quick lay-up or mini jump shot or a pass can be made around the weak side defender to the weak side offensive player for a jump shot from the weak side block area.  This example is just one of many interior passes that are available to post players.  How do I become a better interior passer?  If you want to become a better interior passer watch game tape.  Watch games on television and study the post players.  When the commentator says that that was a great pass from the center, find out why!  Tape the game so you can replay it in slow motion and learn to read the defense.  See how they adjusted to the post player and how that created better passing opportunities for that post player.  The same application holds true for a poor/bad interior pass.  Study why it was poor!  If your parents or coach get on you for making poor passes in the post position, find out why!  Tape your games, ask questions, and take every opportunity to learn. Become a student of the game!!!  If you want to get better then watch, ask, and learn!  Be the one player that asks who, what, how, when, where, and why.  The great ones always do!

In or Out:  Some of the best post players have the ability to go into the post or out to the perimeter.  This ability is especially valuable when you are dictating to the defensive man that is assigned to guard you.  If the defensive man guarding you is big and slow sometimes it is great to be able to post him up and step out to receive the ball on the perimeter (8 - 10 ft away from the basket) so you can utilize your jump shot or your speed (ball fake and penetration) to score the basketball.  If the defensive man is small and you have the post advantage then you want to take him/her into the post and use your size and skill to your advantage.  Remember, the question you always want to ask yourself is "What is my advantage?"  Seek to find your advantage and your defensive mans disadvantage and play to your strengths in that given situation.  There is nothing more frustrating that an offensive player who keeps trying the same move over and over and keeps getting the ball blocked.  That players determination to score with that given move should be superseded by their ability to adapt to the defense.  Adapt is this context does not mean retreat, it does however mean find your advantage and their disadvantage and take that avenue that will yield a basket.  Be a student of the game.  Learn from the defense and the defensive player assigned to you.  Don't wait until the game is over to say, "I should have done this, _____!"

Feel Your Position:  When working on your post moves you need to be able to feel the defender.  When the defensive man is leaning on you and he/she moves their position you need to be able to recognize that by the pressure exerted on that part of your body.  For example, if a defensive post player is playing directly behind you and they start moving towards the left side of your body to deny the pass then you should be able to feel the contact and the movement.  As they shift to the left side of your body you should step into them starting with your left foot then your right foot.  Sit into their position, hold them off, and then signal for the ball towards the right side of your body.  Keep contact with the defensive post player so you know where they are at without having to look for them with your eyes.  Contact on your body lets you know where they are, what kind of position you have, where you want to ball to be thrown to, and once you receive the ball what kind of moves are at your disposal to use is that given situation.

If you ever have a defensive post player who works really hard and has great foot work in the defensive post position then you need something to counter their footwork.  Many times a quick, aggressive, and talented post defender will frustrate a post player who is use to getting his/her way.  This frustration at times causes post players to pick up unwanted fouls.  Those fouls generally come from the offensive post player trying to physically move the defender so they can get position.  How then can you counter this type of a post defender? Spinning!!!As we discussed earlier in the Positioning Section, the fifth point, sometimes you have to go away on a good defensive post player with a V-Cut and then come back and reposition.  We want to get them to give up their good position is exchange for bad position so we as post players can occupy that good post position.  So, to that fifth point we want to add the spin.  After we have cut away from our position and are heading back to retake it we many times make contact with the defender.  In that contact we want to be prepared to spin and seal the defender where we make the contact.  For example, after I have cut away and I am on my way back to retake my post position I generally meet that defender a couple steps away from the original post position that I desired.  When the contact comes I do not meet the defender with my chest, I generally meet the defender with one of my shoulder blades.  This allows me to make contact and roll into the position.  The spin move requires good footwork and timing.  As my left shoulder blade meets (in this instance) my left foot is in front of his/her right foot (since he/she is facing me).  Remember, I am not leading with shoulder like a football block, I am however in a position to receive contact on that shoulder so I can spin.  Once my left shoulder makes contact I roll towards the ball.  My back will maintain the contact allowing me seal them out for the position.  My right foot will drop with me into the post position that I want allowing me to be able to face the entry pass and hold my defender off.  (The spin move is like taking and individual by the shoulders and spinning them in a circle.  You push on one shoulder while you pull on the other.  As the example illustrated above the contact with defender is a push on my left shoulder and as I drop my right foot and spin and keep contact with my defender I am pulling the rest of my body into an offensive post position.)  The spin move helps me counter the good defensive job my defender was doing and it enables to me secure the position that I wanted.

Note:  Sometimes you have to abandon the post to retake it.  If your defender is doing a great job then go away to another spot on the floor and patiently wait for your opportunity to take the position back.  Determination is a key but it must be applied correctly.  You can be so determined to take the post position back that you become physically frustrated and end up picking up an unwanted foul.  However, determination applied with knowledge will allow you to work for the position and retake it keeping you away from unwanted fouls and placing you in position to use your offensive post talent.

Use of Dribble:  As a post player it is important for you to be able to utilize the dribble.  The dribble, however, in the post does not need to be one where you are beating the ball into the ground as you back your defender in.  Guards love for big men to put the ball on the floor in this fashion so they can come around and steal it.  The dribble that we want to emphasize is one that is quick and one that takes you somewhere.  For example, when I make a power move and put the ball on the floor it is with a quick drop step and I only utilize one dribble.  Most interior moves only require one or two dribbles at the most.  If you are dribbling more than that then you need to give the ball back to the guard so it is protected and so you can repost for better position.  Another key element to the dribble in the post is being able to dribble with both hands.  You must be able to use both hands for dribbling and shooting (in the post position) and be able to drive to your left and right.  If you are a post player then there is no better time than the present to begin working on your ball handling.  Remember, one quick aggressive dribble will help add to your post move ability.

Finishing the Move:: As a post player, or any player for that matter, it is important that you finish your move.  Your objective is to score or get fouled.  That is why it is important to be able to use both hands to shoot and dribble in the post.  When you go up for a shot and the defense grabs your arm and you have the ability to get the ball to your other hand and shoot you only increase your chances for a three point play.  Scorer's find a way to score and so a strong finisher should find a way to get the ball up to the basket.  The Dunk!  If you can dunk, then do so.  However, if it takes you five feet to stutter step and gather then just focus on getting to the basket quickly and finishing the move with power and strength.  If you have to take too much time gathering you are just giving the defense an opportunity to get to you.  If you can take one drop step and dunk then do it when the opportunity presents itself.  Remember, every post move does not have to be a dunk.  The crowd may be impressed with your jumping ability but how are you helping your team.  The more damage you can do with your overall post moves the more opportunities will open up for you to have easier dunks.  Round your game out in the post and you become harder to guard, harder to manage, and easier to recruit.


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This page last updated on November 18, 2013.  Copyright © 2013.



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