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  • Writer's pictureCoach Hueser

Winning the Footwork War (in the Paint)

Getting Open on the Block

To begin with, learn to sprint from the defensive end to the offensive posting area in four seconds or less. Coach Simpson, who coaches our bigs and does an awesome job doing so, constantly tells our forwards to "run the rim!" Upon arrival, it's important to change speed and direction. For example, if you are flashing across the lane and the defender is above you, then take him a step higher and cut low (back cut). If the defender is below you, then take him a step lower and cut high (front cut). Make both cuts with a burst of quickness (go in slow and come out fast). Either way, assume position just above the low block. We term this area as the “landmark”.

Sealing Footwork

  • Step Over- Take your foot closest to the defender, step over the defender's foot and sit down on him.

  • Pin & Spin- Step between the defender's feet and then reverse pivot into him establishing position.

  • Seal In | Doleac Position- The goal when sealing-in is to achieve a proper seal of the defender to the inside. At least one foot is to be in the paint.

  • Seal Out | Leg Whip- If the defender tries to three-quarter front from the high side or even dead front, seal him out with a leg whip (reverse pivot) and direct the ball to the top for the proper high-low passing angle. When the pass is thrown, hold contact until the ball is directly above your head, then release and pursue the ball.

Establishing Doleac Position

Try to get your foot in front of your defender’s foot (win the footwork war), and then lift up or push down his arm. With that position taken, always “show the ball your numbers” for two seconds. Assume a wider than normal base, low center of gravity, elbows out, upper arms parallel to the floor as extensions of the shoulders, and both hands up (you should be able to see the back of your hands). Hips and buttocks are used to sit on the defender’s legs and maintain contact. “Taking out the defender” is to allow the defender to take a position of his choice, and then take him further in that direction. We refer to this technique as “Doleac” position. It is important to use your legs and hips as much as possible.

Catch, Chin & Check (3 C’s)

First of all, call for the ball orally and with your eyes. You must shorten the pass by stepping to the pass. Get both feet in the air when the ball is in the air. Execute a quick jump stop and catch it with two hands (block and secure technique). Immediately "chin" the ball to protect it. Then read the defense by checking over your shooting shoulder, utilize a post move, or pass the ball back outside – sometimes engaging in "ping-pong". Keep in mind the closer you are to the basket, the slower your game should be.

Post Shots

  • Turn Around Jumpshot- Make a hard shoulder fake (show the ball) and front pivot away from the defense. Meanwhile, square up to the basket and shoot the jumpshot if the defender does not recover.

  • Jump Hook- Chin the ball and make a half body turn (get perpendicular to the basket). Raise your shooting arm straight in the air (12 o’clock vs. 2 o’clock release). Finish the shot with a complete wrist flexion over the middle finger of your non-shooting hand.

“Jailing Your Defender” Defined

It is often advantageous to “put your defender in jail”. Using the rim as a second defender does this. For example, if you drop step to the baseline side you might find it helpful to go underneath the hoop and finish with a reverse lay-up.

Post Moves

  • Up & Under Move- Make a hard shoulder fake (show the ball) and front pivot away from the defense, all the while squaring up to the basket. If the defender does recover, up fake (ball up, butt down) and cross under the defense.

  • Drop Step- Find (feel or check over your shooting shoulder) the defense and drop the opposite foot (point your toe where you want to go). Meanwhile, hook and seal the defender with the hips and buttocks. Then take one power dribble, come to a two-foot plant and execute a power move (drop, hop and stop). Protect the ball with the body and score with the shooting hand away from the defender.

  • Double Drop Step | Advanced Move- If you are unable to hook and seal the defender, it is recommended to take a power dribble and drop step to the opposite side (heal always hits the floor first).

Face-up Series

The advantage to this move is its ability to create space between you and your defender. After you catch the ball, reverse pivot ready to shoot or use one of two live ball moves: wipe & go and/or half-rip crossover.

Coach Hueser’s “3-Pointer”

  • When you have a much smaller or weaker defender guarding you on the block, call out "Charlie" and every available effort will be made to get you the ball.

  • Some post players develop the reputation as a "black hole". Meaning, once the ball goes in it never comes back out. Be careful you don't earn such a reputation.

  • “Roll on pressure” is a teaching term encouraging you to find the defense and make your move accordingly.

In closing, please watch this John Leonzo video "How to Scorer in the Post". I am a fan of his work. The only difference is his counter move to the drop-step. We teach the double drop step, whereas John advocates the fall away. This is certainly an effective move for advanced players. Maybe with the right attitude and dedication you can master both!

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