Coaching Girls Basketball: Teaching "L" "X", and "Z" Moves in the Post

Don't let the title "Girls Basketball" fool you. That's for the search engines.
What I am writing about here can serve both girls and boys.

When coaching girls basketball vs. coaching boys basketball there is really no difference in my approach. The strategies remain the same. Boys are stronger, jump higher, move quicker and have usually a more diverse shooting arsenal. My teaching methods remain the same, though, concentrating on fundamentals, defense and discipline-the basis for my teaching philosophy found in my teaching DVD and books - "Basketball On A Triangle: A Higher Level of Coaching and Playing".

In teaching post play, unless a team's strategy is to use a strong and fairly stationary low post, I would have the post in continuous movement. I do this in order to confound the defender and to constantly attempt to open up passing angles. My "L", "X" & "Z" patterns make it nearly impossible to hold a correct defensive position all the time. This creates an advantage, or at least an equalizer, for a smaller post player. The “X” move starts from the low box away from the ball to the elbow on the ball side. Then down to low post ball side and back up to the elbow away from the ball. At each corner, the post tries to establish a position to receive a pass. Then, if not able to receive a pass, moves on.

Diagram 14-3 "X" Diagram 14-4 “X”

The “Z” pattern goes from one low post box to the other. It doesn’t matter which side the move begins from. Then it comes up to the opposite elbow; across to the other elbow; then back down (“X”-ing) to the low post where the pattern began. Any defender who can stay with this move, staying in correct triangular alignment, is going to be tough to beat at anything.

Diagram 14-5 “Z” Diagram 14-6 "Z"

I like to begin offense with the low post away from the ball side, so as to allow room for an opening cut by a perimeter player. Off their cut, the post might use a brush screen technique to try to rub the post defender off on the cutter and the cutter’s defender. As the post comes to the low post block ball side, and if receiving a pass, will attempt whatever finishing shot is presented. If no pass, the post will establish a position on the block looking for a pass.

From here, we can have the post move up the lane on the ball side to the elbow. This is an “L” move and tough for a defender to not be caught on top or behind the post player. What the defender’s body and feet are doing will indicate to the post player which move they want to attempt to get the pass and score.

Diagram 14-7 “L”

Using the “L”, “X” and “Z” patterns gives a post player a lot of options, and they can be combined.

Practicing these moves, I begin working with a post player at the low post, stationary, and practice getting position, getting a hand up for the pass, receiving the pass and then going to work for the shot. It could be a drop step and power, a turn-around jumper, hook, jump hook—whatever presents itself.

The next step is to have the player start at the low post opposite the ball, then move the player across the lane toward the ball, feeding them as they move across. Practice the varying finishes. Then have the post come from off the ball to the low post ball side without the ball, and work the same as we just explained above. Have them flash down the lane from the elbow opposite the ball—either to finish with a pass and shot or to establish the low block position.

Working now at the high post, with the ball out top, hit the post slanting up from low post opposite to the elbow on the ball side. If the defender is late, drop step and go to the basket with the ball. Feeling no defensive pressure, pivot and face the basket. Now, acting in a perimeter fashion, the post can see all the way to the baseline. The options are pass, shoot or drive to the basket, using the jab, open-step, cross-over or reverse dribble moves the same as a perimeter player would.