Fronting the Post & Needed Adjustments
Updated: Oct 10, 2022
Fronting the Post seems to be a growing trend the more coaches I’ve talked to in preparation for the upcoming season. In this article the hope is not only to discuss the technique of fronting the post but also some adjustments coaches can have when using this coverage.
A front is basically when a defensive player gains position between the ball and the low post player. For this position, the defender has two options: butt front or face front.
The ‘butt-front’ forces the defender to get low and drive their butt into the thigh(s) of the opponent. The more the post player is driven to the basket, the smaller the window becomes for an over- the-top entry pass
The ‘face-front’ allows the defender a greater ability to deflect passes but sacrifices a position of force and leverage. In this way the defender can better keep his/her hands active and attempt to swat at passes due to the limited lower body engagement or pinning. However, the ref may also play a role in their leniency for this contact.
Either way, both are extremely aggressive positions used to deny the ball from getting into the post. The post defender is also reliant on the effectiveness of his/her team’s defense and awareness to help combat over-top passes and high-low seals.
The first step in the team scheme is to help from the weak side to prevent and discourage an over the top post pass. Coaches have come up with creative names for this concept such as sandwich, clamp, etc.
Of course we must understand the weaknesses of the front position from a scheme perspective and the defensive counters we may need to employ. The first basic offensive reaction is to flash from opposite and look at the high low. The low defender should understand that an overreaction in this situation will result in a layup for the high-low look. Instead the defender needs to play 2 and by the fronting defender time to recover his position.
If the offense begins to flash more offensive threats than our option to not overreact does not look as attractive. Instead we may need a defensive adjustment - the Flash Switch. This occurs when the fronting player switches onto the flashing player, allowing the low defender to switch onto the post.
The last weakness of this coverage can occur on dribble penetration and whether you want your first line of help to be the fronting player or the weakside player. Or perhaps you want to use a more unique concept of the Front-Peel Switch.
No matter the adjustment or the scheme, the concepts of physicality and position are the starting point for handling a post mismatch. Sometimes, these techniques (including The Post Jam) are all a defensive player needs to frustrate and disrupt an offensive post player. There are other times however when much more is needed to stop a dominate inside mismatch.
See you next time.