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Mastering the Essentials of Good Post Play

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It's not very often that you'll find a championship team that doesn't have at least one or two tremendous inside players. In order for an offense to be effective, things must be taken care of in and around the paint. In this article we will discuss what it takes to be a great inside player.

1. Posting Up

A great inside player is very effective posting up. An average inside player is too casual about posting up. You need to know how to position yourself and how to seal your defender to make it easy for your teammates to enter the ball inside.

Karl Malone is known as possibly the greatest power forward to play the game of basketball. One reason for this was his reputation to make himself so big and wide in the post. He was only 6 foot 9 which isn't all that big in the NBA but he made it so easy for his teammates to get him the ball because he would position himself so well and made himself a huge target.

2. Setting Screens

A good offense is built upon good screens. So many times players just go through the motions in an offense and set lousy screens.

As an inside player you should set the tone for your team by setting solid screens. You'll get more playing time and you'll win more games because this is what creates open shots.

A big reason Rick Majerus' teams are so good is because he spends a lot of time with his players teaching them the importance of setting good screens. You'll also notice that by setting good screens you'll be more likely to score more points. When you set a good screen it seals your defender and if you roll towards the basket you're likely to be wide open.

3. Pivoting

Pivoting is another thing that many inside players are too casual about. It's hard to get excited about going to the gym and practicing pivoting but if you're going to be great it's a must. Most inside players are fine pivoting with one foot but aren't so good with the other foot. Don't give the defense an advantage by letting them force you in one direction. A great player to study if you want to see the effects of good fundamental pivoting would be Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs.

4. Dribbling

As an inside player you don't need to worry about becoming the next Pistol Pete Maravich, but you should be a good dribbler with both hands. Many times you're likely to get the ball as you cut through the lane and you'll need to make a few dribbles before you shoot a lay up. You can't afford to look at your dribble or not be able to dribble with your weak hand. Also when defenses press after you get the rebound you may need to dribble partway up the floor to clear the defenders and get the ball to a guard.

5. Scoring

First of all work on your free throws. Inside players get fouled more than most players because they end up shooting so many shots close to the basket. If you're not able to hit your free throws you are a big handicap to your team.

Always crash the boards, stay active, and keep your hands up. So many great centers get most or all of their points from offensive rebounds, tip-ins, and lay-ups.

Add the hook shot to your game. Years ago many great inside players used this shot because it's so hard to block. If you can become consistent close to the basket with a hook shot you'll be very hard to stop.

6. Rebounding

This could easily be argued as the most important responsibility of an inside player. To be a great rebounder, boxing off should be second nature to you. If it isn't you have a lot of work to do. We can't speak for all coaches but most coaches see a players lack of ability to box off, a mental weakness. There is just absolutely no excuse for it.

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