What is the Post in Basketball? A Friendly Guide for Fans

As a basketball fan, you’ve likely heard the term “the post” thrown around during games or discussions, but may not know exactly what it means. The post refers to the area on the court closest to the basket, typically just inside the free throw line extended on either side of the key. It’s a crucial position on the court that requires a unique set of skills and strategies.

In this guide, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of the post in basketball, from its definition to the key skills and strategies required for success in this position. Whether you’re a seasoned basketball veteran or a newcomer to the game, this guide will offer valuable insights into one of basketball’s most important positions.

what is the post in basketball

Key Takeaways:

  • The post refers to the area on the court closest to the basket, just inside the free throw line extended on either side of the key.
  • Players in the post position have a unique set of responsibilities, requiring a combination of physicality, skill, and basketball IQ.
  • Success in the post requires a wide range of offensive and defensive strategies, as well as essential skills like rebounding, scoring in the paint, and passing out of the post.

Understanding the Post Position in Basketball

Now that we have a general understanding of what the post is, let’s dive deeper into the position itself. In basketball, the post position is typically played by a forward or center. The primary role of a player in the post is to establish a position close to the basket, receive entry passes, and score efficiently.

Post players must possess a combination of size, strength, and skill to succeed in the position. They must be able to use their body to establish position and hold off defenders, while also possessing a range of offensive moves to score effectively. Additionally, post players must be adept at passing out of double-teams and making quick decisions to keep the offense flowing.

When playing in the post, footwork is crucial. Players must be able to pivot and spin to create shooting opportunities or pass to open teammates. They must also be able to move quickly and change direction effectively to avoid defenders and create space.

Defensive Responsibilities

Defensively, post players are responsible for guarding the opposing team’s post player. This includes preventing the post player from establishing good position, contesting shots effectively, and rebounding missed shots. Good post defenders must possess quick feet, strong positioning skills, and good anticipation to defend the post effectively.

It’s important to note that post players also play a critical role in team defense. They act as the last line of defense, protecting the rim by contesting or blocking shots. Post players must be able to communicate effectively with their teammates, switching and rotating as necessary to prevent easy scoring opportunities.

Overall, the post position is a physically demanding and challenging position that requires a unique set of skills. However, mastering the post can be incredibly rewarding, as post players can be a dominant force on the court and lead their team to victory.

Offensive Moves in the Post

The post position in basketball is all about scoring. The closer a player is to the basket, the higher the probability of scoring. The post player’s job is to position themselves in a way that allows them to receive the ball in a favorable position and then score efficiently. Here are some of the most effective offensive post moves:

  • Drop step: A drop step is a move where the post player takes a step towards the baseline, turns and uses their inside foot to pivot and go up for a shot. It is effective for getting past defenders who are fronting the post.
  • Hook shot: This is a classic move where the post player turns and shoots the ball using a sweeping motion. It is a high-percentage shot and difficult to defend against.
  • Back-to-the-basket: This is where the post player leans their back into the defender and uses their body to shield the ball before turning to shoot. It is a good move for taking advantage of smaller defenders.
  • Face-up: This is where the post player faces the basket before making a move. It allows the player to attack the basket off the dribble or shoot from mid-range.

It is important for post players to have a variety of moves in their arsenal to keep defenders guessing. They also need to be able to read the defense and adjust their moves accordingly. One way to do this is to pay attention to the position of the defender’s hands. If the defender is reaching out, it may be a good opportunity to fake a shot and drive to the basket.

Another crucial aspect of post play is spacing. It is important for post players to maintain proper spacing with their teammates to prevent overcrowding in the paint. This makes it easier to pass the ball out of the post and creates opportunities for cutting and screening.

Reading the Defense

A skilled post player not only has a variety of moves but also knows how to read the defense. This means being able to recognize when a double team is coming and making the right decision quickly. One option is to pass the ball out of the post to an open teammate, creating a scoring opportunity. Another option is to face up to the basket and attack the rim.

Ultimately, post play is all about scoring efficiently and effectively. With a combination of moves, spacing, and reading the defense, a skilled post player can be a dominant force on the court.

Defensive Strategies in the Post

Defense is just as important as offense when it comes to playing in the post. In order to be an effective post defender, players need to have a combination of size, strength, and quickness. However, there are also specific strategies that can be employed to limit the opposition’s scoring opportunities and increase the chances of coming away with a stop.


