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How to coach and teach post play in the equal opportunity basketball offense

Most successful basketball offenses have both an inside and outside attack. If the majority of the attack comes from the perimeter, the defense is likely to be more aggressive farther out on the perimeter. If the majority of threat is inside, most teams will sag, collapse, and double-team until that threat is eliminated.

Ideally, the inside and outside threats are balanced and attacking the defense. They will then be more reluctant to push too hard and aggressive outside, lest they be hurt inside. The will be afraid to sag too much or the jump shooters will destroy them on the perimeter.

My old coach, Arad McCutchan, once did research pertaining to the most effective plays and situations in basketball. He found that 60% of the time the ball goes inside and the defense is forced to foul, or give up a basket.

Every good basketball defensive team in the world has one of its principal objectives to keep the ball out the lane. We try to overplay cutters in that area because we have found it is easier to stop a pass into that area than it is stop a shot. We don’t want to keep the ball on the perimeter too much. This section of my website is to point out the times and methods of getting more middle action.

First, there is the direct pass into the post and a cut-through by the opposite guard (see diagram 75). The guard cutting through should cut wide and stay out of the way of the post player. The guard should not look for a pass until he is at the basket.





The cut through guard goes wide because we don’t want a switch on this particular maneuver. In other situations we might cut tight in order to force a switch; however, in this case a tight cut enables the post player to be double-teamed and could force a switch. The cut through guard cuts at least two steps away from the pivot player and button-hooks to the front of the basket as illustrated in diagram 76. Keep in mind that we are running the opposite guard through on the direct feed into the high post, just as he would if the ball were passed to a wing.


Basketball Post-Play Diagram 77You should use this simple maneuver many times during a game, whenever your post player is taller than his opponent. If his defender is outstanding on offense, but a weak defensive player, this tactic could help get him in foul trouble. Also, it works well when your opponent has one small guard. This allows several possibilities. The guard not being guarded by that small guard will make the initial pass, allowing the guard with the small defender to go through. As the high post faces the goal for a jump shot, he is looking directly at a taller player being defended by a shorter player. He should feed this teammate, allowing him time to out-maneuver a smaller defender in the low-post (see diagram 77).

Basketball Post-Play Diagram 78We have found it easier to hit the post at the elbow on nearly every initiation of the Equal Opportunity basketball offense (see diagram 78).






Basketball Post-Play Diagram 79This is an excellent place from which to shoot and still maintains good rebounding positions (see diagram 79). The post player rolls to the side post on nearly every initiation. The only exception is when the “elbow maneuver” between the post and concealment guard is called.




Basketball Post-Play Diagram 80Really the best post play in this offense is the one that clears one side of the floor. This gives the post player time and room to get a shot. The receiving guard on the guard-to-guard pass should look at the high post player every time and get him the ball if the passing angle is good. If he decides to hit him, the guard should pass-fake to the forward, then get it to the post player (see diagram 80).




Basketball Post-Play Diagram 81The weak-side forward must step up tight to the lane when the guard-to-guard pass is made. This makes it easier to clear-out across the lane as shown in diagram 81. Should the shot not be there, you can still use continuity; however, the post player should be given ample time, as there are many scoring opportunities here.




Basketball Post-Play Diagram 82There is another occasion you must use your post player. That is on the first cut off the offense. You will get big players on that cut more often if you use two post players. One of them will go to the forward spot each time. If the big player is running the cut, he becomes a low post player as he nears the basket. He usually has a smaller defender because of necessary switching tactics by the defense. We should hit the big man on the first cut virtually every time. Even if the defender is not lost, he is still at a disadvantage, if the cutter spreads out and puts the body against the defender that close to the basket. Every basketball coach knows how hard it is to defend a player in this position. That is why we work so hard to prevent passes into this area. Another way to get your tallest player into the first cut maneuver is illustrated in diagram 82.

Basketball Post-Play Diagram 83In diagram 83, player #5 is your normal post player. The post player can get this cut more often by running a high-low maneuver instead of the third cut. On the second time around he will be the first cutter. This is a way you can get your tallest player to run the first cut when the ball is swung to the other side of the court. Number 5 simply interchanges with the low post player instead of running his normal third cut (see diagrams 84-87).



Basketball Post-Play Diagram 84 Basketball Post-Play Diagram 85
Basketball Post-Play Diagram 86 Basketball Post-Play Diagram 87

Basketball Post-Play Diagram 88Here is another variation to the process of initiating the offense. This variation is created by the fact you are using alternating post players. This is called, “double screen” maneuver. The “double screen” maneuver occurs whenever a forward plays the pivot. After screening for the concealment guard cut through, the forward at the post always doubles with the other guard moving down for the double screen for the forward coming out to the perimeter (see diagram 88). The forward always does this, except when, he and the cut-through guard execute the “elbow” maneuver.

The forward coming up on the high-low should not come out as quickly as he normally would. You need to get a good screen every time. It will be either a double screen, as is the case here, or a single screen as it is normally run. The forward coming out should fake two steps toward the basket before cutting outside to the perimeter. His position will be determined by whether or not the guard-to-guard pass has been made. At any rate, he should do anything possible to take advantage of the screen. He should fake, cut tight and not quite as high as he normally goes, especially if he sees the double screen having good effect.

Basketball Post-Play Diagram 89After helping the guard set the double screen, the forward-post will roll to the side post and the subsequent continuity (see diagram 89). He should be careful to not leave too soon on the guard-to-guard pass because the guard receiving might be trying to feeding the post forwards. Remember to fake on the high-low. Set the screen tight, here, whether it is a single or double screen.

All offense revolves around the high post player. If you teach two players to alternate at the post and forward positions you will have more versatility in the maneuver just discussed. It might be helpful to call one of them post player and post-forward player. Actually, the post-forward player most always goes to the forward position; however, the few occasions when the post player cues him to take the middle can be greatly effective. It forces a defender guarding your middle man in a defensive position not accustomed to and an inside defender guarding someone on the perimeter.

Your post player does not need to be big player to run the opportunity basketball offense. A small post player on the guard-to-guard-to-post play with its subsequent clear-out, would be an advantage. Your post player must be willing to move and be simply another member of the five. He should be the best screener on the team because he is required to screen every time a guard cuts-through. He should be a good traffic director and be able to determine rather quickly whether the defense is switching men, sagging to the middle, or changing to a zone defense.

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