defend in the low post

How to Defend in the Low Post in Basketball (Top 3 Ways)

Are bigger players bullying you in the post? Are you annoyed with it? Well, here are 3 of the best ways to defend in the low post in basketball.

Don’t you hate it when a bigger player (whether taller or bulkier) assumes that they can take advantage of you in the low post because you’re slightly smaller?

I do. I remember this one time when I was in college and I was playing four vs. four after classes.

My team had me guard this guy that was bulkier than me. He wasn’t as skilled as me, but he was definitely stronger than I was.

Anyhow, since he wasn’t a good shooter or ball-handler, he relied on his post-game.

He kept pushing me down into the low-post, where he got into position to receive open passes. Then he would back me down for close shots.

Initially, I didn’t know how to stop him.

It wasn’t until he got a couple of easy baskets on me that my teammates, at a dead ball, showed me what to do to prevent him from, basically, cherry-picking.

How to Defend the Low Post

Denying Passes

They told me to not allow him to get into the low post. But if I couldn’t, then I had to fight him for position down low and try to get in front of him.

Then when I achieved this, I had to stay there and try to prevent him from getting passes. I essentially had to be in between him and the ball handler in the post.

(Here’s an example of what they told me to do)


I did as they said and it worked. It was hard since he was stronger than me, but I was grittier than him, so I succeeded.

If I remember correctly, I don’t think he received another pass in the lost post that game. But I am biased here.

So, if you’re a smaller player, the best way to guard a bigger player in the post is to fight to get in front and to do everything you can to deny the entry pass.

You also have to have more heart and determination, too (or else your opponent will use their brute strength and size to push you around and tire you out).

This is how many smaller players in the NBA defend down low.

Guys like Kyle Lowry, P.J. Tucker, Draymond Green, Robert Covington, and Patrick Beverley all do it. They just fought with all their might to deny the pass (or at least to make it as difficult as possible to go through).

Defending Low-Post Shots

However, sometimes the pass does go through. So what can you do here?

Well, you have to make it difficult for the post-player to back you down and to score. You have to get low, dig your forearm into their back, and, most importantly, be active and react accordingly.

This is crucial because some players will have loads of post moves and will juke you if you don’t react and change positions to defend them.

Here’s how to do it:

Key Notes:

  • Keep post-player out of the key via nudges
  • Make it difficult for them to back you down by getting low and keeping your forearm stiff
  • When they go up for a shot, stand straight up and extend your arms up as high as possible to make it difficult for them to get a clean shot

Calling for Help

Another tip I want to share is that it’s okay to call for help. If you are overwhelmed by a post player’s size, strength, or skill, just call for a teammate to come to help you defend.

There’s nothing wrong with asking for assistance. Basketball is a team sport, after all. So, all team members should be aiding each other.

I used to do it all the time (although I mainly called for help on the perimeter because some players are just way too quick!).

Drills To Improve Low Post Defence

If you’re looking for a drill to practice low-post defence, there really aren’t any that I know of or did.

However, I personally think the best way to master it is to be put in that position and to defend by using the methods I shared.

Thus, if you want to drill it, play one-on-one games, but only in the post. This will allow you to learn the fundamentals of post-defence in a real game.

Additionally, getting stronger won’t hurt either. I suggest you start doing strengthening your shoulders and lower body to increase your “post D” resistance.

Final Thoughts

Post defence is an important fundamental skill that all players should know.

It doesn’t matter how tall you are or what position you play. You will get put into the low-post at least a couple of times a game.

So, you need to know how to defend down there or else you’ll get taken advantage of.