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Tips for Short Post Players

By Dr. James Gels, from the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook
All good post players must learn how to get open inside, and must master the basic low post moves. However, a post player who is going up against a much taller post defender is still going to have difficulty scoring. He/she can make a great post move, only to have the shot blocked.

So here are a few tips for shorter post players. As coach Tim Springer points out in a video below, short post players should look for "separation instead of confrontation". Don't battle inside with the bigger player. Move away from the hoop and use your shooting skills and quickness.

Become a good mid-range shooter - from the free-throw line, elbows, short corners and corners (diagram 1). Put in extra practice time every day cutting to these spots, catching, pivoting (facing) and shooting. Learn to catch, pivot and shoot with a quick motion and quick release.

By moving to the high post or short corner/corner areas, you take the big defender away from the hoop. Most big post defenders are uncomfortable away from the hoop.

shooting spots for small post players

When you catch the ball away from the hoop:
  • 1. Look to turn (pivot) and shoot. If you can make a couple shots, the defender will have to come out on you.

  • 2. When the big defender comes out from the basket, shot fake and use your quickness to dribble-drive to the hoop for a lay-up.

  • 3. When you draw the big shot-blocker out, this may create spacing for a teammate to cut through for a pass from you, and a lay-up.

  • 4. When you have the ball at the high post, pivot, face the basket and look to score. But also look for the open shooter on the opposite wing/corner, or for a cutter, or for a pass "hi-lo" to a teammate posting up down low.

  • 5. Versus zones, find the gaps in the zone, often the mid-lane or high post areas, or the short corners. "Cut early or cut late" as the zone shifts. Don't make your cut as the zone is shifting, but either just before or just after the defense rotates.

Here are two helpful videos from coach Tim Springer:

High post moves from Tim Springer, with Sophia Young (San Antonio Stars):


Step-Out Move. With this move you are trying to create separation from the taller defender. Start just above the block, but then as the ball is passed to the wing, quickly step out away from the block (toward the passer) to receive the pass, quickly reverse pivot (facing the basket) and shoot the short ranged jump-shot. The reverse pivot takes you another step away from the defender for more spacing.

There won't be much time till the defender closes the gap, so you must catch, reverse pivot and shoot in one quick motion, without hesitation. When making the reverse pivot, instead of dropping the ball into the usual shooting pocket, keep it chest or shoulder high, ready to go right up with it.

From Tim Springer with WNBA player Danielle Adams:


True story - some years ago, we had a 5'7" post player, Liz... short but quick and saavy, a "gamer". In our Regional game, she was defended by an All-State 6'3" girl. Having no success posting up inside, Liz took her defender up to the high post and had the best game of her career, scoring 23 points and we won by 7.


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