Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Posting Up Against Fronting Defense

I'm sure we've all experienced playing against man-to-man defenses that front the post. Many of my post players over the years have expressed their frustration with fronting defenses. Some of those frustrations have to do with limited touches, but the one I hear the most has to do with getting called for pushing off on a lob pass.

The best advice I have gained for post offense against a fronting man-to-man came from former Whitworth head coach, Warren Fredrichs. I have used this technique since 2002 and have found great success with it.

- Chest to the baseline side - A lot of post players want to face halfcourt when fronted. This actually creates a more difficult passing angle from the wing. It is also more likely that the pass will be easier to play for the helpside defenders. By facing the baseline, the only option on a lob is to pass it toward the basket allowing for an easier finish.

- Elbow in the defenders back - This is one of my favorite teaching points ever (Many thanks to Coach Fredrichs)! The offensive post players non-target-hand elbow should be right in the middle of the defenders shoulder blades. The forearm should be perpendicular to the floor making a vertical "L" shape. This is contrary to what most post players are taught and/or naturally have the habit of doing. This does three things: 1) It is far less comfortable for the defender, 3) It creates less contact surface area for the defender [more contact favors the defense, less contact favors the offense], and 3) It eliminates the offensive push-off foul.

- Big target hand - The hand closest to the basket should extend almost straight up. This provides the passer on the wing clear vision of the target. Many times, post players will extend a target hand parallel to the floor (as seen in the picture above with the defense playing behind) and the passer simply cannot see it.

- Release and retrieve at forehead - Hold the seal until the ball is directly above the offensive player's head. Releasing too early allows the defender an opportunity for a deflection or steal. By holding the seal until the ball is directly overhead, the offense gains an advantage. As my Twitter compadre, Ray Lokar, recently told me, stopping the defense negates any speed advantage because both players are at the same speed. Once the ball is directly above the offensive player, it is now his responsibility to aggressively retrieve the ball with both hands.

It is also important to teach perimeter players to make lob passes properly. By teaching them to aim for the corner of the backboard, it will keep the pass from going into heavy helpside traffic.

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