One of the most important aspects of post defense is correct positioning. Defenders need to work hard to establish good position early on, so they can prevent their opponents from backing them down under the basket. Good post defenders know how to use their bodies to block out their opponents and stay in front of them, while also being aware of what’s happening on the court around them.


Footwork is another key element of post defense. Players need to be able to move quickly and smoothly in order to keep up with their opponents, and they also need to be able to change direction quickly to stay in front of the ball. Strong footwork can help prevent a player from getting backed down and also help them contest shots more effectively.


Post defenders also need to be physical. They need to be able to use their size and strength to block shots, snag rebounds, and make life difficult for their opponents. This doesn’t mean that defenders should play dirty or be overly aggressive, but they do need to be willing to get physical when necessary.

Denying Entry Passes

Another important aspect of post defense is denying entry passes. If a post player can’t get the ball, they can’t score. Defenders need to work hard to prevent passes from getting into the post in the first place, by being aware of their surroundings and using good footwork to deny their opponents the space they need to get open.

Overall, good post defense requires a combination of size, strength, and agility, as well as a solid understanding of the strategies and techniques involved. By using these techniques effectively, players can become a force to be reckoned with in the post position.

Key Skills for Post Players

Being a successful post player requires a diverse set of skills that go beyond just scoring in the paint. Here are some of the essential skills that every post player should develop:

  • Rebounding: Post players should be strong on the boards, grabbing both offensive and defensive rebounds to give their team extra possessions.
  • Scoring in the Paint: Post players should have an arsenal of moves to score around the basket, including hook shots, drop steps, and up-and-under moves.
  • Setting Screens: Post players should have excellent screening ability to create space for their teammates and open up opportunities for themselves.
  • Passing Out of the Post: Post players should be able to pass effectively out of the post, finding open teammates on the perimeter or cutting to the basket.
  • Defensive Prowess: Post players should be able to defend the post effectively, using their size and strength to deny entry passes and contest shots.
  • Basketball IQ: Post players should have a good understanding of the game and be able to read defenses to make the right decisions on the court.

A successful post player will be well-rounded and versatile, able to adapt to different game situations and contribute to their team in a variety of ways.

Post Player Development Drills

If you’re a post player looking to improve your game, here are some drills that can help you develop your skills and increase your effectiveness on the court:

Post Footwork DrillPractice your footwork by starting at the mid-post and making a series of moves to get a shot off while maintaining good positioning.
Rebounding DrillWork on your rebounding by having a coach or teammate shoot a series of shots from different locations while you focus on positioning and grabbing the ball at its highest point.
Post Move Series DrillDevelop your post moves by practicing a series of moves in rapid succession, such as drop step, up-and-under, and jump hook.
Defensive Post Positioning DrillImprove your defensive positioning by practicing different defensive stances and techniques to deny your opponent the best position to score.

Remember, repetition is key to mastering any skill, so be sure to practice these drills consistently to see improvement in your game.

Notable Post Players in Basketball History

Throughout the history of basketball, there have been many legendary post players who have made a significant impact on the game. From dominant centers to versatile power forwards, these players have demonstrated the importance of the post position in basketball.

“I’m a post player. I’m most comfortable down there. That’s where I make my living. That’s where I’ve made my name.” – Shaquille O’Neal

NamePositionTeam(s)Notable Achievements
Wilt ChamberlainCenterPhiladelphia/San Francisco Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers2-time NBA Champion, 4-time MVP, 7-time Scoring Champion, 11-time Rebounding Champion, 100-point game in 1962
Hakeem OlajuwonCenterHouston Rockets, Toronto Raptors2-time NBA Champion, 2-time Finals MVP, 2-time Defensive Player of the Year, 12-time All-Star, member of the Dream Team
Tim DuncanPower Forward/CenterSan Antonio Spurs5-time NBA Champion, 3-time Finals MVP, 2-time MVP, 15-time All-Star, 15-time All-Defensive Team
Shaquille O’NealCenterOrlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics4-time NBA Champion, 3-time Finals MVP, 1-time MVP, 15-time All-Star, member of the Dream Team II
Kevin McHalePower Forward/CenterBoston Celtics3-time NBA Champion, 7-time All-Star, 2-time Sixth Man of the Year, member of the 50-40-90 club

These players, along with many others, have set the standard for greatness in the post position. Their skills, contributions, and legacies serve as a testament to the importance of mastering the post game in basketball.

