Posting up is one of the easiest and most effective ways to score in basketball. This can be used by both guards and big men and should be a skill you learn, to be a more versatile and effective scorer in the game of basketball.
To be effective at posting up, you need to have a go-to move, love contact, and be aggressive, when you're close to the basket.
In this article, I will be going over a more in-depth breakdown on posting up in basketball.
1. Know Your Opponent
When talking about posting up in basketball, it is vital to know and be able to read your opponent.
These can be things like, how strong they are, how are they playing you, and what defense the other team is playing.
By knowing these things you can adjust, and decide what moves to make, and how fast you need to perform that move.
Below I will be giving a few examples of reads and situations you might face, and how to handle them when posting up.
A lot of teams will front a post player, if they have a size advantage, or if they are quick to recover and help once the pass is thrown over the top to you.
A way to counter this and make sure you get the ball if they front you is by getting position farther away from the basket, so you have more room to get into your shot or layup attempt.
Most likely there will be a defender there right when you get the ball, so be prepared to make a quick move or look to kick it out for your teammates.
This can be very similar to, the fronting style of defense, and teams will use this when they are shading you toward the help side of the floor.
Some easy ways to attack this is having a good post hook or fade away, this way if you are forced into that situation you can get an easy shot off, as your defender will be on the other side of your body.
This is the most common way you will be defended in the post, this is when your defender is behind you and your back is facing the basket.
An easy way to attack this is by having a go-to move you feel comfortable going to, this could be a drop step, a post-hook, or even a skyhook.
The point is when someone is playing behind you, you need to figure out a way to shoot over them, as that is most likely what you're going to have to do, to score in this position.
2. Be Able To Score With Both Hands
At a certain level, you might be able to get away with not being able to score with both hands, but as you get into the higher levels of basketball, it is going to be more and more important to be versatile, and be a player who can score with both there right and left hand.
How To Practice This
The best and most simple tip I can give you is to make sure you practice both sides of your shot and give equal attention to both your hands.
For example, if you are learning and practicing a post hook, make sure you get the same amount of reps with both hands.
3. Scoring In Multiple Positions
A lot of players think that the only way to score in the post is the low block or directly in the paint, and while that is a great place to score, there are other areas to score in the post to be even more effective as a whole.
The three positions of posting up in basketball are the mid-post area, low post, and elbow post.
A reason you want to be able to post up in these different situations is that you want to be able to attack your defender in multiple different ways.
For example, if you are bigger than your defender, then you might want to get into the low post, if you are quicker than your defender, then you want to get into the mid-post area.
Below is a great video showing you how to post up in the different positions on the floor.
4. Have A Go-To Move
Almost all the best post players have a move that they can constantly rely on and go to almost no matter the circumstances.
When having a move like this, it is important to make sure you are really comfortable with it and you have practiced this many times.
I see so many players try to do moves in games or competitive situations, but it just flops and never works because they did not put the necessary reps to master the move.
So some basic questions you should ask yourself before you bring this move into competition are.....
Can I do this move with both hands?
Have I done this well in practice consistently?
Have I done it over a good defender?
Do I feel comfortable doing this move in a game scenario?
Below is a great video of some basic moves you can use when posting up in basketball.
5. Be Unpredictable
Sometimes posting up can be a very hard way to score because it allows defenses to set up and get into a position to defend you.
That is why it is important to throw the defense off and be unpredictable with your attacks.
Below are a few ways you can do this.
Mix Up Your Moves
While it is important to have a go-to move, it is equally important to have a counter to that move as well.
Your defender is not stupid, and if they see you doing the same move over and over then they are going to play to that move and make it harder for you to get that shot off.
For example, let's say your go-to move is a post fadeaway, even though you might still be able to get it off, your defender is going to play that, so this is a situation, where you can get into an up and under move, and really surprise and fake out your opponent for an easy score.
Mix Up Your Speeds
This can be done on a various amount of things with your post-game, from the speed at which you post up, your moves, and even the speed at which you shoot the basketball.
For example, a lot of players when defending the post will not expect you to take off right away when you get the ball, I see this move work a lot especially on spin moves.
The better you get in the paint, the more and more teams are going to try and deny the ball from you, that is why you need to find creative ways to get open .
A great way to do this is by exploding into your post position quickly.
For example, a great way to do this is to walk your defender down, act relaxed and then quickly initiate contact and post up your defender.
6. Communicate With Your Teammates
The truth of the matter is that when you're posting up, you're going to have to rely on your teammates to get you the ball.
That is why it is important to communicate with your teammates and be on the same page as them when you are posting up on the court with them.
What To Tell Them
It is important when you do communicate with your teammates to let them known, when and where you are going to post up.
Sometimes there might only be a short window to get you the ball, and that is the kinda thing you need to let them know so you get the ball.
There also might be double teams when you get the ball in the post, so they should let you know when and where they will be open as well.
Pro Tip: Make sure when you are in a good position to call for the ball, there is an old saying that goes the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and this could not be more true in basketball.
Sometimes your teammate is not going to be directly looking at you so calling out to them is something you can do to get their attention and the ball.
Now when practicing this part of your game there are a few different ways to get the most bang for your buck when you're trying to improve your post-work.
