We introduced post actions to our players for the first time earlier on last week. This is my reflection of how we introduced it, built it up and my thoughts on it.
With eighteen players in the gym, we divided our guys into smaller groups of three. Each group was at one basket and hence would be able get multiple reps.
Some of the key points for me were as follows:
- Get the players moving asap (no need to teach the technical skills yet)
- Use interventions to correct a couple of things (interventions should be kept short)
- Avoid coaching with a shotgun (one overall teaching point which we will emphasize)
I didn’t spend any time teaching the technical details at the start. Instead, I showed them what I wanted and got them moving. This meant that:
- the post players were not always in the right positions
- the perimeter players didn’t execute the appropriate passes
- the post finishes were less than ideal.
All of that was okay for me. The main objective in that first part was to get the players to self-organise at their basket.
In the first intervention, we covered where we wanted our post players to typically post up (hash mark in the lane)
It was a quick stoppage and we had the players moving in less than twenty seconds. Our positioning improved, where as the passing, finishing and other footwork remained less than ideal. This was by design, not default.
One coach went around observing and correcting the position where we wanted our players to post up. The second coach jumped in and out of each group and without stopping the drill helped players adjust their passing. By playing dummy defense on the perimeter player, the amount of chest passes decreased and there was an increase of wrap around passes and bounce passes.
T-POST & FACE UP SERIES
The next time we stopped the group, we introduced the “T-post“, and demonstrated how we wanted our players posting up. Players were moving again in a relative short time*, passing the ball to the post. Our next stoppage, talked about how we wanted to face up to the basket on the catch of the ball.
In addition, players would execute a laker cut after passing the ball into the post. As coaches rotated baskets, the players movement was only stopped if a player was not in the right position. For any other reason, the drill was not stopped. This helped maintain flow to the movement in the practice.
PASSING WINDOWS AND LAKER CUTS
Adding guided defense on the perimeter player meant that the perimeter player could now use a dribble to find or create a passing window into the post. The defender would not follow the laker cut in this section.
Our emphasis was still on the post players initial positioning and face up action. As this was still a teaching segment, corrections were made on post positioning and footwork.
The drill wasn’t stopped for other corrections. Players could be pulled aside and the coach could offer feedback whilst the other two players continued; or the coach could tweet it out as the players continued their movement; or the coach could jump in and use their positioning to replicate a movement pattern they wanted.
FIGHT & MAINTAIN POSITIONING
When we added a guided defender into the post, our post players now needed to fight and maintain positioning on the hash mark whilst waiting for the pass. Our perimeter players were still looking to pass into the windows and the post players were now getting lower and staying balanced. In addition, with the defender now in the post, they began to see the advantage of the T-Post Up.
After the perimeter player passed, they would continue to cut and the post player would either shoot or pass it into the cutter, depending on how the guided defender reacted. This doesn’t have to be perfect. At this stage of introducing these actions, we are only focusing on the post positioning.
The next intervention was including the dribble penetration. This was already introduced last season, with cutting guards acting as post players. However, most players needed a reminder about the movement patterns. Coaches worked with each group rotating and correcting this specific movement. By this stage of the practice, our post positioning and movement patterns had begun to improve.
Up until this point in the practice, each segment that we had done was a teaching segment. Our next progression would be to transition into a learning segment. Here, we would not stop and correct as much as it related to post positioning and facing up. Instead, we would let the players play through the mistakes and learn by doing.
2 ON 1 – BASIC POST ACTION
In this first 2 vs 1 game, the defender actively tried to prevent the post from establishing position. Therefore the post player had to be strong, fight and maintain position in the post. The guard could pass or dribble to start the action and they played 2 vs 1 from there.
Post defenders could help and take the drive away. The emphasis is not on scoring, rather it is on applying the learned actions.
If a player didn’t establish good post positioning or face-up with the right movement, the same team went again. If done incorrectly three times, we’d move on and the player who performed it incorrectly would move to a side basket to get an extra rep or two with the right movement patterns.
3 ON 2 – BLIND PIG POST ACTION
With our 3 vs 2 blind pig action, the perimeter defender starts facing away from the offensive player. The perimeter player can choose to start with a pass or a drive in this case. The defense is live when the ball is released from the defender’s back.
We decided to limit the time and the passes to really put a focus on creating an advantage with the first action.
We were not seeking perfection on any of these reps. We just wanted to see the players attempt to apply what they had just learned in a more game-like condition.
- Because I tend to want players to keep moving in practices, the players would figure out when I am finishing up and move on from listening and get back to performing the actions. When working with new coaches, it is something I have to keep reminding them that I am okay with. Coaches tend to think that the players are being rude otherwise, which I don’t think is the case.
- In this practice, we introduced a lot of new terminology to the players. post ups, t-post, face up series, laker cuts, hash mark. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to spend time developing these concepts.
- This initial spacing from the wing to the post is also going to build on to our next couple actions, including down screens and back screens, which we will be adding over time.
- We’re not going to introduce too many new concepts to our guys, so for the next couple of weeks/months, we’ll build on these and refine previously taught concepts and actions.