Home Forums Topics Systems & Strategies Narrow Deep Dive – How to get the ball into the post

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    One theme for our offense next season should be working through a dominant post player (if he develops as we hope). I am interested in learning a variety of ways to enter the ball into the post. 

    Let me know what you have. 




    @Doug Smith

    Good topic…anything specific you are looking for?

    We work on this almost daily in our practices…teaching post players how to seal and keep defender sealed…teaching post entry passers the importance of throwing away from defender….all this is entangled in what type of offense you run

    There are wing entries, quick-reversal or high post hits to hi-low action, dribble entries with PG if best passer, using back-door throw backs, Ball screen and seals, spread and quick seals in the lane to enter with ball in middle 3rd so hope to eliminate helpside


    I’ll leave this mostly to guys like @Sam Allen, who know the intricacies of these post actions better than I, and just contribute what I notice most as a Read&React coach: perimeter passers wait too long to throw post passes. I like post players cutting to spots, rather than static sealing. Unlike perimeter passes, where players feel comfortable hitting guys on the move, I find perimeter players wait too long, until post player is set in position, before feeding them, allowing the defense to gain position or poke at the ball. I think this is a read failure. All the executional points Sam pointed out are crucial, but I think you have to train the read as well. 

    So, I preach “great passers don’t pass to open players; they pass to players ABOUT to be open,” and then drill to encourage earlier post passes that arrive at the player as they arrive at their spots. This increases post feeds, decreases deflections, and creates more offensive opportunities for the post. Instead of always having to pound against a set defender, it creates opportunities for quick momentum counter-moves–swing thrus, drop steps, up-and-unders– to attack defenders still moving into post defense position. It also engrains a “jump to the ball” aggression in the Post player.

    I think the common mistake when you have a good post player is to think “dump it in and let him work.” I think the “when” and “how” he receives the ball can make a huge difference to his effectiveness..

    for what it’s worth…


    That’s good @Nelson Handel

    you hit on some important points that need to be discussed about the passer…

    Good conversation!


    Thanks Sam & Nelson, agree and working with guards on post entry pass. Like Nelson, I like to see the post move into position. We have them move from the weak side to meet the pass a lot. Sam, do you have any diagrams of those actions you listed. I have found a couple that I really want to try. — curl around the post player you want to get the ball and he opens up/seals, same idea off of a flex cut. I guess I am looking for dynamic ways to get the ball in where we are not  essentially saying and pointing to the other team– “Hey, we’re throwing it in to Capital A.”


    Doug, what offense are you running?


    Read and React (mostly)


    ah! very good. something I can speak to.

    1st, Rick had some very good videos about running the system through a dominant post. Have you seen them?

    2nd, the challenge with the system and a dominant post is maintaining enough space in the paint for your cutters to operate. Wandering Posts can clog the lane, and if your cutters are not a threat, or can be easily tagged by a stationary post defender, you become much easier to defend.

    I’ve tried these rules with some success in the past:

    1. Post plays SC-HP-HP-SC (eliminate the MP as a stopping spot; he’ll get there naturally). Call this “Maya,” because it looks like a Mayan Temple;
    2. Teach “patient on the porch.” Sitting in the SC, heels to baseline, is a great way to be forgotten by D, opening up easy cuts to the ball. Teach Post to let the perimeter get the D moving before moving to ball (Adam from PGC taught me this-he was a 1700 pt post scorer in college);
    3. Post is free to move SC-to-HP at any time, but may only cross center line AFTER cutter has cleared;
    4. Teach “weak to strong” movement. Post players like to follow the ball on strong side; teach them the advantage of flashing from behind D.
    5. STRESS screening for cutters and shaping to ball. This must be a HABIT. He’ll naturally find those screen-and-shape moves that put him in favorite positions to score.

    Outside, teach your perimeter players to X-cut (pass, screen away for filler, dive to rim), especially when Post catches ball in favorite scoring spots. In the R&R, the 1st scoring option on a normal post feed is the cutter, followed by the post making a scoring move. X-cuts give the Post the opportunity to catch and attack an open lane without awaiting the cutter. Of course, there are lots of ways for Post to use the cutter, which you should also train (fakes, drafts, behind the back passes late).

    Finally, run “Utah,” the cutter-HP backscreen action that John Stockton and Carl Malone ran for about a billion points. I run it out of a 1-4 High set, initiated by a Dribble At Point-to-Wing (a variation of a basic elevator screen play I run to get an open 3 at the top–when the D stays high, anticipating the cutter to fill point after DA basket cut, Cutter simply Utah screens for the SS HP). It’s one of our “Initiating Actions,” scripted stuff I run to get us in to a possession. They look like sets, which confuses the D, but are really just a R&R spacing alignment with one or two scripted actions that follow R&R rules and flow naturally into our motion.

    That’s a  lot, but you asked for #deepdive. Hope this helps.



    Nelson — great stuff. We place players in the short corner a lot as well. We also emphasize weak to strong cuts- not mirroring the ball on the strong side. 

    I will check out Rick’s stuff. 

    Where do you get your quick post scores? Drop step finishes– mid post range hooks– up and unders?


    Thanks. I love thinking about this stuff. 


    to be honest, this is my least favorite way to play. At our level, post feeds tend to smothered by collapsing defenses (despite the fact that we are a very good shooting team) and I’ve never had a post player strong enough with the ball to trust that he can get me a solo bucket with his back to the basket. This year was extreme, in that I think we had one post-and-laker cut the entire season. My guys just did not want to post.

    This was probably exacerbated by the fact we saw an insane amount of zone D against us early this year, so our focus was on zone attack sets vs 2-3, 3-2, and 1-3-1 Ds. We actually lost a game we were dominating–the 6th in a row vs zones– when, out of desperation, they switched to M2M and my guys had forgotten how to play the R&R. By the end of the season, when the better teams started playing M2M, our offense was not deep and we got exposed in the division semis.

    This all may change next year, however, so thinking this through clearly in this thread is very helpful.

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