When playing a competitive game of basketball, it is important that every player in the team knows their position and knows how to equally defend it when they are on the defensive.  One of the most scored positions in the game would be the low post.  This makes it important to know how to defend the low post well, and learning how to anticipate it will end in a good defensive position.  Good defensive position is not easy as it may sound as it involves the reading of the offensive player’s move and quickly reacting to it.  In fact, if the defensive player is able to anticipate the move and play of the offense, not only will he be able to get in a good defensive position, but he can also attempt to deny an entry pass to the offensive low post player. In order to be in the proper defensive position, the defensive low post player should:

  • Stay lower than the opponent with eyes at about shoulder level.
  • Knees bent with feet wider apart than shoulder width.
  • Staying low projects good balance so avoid leaning onto your opponent.
  • Learn to avoid grabbing or reaching in.

Defensive PositionWhen encountering such a defense, post players will usually try to adjust their position by making quick offensive moves to force the defender to react and thus gain an opening.  However, staying low to the ground will enable the defender to react quickly.  The low defensive position will also give the low post defender the leverage his body needs to keep the offensive player away from the basket.

Ball Denial

If you are trying to defend the low post key, one key element that will help you to defend it better is by understanding how to prevent or deny any entry pass towards the offensive low post player.  To do this you need to have a good core strength, low stance, quick feet, and long arms to block or any pass.  Defending the low post properly means you need to work in order to block the passing lane, pressure you opponent, and take him off  of his comfort zone.

Fronting the Post Player – as a defender, if you gain a position in front of the offensive post player means you are able to face the ball handler that may potentially toss the ball to the player you are defending against.  Although you can see the ball handler directly, you are not able to see the man you are defending.  To prevent the ball getting tossed, raise both your hands to discourage a lob pass and make sure to use your backside to maintain contact with the offensive post player.  This way, you will be able to react in case he attempts to adjust to gain an opening.

Fronting the post player is considered as an aggressive defensive move against a post player and this requires a bit of help from your teammates.  Teammates should pressure the ball handler and block any passing lanes to prevent any passes.  Other low key teammates should also be ready to slide in and provide extra defense should there be a lob pass.

The advantages of fronting the post player is that it helps prevent any passes from getting through to the post player and that other defenders are able to easily provide support should a pass make it though the post player.  The two major disadvantages of it though is that the post player can make easy layups if an additional defender is too late in sliding in, and rebounding is usually out of the question.

Defensive PositionPlaying Behind the Post Player – when playing behind the post player, you are actually accepting the fact that an easy pass will be given to the post player.  This means that you are positioning yourself to defend directly against the offensive post player.  When defending in this position, it is important that you have one foot placed between the feet of your opponent and use your body weight to prevent the post player from getting any nearer to the basket.  In fact, if you are able to move him farther, the better.  The truth is playing behind the post player has some disadvantages as well as some unique advantages.  Although the advantages outnumbers the disadvantages, many coaches still consider playing behind the post player a big disadvantage as you allow the post player to be in his comfort zone.  The list below shows some of the advantages of playing behind the post player.

  1. Good Rebounding Position – when playing behind the post player, you have a better chance of getting the rebound of a missed shot.
  2. Double Team – playing behind the post player enables the team to go for a quick defensive help to double team the offensive post player.
  3. Weak Offensive Player – if a post player does not pose much of an offensive threat, allowing him to easily get the pass can prove to be helpful for the defense as there are chances to make a steal.  Besides, a weak offensive player will usually not want to receive such passes.

Most of the time, coaches do not really want his players to play behind the post player as it offers the opponent a quick one-on-one play, or possibly a making a quick pass to a cutting offensive player.

What to Avoid

A good low post defense will require a player to have good balance, good low stance, quick and active feet, and quick hands that deflect or deny any passes.  A good low post defense also relies in knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent which you could exploit.  If you are defending the low post, try to avoid the following:

  1. Do Not Reach In – reaching in may cause you to draw a foul or make you lose your stance and balance.
  2. Avoid Falling Easily to Pump Fakes – overreacting to pump fakes may enable you opponent to draw a foul out of you.  Make sure to follow your opponent’s body up and not the ball.
  3. Avoid Relying too Much on Your Arms – whenever possible, use your feet to acquire the best defensive position.

In defending the low post position, it is important to work hard and whenever possible attempt to deny the post player of any pass and avoid making any fouls during the defensive process.