Strategies for Utilizing the Post in Team Offense

The post position can be a valuable asset in team offense, as it allows for a variety of scoring opportunities and can keep the defense on their toes. Here are some strategies that teams can use to effectively utilize the post:

Post Entry Passes

One of the most common ways to get the ball to a post player is through a post entry pass. This involves passing the ball from the perimeter into the post player, who can then use their size and strength to score or create opportunities for teammates. It’s important for the passer to be patient and wait for the right moment to make the entry pass, as a poorly-timed pass can result in a turnover.

High-Low Post Plays

High-low post plays involve two post players on the court, typically one near the free-throw line and one closer to the basket. The player at the free-throw line can either pass the ball to the player in the low post or take the shot themselves, forcing the defense to make a decision. If the defense decides to double-team the player in the low post, the high post player can take advantage by cutting to the basket or taking a jump shot.

Pick-and-Roll Actions Involving Post Players

Another effective way to utilize post players is through pick-and-roll actions. A pick-and-roll occurs when a player sets a screen for their teammate, who then uses the screen to create space and get open for a shot or drive to the basket. Post players can be particularly effective in pick-and-roll situations, as their size and mobility can make it difficult for defenders to keep up. By setting a solid screen and rolling to the basket, a post player can create scoring opportunities for themselves or their teammates.


Now that you have a better understanding of the post position in basketball, you can appreciate the crucial role it plays in the game. From offensive moves to defensive strategies, post players need to possess a diverse skill set to excel in this position.

By continuing to hone your skills through drills and exercises, you can become a formidable post player and contribute to your team’s success. And let’s not forget the notable post players who have left their mark on basketball history, inspiring future generations to strive for greatness in the post.

Whether you’re a devoted fan or a casual observer, we hope this guide has provided valuable insights into the post position in basketball. Keep exploring and learning, and who knows – you might just discover a newfound appreciation for the post!

How do players excel in the post position?
Source: Pixabay.com


Q: What is the post in basketball?

A: The post in basketball refers to a specific position on the court where a player typically operates near the basket, either in the low post or high post area. It is an essential role that involves scoring close to the basket, setting screens, rebounding, and defending opponents in the post.

Q: How do players excel in the post position?

A: To excel in the post position, players need to have a combination of size, strength, and basketball skills. They must possess good footwork, be proficient in post moves, have a strong understanding of reading the defense, and be able to create scoring opportunities for themselves and their teammates.

Q: What are some common offensive moves used in the post?

A: In the post, players have a variety of offensive moves at their disposal. Some common post moves include hook shots, drop steps, up-and-under moves, and fadeaway jumpers. It is crucial for post players to develop a diverse offensive repertoire to keep their opponents guessing and maximize scoring opportunities.

Q: How can players defend effectively in the post?

A: Effective post defense requires proper positioning, active footwork, and physicality. Players must aim to deny entry passes, disrupt opponents’ post moves, and contest shots without fouling. By maintaining good defensive fundamentals and understanding the opponent’s tendencies, players can become formidable defenders in the post.

Q: What are the key skills post players need to develop?

A: Post players need to develop a range of skills to thrive in their position. These include rebounding, scoring in the paint, setting screens, passing out of the post, and being a reliable defensive presence. Versatility, agility, and basketball IQ are also important attributes for post players to possess.

Q: What are some recommended post player development drills?

A: To improve post players’ skills, various drills can be incorporated into their training routine. Some recommended drills include footwork drills for agility and balance, post move drills to practice different scoring techniques, rebounding drills to enhance positioning and timing, and defensive drills to improve post defense fundamentals.

Q: Who are notable post players in basketball history?

A: Basketball history has seen several notable post players who have made a significant impact on the game. Some famous post players include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Tim Duncan. These players have showcased their talents, dominated the post, and achieved great success throughout their careers.

Q: How can teams effectively utilize the post in their offense?

A: Teams can strategically utilize the post position in their offense by using post entry passes, running high-low post plays, and involving post players in pick-and-roll actions. By incorporating the post into their offensive schemes, teams can create scoring opportunities closer to the basket and exploit the strengths of their post players.