Good Low Post Players are great to have, but often hard to find. Just ask the many colleges that are always searching for one to recruit. When a high school coach is lucky enough to have a taller, lanky, young freshman or sophomore in his program, he would be very wise to see what that player’s potential is and develop ways to use that height. If the Big is already one of the best talents on the team and can play and shoot from anywhere, teaching him to use his size inside at times can be a benefit to his future and the team’s success also. But if he has little skill development, is weak and unsure of himself, then building his game from the inside-out would be a smart way to go.
Some coaches will tell the young, unskilled Big that he just needs to rebound and play defense, maybe block a few shots or at least intimidate opponents, but “don’t worry about scoring.” A pass may never even be attempted in the direction of the post man. This may be a wise choice at the stage of some Bigs’ development, but a coach should still be working on these young players’ offensive games in practice. The coach could even consider putting in one special play for the Big to get the ball and potentially score or at least be able to feed a teammate.
Training a young Big starts with positioning, receiving, and protecting. Position them above the low block along the free throw lane. Teach them to present a nice target with both hands up, elbows out, fingers to the sky. Inexperienced players, especially Bigs, often don’t get their center of gravity low and body balanced. They need to protect the possession by positioning with knees bent, springing to the pass, grabbing the ball with both hands, bringing it to the chin area, flaring the elbows out, and landing with knees bent and butt lowered. All of these traits must be practiced almost daily in group or individual work, with reinforcement during team action.
After positioning and receiving have been sufficiently developed, the next step is some basic post moves. A simple one to begin with tall, lanky, less physical Bigs is the bank shot. From the low block, a pivot on the baseline foot turns the player to a position where he can quickly sight the “shooter’s square” on the backboard and release the bank shot. This can be very effective for players who are much taller than the average opponent because the Big can usually avoid contact and comfortably get off a high percentage shot.
The second scoring move to address is the “drop step, power shot to the baseline side.” This one also uses the backboard, but involves different footwork. Instead of pivoting on the baseline foot as in the bank shot, the player steps with his baseline foot toward the basket, using one big power dribble, squaring up the other foot by moving it toward the basket, and then going up for a power layup off the glass.
Coaches can limit their young Bigs to those two moves and have the beginning of a future threat at the low post. As the Big Man develops coordination, strength, and confidence, he will be eager to work on the next phase, counter moves. Starting their development young and early on will give a Coach the time to incorporate more options for the low post player as he improves. I found improvement of my Bigs to be a big key in the success of my basketball teams.
“Basketball is a game of luck and if you don’t have a good post man, then you may be in for some bad luck.” – Coach Battenberg
If you are interested in learning more about Post Play, consider getting my book “Power Post Play” during the half price sale going on now: