What is the Post in Basketball? (High & Low Post)

Like in most sports, there are different positions that are played by various players.

In basketball, the term post refers to both a certain area and the players in it. So, what exactly is the post?

The post is the region on a court from the free-throw line to the baseline. The key or solid paint color characterizes the area. It provides two positions for players, either close to the basket (low post) or below the free-throw line (high or upper post).

What is the Post in Basketball?

From “posting up,” the direct association of others regarding the post with the term commonly known and easily seen through the eyes —an area in the basketball court, the post plays a significant role in the game.

More often than not, the region is very crowded. Apart from that, it is in this area that most mistakes take place.

Identifying the defense mechanisms and switching of positions, as well as their statistics, can easily be traced by basketball coaches due to the designated post. Often, the success of the team’s performance can be based on the skills of the player.

It is usually regarded as one of the most challenging positions to play on a court since it is where players on offense receive the highest amount of contact from the defenders.

Two Types of Post (High and Low)

There are two types of posts, which for some would mainly refer to the post as the area where most of the defense and offense of the player playing forward is painted.

Most of the time, what can be glimpsed over is the player’s position in an attempt to field a goal. Even in the position where a player’s offense is prioritized, the post is worthy of being strategized, followed, or recognized.

Some players are better at shooting for three points, passing balls, or screening. But, there are still players who prefer playing underneath the basket, fitting for blocking shots.

Playing within the free-throw line is in the high post. Far from the basket, the high post cannot guarantee a specific field goal or ensure the play can affect the scoring or leads.

While those who are playing within the baseline, underneath the basket, seeking offense, are in the low post. Players near the basket are primarily responsible for additional scoring since direct shooting can be conveniently done. 

What Positions Play in the Post?

The position of the post is usually played by the center or power forward. Either high or low posting will occur. Near the basket, all necessary movements such as short jumpers, rebounding, and screening is the players’ primary responsibilities in power forward position. 

To streamline what is to come next, it is not an undisputed fact that post is essential in every basketball game. The player’s movements significantly impact who has a favorable position that can win throughout the game with effort and teamwork.

With the post, opportunities to increase the score are feasible. For example, it can block an offense to field a goal or even use opportunities to use their positioning to their advantage. Agility and speed of the post players matter.

When a post player can use his position to his advantage, which could be in the form of drawing fouls or any other beneficial defense strategies, this becomes an asset that carries through the team’s victory. 

Even coaches would sometimes refer to the post as a lane where free throws and most contributions of defensive techniques take place. Other sports analyses would also account for it by “posting it up,” which would mean gearing the game up. 

Why is it Called the Post in Basketball?

The word post came from the American slang phrase, posting-up, which means to own or possess an area, to make an area your own. Whenever people got to a court, the ones who were meant to play in defense were usually asked by their teammates to ‘post up’ to help prevent the opponent from making a score.

The same also applied to players on offense when they wanted to make the opponents’ area their own. Away from basketball, individuals on a road trip or similar would ‘post up’ tents when nightfall came, meaning they would erect the tents and make the area their own.

What are the Most Popular Post Moves in Basketball?

The nature of play and moves vary when in the high post and the low post. For basketball players, there are different post moves they can do on the court during the game. The following are:

1. Quick spin

After a pass is being received from another player, a quick spin after a close guard by the team defending, a quick spin can hit the defender’s guarding techniques shocking him of his agility to either take a shot, dribble or pass the ball to the other teammates. 

2. Drop Step

This includes executing the drop step using the outside leg before dribbling once or twice. This takes place in the middle lane. 

3. Fadeaway

Faking a turn-away movement through a fake attempt to either dribble or shot is considered a traditional post move that is proven effective. It is challenging because estimation and luring movement must appear as a bait that the player defending has to keep up.

4. Dream Shake

Stepping back and faking in shoot attempts, here the defender would assume that you shoot, although what the player has been doing is the other way around from receiving a pass in the low to doing a wide stance. 

5. Jump Hook

A mini hook is put up against the defender. By the opposite arm, the motion must be started with two hands and then released with one hand.

6. Jump Shot

From faking moves and passing, the player takes a step. This will distract the other player, an opportunity to jump and take a shot. 

Among these moves, fadeaway and jump shots are commonly executed by the players. Yet, this does not alter that these post-up moves have proven to help score.

How to Post Up in Basketball (6 Effective Tips)

Players are constantly running from one baseline to the other, whether they come into contact with the ball. It involves a lot of physicalities, and fitness is paramount.

There have been plenty of practical tips or advice on how to post up in basketball:

Be mindful of your knee strength

Speed and agility are the most critical factors in taking steps. Without these, a player cannot move and do a post-up successfully. Knee strength can drive quick spins and take steps.

To be mindful, this means from preparation for improvement purposes, and even up until while in the game, should the player feel that his knees have weakened, it will result in a poor post-up move.

Opponent Awareness

Knowing what the defending or offensive player you are up to can help you assess strengths and weaknesses. Through this, being aware helps timing, when, and precisely what kind of move can distract the player and help you score.

Mix Moves, Prevent Violations

The more post-up moves are combined, the more the other player will get confused about the unpredictability of your next movement.

With this, it is essential to be reminded of the violative movements so that the attempt to shoot through mixed moves will contribute to additional team scoring.

Gesture Communication

Teamwork and coordination will always be two of the many ingredients that will lead to the team’s victory. Communication without the team, even non-verbal, through eye contact and shoulder gestures can help the other player initiate or make post-up moves.

Favorable or Good Stance

A player’s position of his capacity to make appropriate moves. This refers to low bent knees, with a ready position to take steps and do necessary actions for shooting or passing. 

Optimist Mentality

This allows the player to plan how to position himself when extreme contact with another player takes place. Having a positive mindset can help a player to continue and mentally strategize his next moves so as not to get fouled or any other violations. 

Is the Post Important in Basketball?

The post is quite significant for teams, both in defense and offense. Securing the low post is crucial for a team on offense since most shots, dunks, hook shots, and lay-ups originate from this area.

On the other hand, it is also vital for a player on defense because the individuals defending around the post region are mandated to block shots, box out individuals, and become physical without fouling.

Some basketball coaches even believe that games are determined in the low post. That is where a team can win or lose the game. The high post is equally as important.

This area is well known for making mid-range jump shots. Thus, most coaches pay a lot of attention to practicing in this area. Defenders, especially the big men, use this area to lure opponents away from the ‘danger zone’ or the basket.

It is also proven that a well-defended high post can frustrate the opposing team, limiting what they can do while on offense.

12 Greatest Post Players in NBA History

The post position has seen some of the best players in the history of basketball play there. Some have excelled when defending, while others have mastered the art of offense in this region.

Also, some were great around the high post, while the others made the low post their own. Below is a list of the best 12 players who have ever played the post position. Due to the wideness of the post position, this list had many nominees, but the best of the bunch were chosen.

NamePoints per game (PPG)
1. Hakeem Olajuwon21.8
2. Shaquille O’Neal23.7
3. Wilt Chamberlain30.1
4. Bill Russell15.1
5. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar24.6
6. Tim Duncan20.6
7. Karl Malone25.0
8. Bob Pettit26.4
9. Dwight Howard18.2
10. George Mikan23.1
11. Kevin Garnett19.5
12. David Robinson21.1


The post position is usually regarded as one of the most gruesome positions to play on a court. Using the post area is greatly important whether you are a newbie or a professional.

The thing about post-up is it is an opportunity to score. In basketball, its moves must be mastered with a thorough and keen understanding of when and why a post-up is necessary. 

Read these next:

Leave a Comment