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The Post Defense - Cushion

Updated: Oct 10, 2022

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

Like we discussed all week, hopefully the defender does their work early enough to frustrated, jam and force post catches outside the low post. There are times however when a determined post player gets an adequate position with the ball or times when a player forgoes their face-up game on a long catch and instead goes straight to a backdown game. In these situations, the defender needs to withstand their powerful hits. The ‘Cushion’ technique gives an overmatched defender a chance to do so.

Here, the defender gives a small distance between themselves and the post player. Although this may sound contradictory, we must remember the post player is still facing away from the basket, so their power and strength remains the driving force.

This small cushion allows the defender to take the first pound; since the post player must first cover the cushion distance to create any contact. If the post player over-reaches to create contact, they are now off balance. In turn, the space allows the defender to jam back at the tail end of their force.

It is important to note that to take a hit from a post player, or withstand any force, the best leverage occurs at an angle towards the offensive player. Driving back at an upward angle, hopefully standing the post player up and seizing leverage to the defender.

Whereas if the defender immediately tries to body up with the post player - it instead becomes a straight game of strength, and in our senior, that is a death sentence. And we don't want to see our defenders in these players...

With the cushion, the defensive player takes the contact appropriately and has a chance to battle back on balance.

See you next week!

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