Basketball Post Moves
One of the most important positions in the sport of basketball is Center. The center is typically the tallest player on a team however his job is not always glamorous. On defense he is usually closest to the basket and the team’s last line of defense when the other team is trying to score. Many times the center engages in a more physical styles of play because most coaches prefer them as close to the basket as possible which turns into a struggle for position as it is the other team’s centers responsibility to make sure he doesn’t get it. Sometimes the physicality of the position and emphasis on defense leads to Centers who are under skilled and underutilized on the offensive end of the court. It is sometimes taken for granted that even though the big man may be close to the goal, it takes an unbelievable amount of skill to become efficient at the position on the offensive end. It is important that youth get a good solid fondation when learning this position. As one gets older it becomes increasingly harder to break old habits. Some of the problems that developing centers face are:
- Playing with their back to the basket (difficult to make a move or make a shot when you can’t see what’s behind you or where you are going)
- Smaller players with quick hands always swarming them
- Being able to be physical and absorb a lot of contact while finishing a play with a soft touch
- Executing a move with 1 – 2 dribbles with limited space
- Usually having to shoot over someone the same height as them or taller while the defender is typically 1-2 feet away directly in their face and line of sight
The following free basketball drills for youth, underdeveloped centers, and more advanced can help all players become much improved.
George Mikhan Drill:
This drill consists of alternating lay ups with both the right and left hands in a continuous sequence without the ball dropping below the player's head. It can be done facing the backboard or with the back towards the backboard. This drill teaches big men how to keep the ball high and away from smaller defenders and develops touch around the basket. The George Mikhan drill is important because it mimics the type of lay up a center will be executing in a game situation once he gets close to the rim.
The bank shot is a short shot that is executed when the center is facing the basket with the defender playing defense far away enough so a shot can be attempted. Unlike a regular shot attempt where the player aims directly at the basket, the bank shot bounces off of the backboard through the hoop. The advantage of using the bank shot is that you have a square directly above the basket which gives the player a great visual aid in making the shot. Another advantage of using the backboard is that for players who have a problem with shooting the ball with a soft touch, the backboard shot can be made consistently by players who tend to shoot the ball harder and with more speed.
The jump hook is becoming a lost art and any player that adds it too his arsenal will instantly become a more dangerous player. This shot is great when operating in tight spaces with defenders who are taller and more aggressive and in your face. When executed properly, the jump hook is almost unblockable. To execute a successful jump hook the player ideally creates contact with the defender thereby creating space or knocking the opposing player slightly off his center of gravity which gives the offensive player a slight advantage when he elevates for the shot. This shot is not executed from a position where the offensive player is facing the basket. Typically he is sideways and shoots the ball over his own head in a high arching manner. The jump hook can be shot off the backboard or directly into the basket. Unlike many other shooting drills, the jump hook should be executed with both the right and left hands thereby creating a more versatile player. It cannot be reiterated enough, a player who develops an efficient jump hook will be an invaluable asset to his team.
Every practice should include free throws. With the physicality involved at the Center position, centers have the potential to make trips to the free throw line often. These shots are executed without the intrusiveness of a defender so any player should shoot a high percentage from the free throw line. Being able to knock down free throws is important because it adds to your points per game average, your team’s average, and when the game is on the line, it puts the opposing team at a disadvantage.
Why are dribbling drills important to a center? I’m not suggesting that a center be able to dribble as well as the point guard but it is important for the center to have some ball handling skills. When making moves to the basket the Center must be able to dribble to get around or between defenders. The key to this is that he must be able to dribble without looking at the ball to see where he is going and to see if any other defenders are closing in on him. By doing so he knows when he is in position to take a good shot, when and where to pass or when to change directions. Sometimes centers get the ball in the open court and if they do not have a clear pass to a better ball handler, they will have to dribble to get in position for a better pass or to avoid a 10 second or 5 second violation.
The jump shot is the most popular offensive weapon among basketball players. Even though Centers play primarily close to the goal, it is an increasing trend to have big men that can shoot mid range jump shots. I suggest starting close, about 5 feet away from the basket. Once comfortable with shooting from this range extended it to 10 then 15 feet. Having a jump shot puts pressure on the defense and is a major advantage for not only the offensive player but the entire offense. When a Center has the ability to shoot a jump shot effectively the defender is forced to play defense closely which takes their tallest player away from the basket which provides better opportunities for other offensive players to make baskets.
Being able keep up with the pace of the game is important. It allows you to execute better, and perform at a high level even at the end of the game. When others are tired and you are not it provides a major advantage to you on both the offensive and defensive possessions. There is a famous saying, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all”. This means that when we are tired, we don’t make the best decisions and the fight that we once had diminishes. Plays that you would normally make, you find yourself one step behind or a few inches short. Conditioning is the most important skill to develop because what good are all the other skills if you can’t keep up with everyone else and use them?
Suggested work out for beginners and youth:
1. Dribbling Drills
- Stationary left hand dribbles (60)
- Stationary right hand dribbles (60)
- Full court right hand dribbles, twice
- Full court left hand dribbles, twice
- Full court crossover dribbles twice
2. George Mikhan
- Facing the rim, 20 consecutive without a miss
- Back to the rim, 20 consecutive without a miss
2. Free throws
- Make 10
4. Jump Hooks
- 10 Right hand jump hooks from 5 positions each (both baselines, front of basket and both angles)
- 10 Left hand jump hooks from 5 positions each (both baselines, front of basket and both angles)
- 10 Jump hooks from both angles off the back board
5. Bank Shot
- 10 Bank shots from each side while alternating sides after each shot (Should be done at a brisk pace)
6. Free throws
- Make 10
7. Jump Shots*
- 10 Made from each baseline
- 10 Made from each angle
- 10 Made bank shots from each angle
- 10 Made from the “elbow” on each side of the free throw line
- 10 Made from the free throw line (Jump shots and not free throws)
8. Free Throws
- Make 10
- Determine which drills you want to run here.
10. Free Throws
- Make 20
Make sure when you get comfortable with a drill you make it more challenging by adding more reps or adding additional steps to continue developing into a star player.
*Should start every workout close to the goal, preferably 5 feet away. Once comfortable at this distance extend the jump shot in increments of 5 feet accordingly.