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The Jam - Post Defense Part 1

Updated: Oct 10, 2022

This post does not focus on classic post defense. Instead, it focuses on how a defender can combat a mismatch post up or difficult power assignment. This is especially important for players who can lock down an opponent on the perimeter but now have been taken down into the post for some bully-ball.

The old saying applies here, “do your work early.” No defender should wait until the offensive player reaches their spot to start the battle for position. For a smaller or weaker defender, this early combat is imperative for their chances of success and I call it The Jam.

It is important to note that when starting to explain any type of post defense, players need to understand the importance of physicality and the purpose of it.

The Jam is the technique of making contact with an offensive player to impede their movement. The angle of this contact plays a huge role in its effectiveness. The proper technique should come from a low to high angle. In this way the jam not only creates contact but stands the stronger/taller player more straight up, giving the leverage and strength to the defender.

This is not uncommon to the sport of football where lineman come off the line of scrimmage attempting to jam and leverage their counter parts. In basketball however, players don’t anticipate this physicality. In fact, the further a defender starts to initiate the jam and their battle for position, sometimes even as high as the 3pt line, the greater their chances are to prevent the offensive player from getting deep positioning.

If the offensive player is determined to get to their spot, it is surely an annoying and frustrating battle. Typically, most offensive players cease this battle early and receive the ball in the mid-post area. This is a win for the defender. When the stronger/taller player attempts to attack from the mid-post area, while largely using a face-up series, they allow the defender to use more of their perimeter skillsets to counter: on-ball pressure, active hands, and superior quickness.

You must also remind your players of the purpose of this physicality and not just the importance of it. If you do not remind them of the war, they might lose their head in the battle: getting overly chippy, picking up fouls, and getting into technical drawing jawing matches. Defenders must anticipate some type of retaliation if they are going to play a physical game. The purpose however is to win the war and neutralize the opponent.

In this way the defender understands that any annoyance or frustration must be in use against the offensive player. A defender that keeps their cool while making it hard for their opponent gets the opportunity to gain the support of the official. There should be no shame in using the temper of an opponent to draw offensive fouls and technicals. It only further increases the advantage that the defense gains.

Let’s face it. If a defender wants to compete with inferior size and strength, there must be an element of dirtiness. The savvy defender understands the purpose of any dirtiness is to gain an advantage and win the game; not to lose themselves in a battle of ego.

See you next time!

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