A largely forgotten part of high school, AAU, and youth basketball is interior play. Whether it’s labeled post, forwards, centers, interior players or bigs, it’s a part of the game that is underdeveloped.
First a couple common myths to debunk:
The Biggest Player is the Center – First, some offensive systems don’t even use a “center” anymore (moment of silence). Secondly, a center has a skillset just like any other position. It helps to be big, but coaches need to coach to players strengths and if a player is a tall 3 then posting them up all the time does not make sense. Yet I see it often.
Block-to-Block – This myth that interior play is back-to-the-basket and block-to-block is stubbornly hard to change. In the 21st century the post position comes with a diverse and technical skill set that allows players to score from the rim to the three. Granted, getting on the block and going to work is an important part, but in today’s game the pick-and-roll/pop, mid-range skill sets and hitting open shots from outside all play a roll.
There are more myths that I will explore in a later post but why has interior play weakened so much?
In my opinion there are a couple factors. Most players today grow up wanting to be LeBron, Kobe or Durant (who are great players, no doubt about it), not many players want to grow up to be Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, or Tim Duncan. The fact that I feel the need to list those guys by their full names says something right there about how star players are marketed. Young players should appreciate the skill sets of impactful interior players like Duncan, who is only regarded as one of the best (if not the best) power forward to ever play! It’s not flashy but something young players can learn a lot from.
In comparing basketball to football, the football interior players are the linemen; strong, valuable, appreciated by those who understand how tough it is to play, and yet not a “skilled” position. Also, it is where games are won or lost. Perhaps it’s that interior players usually are so tall that most of the fans cannot relate to them and over simplify the position, or that a perimeter player has the ball more and therefor draws more attention. I believe that is a factor in the demise of the “bigs”.
Another factor that I feel contributes are coaches. There is a need to teach the position and utilize post players in games situations. Too often when I watch games, players don’t know how to make a post pass or don’t know that post can be used in a variety of ways against both man and zone defenses. I will also say that not all interior players are worthy of being the center focus of a team which leads me to what Upside can do to help.
How Upside can help:
Upside Athletics guarantees that any interior player WILL make measurable improvement within 5 workouts with us! How we can do that is by focusing on skill sets that are proven to work with any skill level and expanding out from there. The biggest one that we start with is footwork and finishing with both hands. Far too often I see players force their dominate hand when they are wide open if they just spin/drop step to their off hand. Hook shots are effective at any level!
From there we build the following skill sets that are going to work:
- Fighting for and holding position
- Facing up defenders to attack
- Passing (seems simple but interior passing is tricky)
- Defeating double teams
- Setting and reading pick-and-rolls/pops
- Transition scoring
- Rebounding, rebounding, rebounding
- Agility and quickness
- Strong back-to-the-basket moves
- Hitting open jump shots from midrange and 3’s
- And many more
Upside Athletics will develop Posts with a set of strong fundamentals and a 21st century approach to the position that will prove to be a force at any level.