Developing Young Post Players

Posted on Nov 25 2019

In the world of five out alignments, “small ball” and 35 3’s per game, the art of post play and providing young players with the required skills can be forgotten or neglected. Ensuring all players have the tools and understanding to operate in the post is still a key aspect of a young players’ development.

The key elements of post play – stance, catching, passing, pivoting, finishing and decision making – fit hand in glove with the requirements for a young player at any position on the floor. Perhaps no more important skill to assist young players is footwork and pivoting and the post is a terrific place to teach, develop and practice this skill.

The ability to create advantage by use of the pivot is an essential element of the young post players tool kit. Without footwork and stance, there can be no balance and without balance any element of the game is extremely difficult to execute. Aspects to consider in teaching and developing stance and footwork in the post include –

  • “Low man wins” – height is an overrated aspect for the post player in the initial move, playing low is crucial
  • Get “low, wide and leveraged” – wide base of the stance, “hip press” not “knee press”
  • “Sit into your game” – Kerry Rupp
  • Present L’s – both hands up ready to receive, thumbs in front of eyes to create space
  • Chin/load the ball on the catch – “load to the V”
  • Check middle – see the floor
  • Precede any pass or shot with a pivot

Developing pivoting skills – 

The significant difference between catching a pass in the post and catching on the perimeter is the interior player will be defended immediately every time. This means the ability to catch it on balance, stay on balance and execute a skill (pass or shot) on balance is paramount.

Aspects to consider when teaching and developing pivoting –

  • Develop the ability to execute both pivots on both feet – reverse and forward pivot
  • Define the mechanics of the footwork – forward pivot executed on front half of foot, reverse pivot on back half of foot
  • Young players tend the try and execute the pivot with a “flat foot”
  • Importance of teaching stance, pivoting and movement pattern in sequence
  • Stay leveraged on the catch – loose through the hips, use small continual pivots to stay on balance
  • All fakes in the post are short and with bent arms – straight arms pull players out of stance and make pivoting difficult
  • The Mikan drill and variations are the developing post players best friend

The 10 Moves for a Developing Post Player – 

In building the “post package” for a young player, keep it simple and ensure they can execute on either side of the basket. If a player has 4 to 5 “moves” they can execute, this is doubled as they can operate on both sides of the lane.

Think about this – do your post players have 10 moves? Here are some basic moves that you can assist young players to develop and refine.

  • Drop step to the base-line – both sides, use of either hand
  • Forward pivot into shot – both sides of lane
  • Forward pivot, counter, into the shot/finish – both sides
  • Reverse pivot into shot – both sides
  • Reverse pivot, counter move, into the shot/finish – both sides


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