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The Post Defense - Cushion

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

How did Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen and multiple great defenders hold their own in the post against much bigger and stronger defenders? They used the Post Cushion.


When playing post defense, it's crucial to have strategies and techniques to withstand the powerful hits and prevent easy baskets. In this blog post, we'll explore the technique known as the "Post Cushion" and how it empowers defenders to hold their ground and slow down even the most determined post players.


post defense cushion

The Purpose of the Cushion:


When facing an overpowering post player, maintaining a small distance between the defender and the offensive player becomes essential. This may seem contradictory to the concept of smothering, but since the post player is still facing away from the basket, their power and strength remain their main weapons. The cushion technique allows the defender to absorb the initial impact and control ground.


Creating Off-Balance Post Players:


By providing a slight cushion between the defender and the post player, the defender forces the offensive player to cover that distance before making contact. If the post player over-reaches in an attempt to create contact, they become off balance. This creates an opportunity for the defender to counter and disrupt their force, even when overmatched.

post defense leverage

Leveraging the Triangle Angle:


To effectively absorb a hit from a post player, the defender must position themselves at an angle towards the offensive player. Leaning on the post player at this angle adds distance between the feet of the defender and offensive player - making sealing footwork more difficult. The defender also needs to stay active on their feet, maintain a wide base, and drive the force of the impact into their base. This allows them to maintain leverage and counter the post player's actions. Similar to an offensive or defensive lineman in football.


This defender looses his angle and instead uses his hips. Thus exposing his feet to drop steps and killing his leverage.

bad post defense

The Importance of "Chest It":


Taking post contact appropriately requires the defender to understand the distinction between the upper and lower body. When executing the "Chest It" principle correctly, the defender absorbs the contact with their upper body, while their feet maintain the same cushion as before the contact. It's crucial to avoid taking contact with the hips, as this compromises the defender's leverage and exposes them to drop steps and leg whips.

physical post defense with chest

bad post defense

In the realm of post defense, the Post Cushion technique provides defenders with a valuable tool to slow down and challenge overpowering post players. By maintaining a calculated distance, leveraging the triangle angle, and executing proper contact techniques, defenders can withstand the force and disrupt the offensive player's game. Incorporating the Post Cushion into defensive strategies helps level the playing field, giving defenders a chance to overcome mismatches and wear down their opponents over time.


Want to learn more - check out the full YouTube video series on Becoming a Lockdown Post defender: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xe8yOr5nhe0


lockdown defense


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