One on One
The reason I like one on one so much for this skillset is, that it really gives you a chance to practice all of the variables, and other situations that will come with being in the post.
While I think solo work is great for anything in basketball it does not give you the range of difficulty you would see in a competitive scenario.
Tips For This Drill
Make sure when you do this drill, to mix up the different positions on the court you go. Also, make sure you play against a wide range of opponents if you can.
8. Run The Floor
Running the floor is one of the best ways to get into a good post position and get easy baskets for you and your team.
What is so great about running the floor is you can get into your spot before the defense sets up. This also allows for mismatches which you can take advantage of once you get the ball.
9. Initiate Contact
Initiating contact is great for post players because it allows you to get space from your opponent.
This can be when you're fighting for a position, or if you are trying to get a shot off. This can also be a great equalizer if you are going against a much taller player, as this will stop their jumping ability and allow you to dictate what happens down in the paint.
Charles Barkley was a great example of someone who used contact to dominate in the post even though he was almost always shorter than his opponents.
The key with this though is to make sure you are initiating the contact first and doing so in a way that is not an offensive foul.
One tip I give to players is to put your shoulder into your defender and try to dribble through their opponent. But also make sure you do not extend that arm as that will be called an offensive foul on you.
10. Calm Down
A lot of players when they get the ball in the post, will either be in a hurry or panic if other defenders help off or a double team happens.
It is important when you get the ball down low, to be calm and slow down your emotions and thoughts. It is going to be more hectic the closer you get to the basket that is the nature of the game.
How To Calm Down
Know your opponent's scheme
One of the biggest causes of fear in basketball is not knowing what is coming next. A way you can handle that fear is by studying the other team's strategy and see what they are most likely going to do once you get the ball in the post.
By understanding this, you can then take a more logical approach to the game, instead of making decisions of fear and panic.
I think a great way of going into a game calm and ready to go is having a good routine.
Something to get you more grounded and ready for your competition ahead. This could be anything, from listening to music, or shooting by yourself, or even meditating.
Whatever it is do what works best for you, and do something that gets you into the right mode for gametime.
Don't Put Too Much Pressure on yourself
A lot of post players freak out when they get the ball because they put way too much pressure on themselves.
They might not be getting the ball enough, or they haven't scored in a while, and they force shots or make bad plays.
I have found a simple way to overcome this is by letting the game come to you and taking a more neutral approach and let things happen as they happen.
11. Good Stance
A good stance can mean different things depending on the type of player you are.
But a good rule of thumb is that your stance should be low with a bend in the knees, and you should also have your feet wide, a little bit past your shoulders.
Having a stance like this will make you stronger in the post, and also make it much harder for your defender to push you around.
By getting into your stance early you can then seal your defender off and keep yourself in a position to get the ball and score.
12. Getting stronger
Frankly, there is no better way to become a better post player than getting stronger.
I really only recommend players to put on a lot of weight and muscle if they feel like they are going to be playing in the post a lot.
Getting stronger will not only help you create separation but will also make it easier to hold your position and push your defender around for easier entry passes.
Just make sure if you do put on strength and size, you still stay mobile and athletic while doing so.
below is a great video explaining how to gain weight for basketball.
13. Use Your Advantages
When your playing basketball it is important to know the advantages you might have over your opponent.
Strength and size, are the first things we think about when you have an advantage in the post, and no doubt these might be great advantages, but there are other advantages you might have that you're not thinking of.
As we said earlier, posting up does not have to be in the low post or block area, it can also be in the mid-post or even elbow area.
For example, if you are faster than your opponent you should take them into the mid-post area and try and use that speed and space to blow by them or create your own shot.
Obviously, if you do have a big height or size advantage that can be your time to back your defender down and get an easy score.
The point is, you should always be looking for the advantages you could have over your defender.
Playing in the post can be one of the most demanding things you can do in basketball.
You are constantly getting hit, defenders are slapping for the ball, and you're trying to score in a hectic situation.
That is why it can help to have some grit, toughness, and aggressiveness down in the paint.
Some of the best post players of all time like Shaq and Charles Barkley were known for being hyper-aggressive and tough in the paint.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What do you think is the best post-move to have?
Answer: I always think the best post-move is something you are comfortable with, and a shot you can quickly go to no matter the situation.
That is why I personally like a post-fade or hook shot because I feel like you can get these shots off quick and in virtually any situation down low.
Question: Why can't I seem to move my defender even if I am much bigger and stronger?
Answer: A lot of this has to do with leverage and understanding momentum. Try getting into a lower stance and using his body's momentum against him.
An easy way you can do this is either spinning out of your post up or trying to throw him off and posting up in another position or area on the court.
Question: Will these tips be useful even if I am a guard, and should guards even look to post up?
Answer: I think guards should always be looking to post up even if they are not used to it.
Posting up as guard is one of the best ways to add versatility to your game, and make you a nightmare for opposing defenses.
The only big difference between posting up as a big vs a guard is you're usually going to be posting up more in the mid-post area vs posting up in the low block.
Even though posting up is becoming more of a lost art, I still think there are some great advantages to perfecting your post-game as a whole.
Let me know below your favorite post-move, and if you think the NBA should start posting up more again.
As always thank you for reading and keep hooping my friends.