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How to Double the Post

How to Double the Post

Have you ever played a team with a dominant post player? You’ve thrown every defender at them, but they’re still getting position in paint and scoring at will. Basically, they’re unchallenged and doing whatever they want to on the offensive end.

When you find yourself going against this type of dominance you have to be ready to send help. One defender isn’t going to stop this player, but two players will be able to neutralize this type of offensive power. By doubling the post, you put your defense in a position to make a stop and control the outcome of the game.  

In this article, we’re going to focus on different ways to double the post. When you’re done reading, you should have a better understanding of how to double the post and keys to guide your team in order to be successful in this type of double team.

The Goal of Doubling the Post

Your team’s main goal in double teaming the post should be to disrupt the offense and take them out of their game plan. In other words, doubling the post should prevent dominant post players from taking over a game and force secondary players to step up and beat you.

When an unstoppable player goes from dominating and scoring at will to being unable to even turn and face the basket without having two defenders in their face then it’s probably going to cause some frustration. At the same time, they’re going to have to work even harder to make game decisions such as passing the ball out of the post and this type of pressure which will begin to wear them down.

This is a win for your doubling the post defense strategy because it has done its job to take the post player and the offense out of their game plan. By shutting down their powerful post player, you’ll definitely be making them quickly figure out a new plan and adjustments on the offensive end.

Keys to Doubling the Post

    1. Double on the flight of the pass. Wherever the double team comes from, it must be coming on the flight of the entry pass. If the double team comes late then the offense has just enough time to make a move and score. Essentially, making the double team useless. The doubling defender should be ready to help nearly immediately after the post player catches the ball.
    2. Look to get deflections. Instead of trying to dig at the ball and get steals, your players should be looking to get deflections on the pass out of the post. If you dig at the ball and get whistled for a foul then it negates the goal of doubling the post. Don’t foul and play smart by getting your hands on the ball when the post player tries to pass the ball back out.
    3. Deny the ball-side perimeter pass. When the post player is trapped, the goal is to not let them score and force them to pass the ball back out to a teammate. We want to make this pass out of the post the most difficult pass. By heavily denying the ball-side pass, the post player will have to make the extra complicated pass across the court and through your defense.
    4. Don’t front the post. If you want to trap the post then half-front and play behind on the defensive end. Don’t front the post in this situation because a smart post player will use this to get angles that result in quick, easy scores. Instead half-front and force the post player away from the basket and then on the flight of the entry pass get behind them.
    5. Force them to the middle. In most doubling situations, the help comes from the middle which is why the immediate defender must angle them towards the middle. If the post player is not angled towards where help is coming from then it’s going to be harder to execute a successful double team.

4 Different Ways to Double the Post

The decision of which way to double the post can be made based on the advantages and disadvantages of each of these defensive techniques, and how they would apply to the offensive players and the game situation. In other words, different situations call for different defending tactics.

With this in mind, there are four main ways in which two teammates can double the post and we’re going to break those strategies down.

#1: Double from the Weakest Player

This doubling option should only be used if your opponent has a weak offensive player consistently on the court. Designate the player guarding the weak offensive player as your help player who double teams the post every time. This help defender must have high basketball intelligence and be quick since they have to be ready to go double team and recover back to their player.

The defender guarding the post player must force them towards the middle on the catch of the pass because that’s where the double will come from. The designated helper should always have a foot in the paint getting ready to double team quickly.

It doesn’t matter where this help defender is on the court at the time, they must go and double team. With this option, the only offensive player left open on the court when the trap occurs is the worst offensive player. This is excellent for the defense because you got the ball out of the hands of the strong post player and into the hands of the weakest player.

Doubling from the weakest player is an easy option for your players to understand since only one person have the responsibility of going to double team.

Rotations

There aren’t any specific rotations when using this strategy to double the post. The reason you want to use this option is to get the ball into the hands of the weakest offensive player so rotating or recovering isn’t necessary. The only exception would be if the weakest player was in the middle of the paint in which help should already be there.

#2: Double from the Lowest Defender

Another option for doubling the post is sending help from the lowest weak-side defender. Using your lowest defender can be tougher on the post player, but also make your defense more vulnerable if the post player is a decent passer.

It’s tougher on the post player because with this option it will often be the other bigger defender that comes to set the double team which means there’s two sets of arms blocking the post player’s view and trying to get deflections on the ball. With the double team coming from a closer area on the court, it should be easy to set the trap quickly.

At the same time, the problem with this option could be if the post player can make a pass before the help gets there. If the post player is a decent passer and our rotations aren’t quick enough then we are leaving an offensive player open in the paint which could lead to easy points.

Doubling from the lowest defender is not recommended simply to avoid the possibility of leaving easy points open for the offense.

Rotations

When the ball is passed into the post player, the lowest defender goes to double team from the top. As this happens, the second lowest defender must drop down to protect the paint. The top defender will also drop to the high post area to help defend the paint and also look for a deflection on a pass out of the post.

Both players are responsible for the offensive players on the weak-side of the court and must be ready to recover quickly if a pass is made to them. These defenders are always looking to intercept or deflect passes out of the post.

#3: Double from the Top Defender

Using your top defender to double the post is a common choice when you’re playing against a team with shooters on the perimeter. The reason for this is by doubling the post with the top defender, the lowest defender won’t have to change positions and the defenders on the wings can already see the offensive players they must watch.

This is big time for the defense because it takes away the likelihood of missed rotations and increase the chances of a successful trap.

On the flight of the pass into the post, the highest defender must turn and sprint to double team the post player.

Rotations

As the top defender sprints to double team the post player, the lowest defender should already be in help position under the basket. The second lowest defender should slide across to the free throw line area to also be in help.

Both players are responsible for the offensive players on the weak-side of the court and must be ready to recover quickly if a pass is made to them. These defenders are always looking to intercept or deflect passes out of the post.

#4: Double from the Passer

Whether you should use this option depends on your opponent. If you’re playing a team who can knock down three-pointers then do not use this option, but if it’s a poor outside shooting team this may be an option to utilize.

One goal of doubling the post is to make it hard on them. We don’t want to let them score and we want to force them to make a tough pass back out to a teammate which could result in a turnover. However, with doubling from the passer, the post player is able to make the easy pass out of the post. So if you’re happy for your opponent to receive the ball on the perimeter and strictly do not want the post player to have it then this could work for your game plan.

The offensive player passing the ball into the post will generally be the ball-side guard. If you choose to double team off this pass, it leaves an easy pass back out because there are no rotations to cover this offensive player. The defender will have to take their eyes off of them to go double the post which allows the offense to relocate for an open shot or cut to the basket without the defense being able to adjust.

Rotations

There aren’t any smart rotations to be made with this option since the pass will usually come from the ball-side guard. The only rotation you could use is having your top defender slide over to guard the ball-side guard but they may not be quick enough to get there in time.

This tactic should only be considered if you’re playing against a team with poor shooters so the guard who doubles the post can return to their player once the ball is passed back out.

Doubling the Post Summary

As you can see with all these doubling the post strategies, you have to know when to use them. Each way has its advantages and disadvantages which makes knowing your opponent and game situation even more important.

Can your opponent knock down open shots from the perimeter? Avoid doubling the post with the passer.

Is the post player a decent passer? Don’t send your lowest defender to help trap.

Does your opponent have a weak offensive player? Use their defender as your double team.

Not sure which option to use? Send your top defender to double the post.

Learn More

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Feb 18, 2019 Coach Chris

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