Simple Ways to Prepare For the Post-Double-Team

It’s disconcerting to watch a game in which a team’s good post player gets double-teamed and that player and his teammates act like it’s the first time it has ever happened.  Obviously, it shouldn’t be the first time because that really should have been anticipated and adequately been covered in practice prior to encountering it in a game.

Let’s discuss some thoughts that one might use in preparation for the post double:

  • The double can come the front from the passer’s defender.
  • It can come from behind from anyone’s defender-usually another post defender.
  • It can come from a “designated” defender who leaves a poor shooter or “worst” offensive player regardless of where he might be on the floor.
  • It can come immediately or only if/when the post puts the ball on the floor.
  • A good teaching concept for your players is to describe the post double as a “backwards press” or “backwards zone”.  The implication to them should simply be, “If we beat the double, we’re playing 4 on 3 or even 5 on 3 on the backside.”
  • No matter where or when the double occurs, a logical way to view the double is the same way you view any kind of double on a perimeter dribbler or a catch by a perimeter player facing the basket.  A double-team is a double-team.
  • So, you can teach beating the post double the same way you teach beating the perimeter double.
  • That might include having the double-teamed post protect the basketball aggressively in an athletic stance and attempting to square to the basket as best as possible.  If the post being doubled is casual or standing straight, he is especially vulnerable
  • Anticipating the double and kicking the ball back out before the double arrives is probably the safest solution but might not make the defense “pay” for the strategy.
  • Having “sideline, middle and reverse” options just like one has on any “press” offense is an easy concept for players to understand and creates a sort of a “backwards press offense” or “backwards zone offense”.
  • If the double team is set and effective, “taking the double low” and then passing over it can be very effective.
  • If the double defender is a “big”, the offensive player he leaves is often open.
  • Skip passes are particularly effective against the post double.
  • The best way to beat any double is off the bounce but it is the most dangerous-especially for post players who are blind doubled.
  • Since the double essentially creates a “zone” look, getting the ball into the high post area can be very destructive to the maneuver.  
  • Walking through your strategy and showing your players in slow-motion your thoughts can be very useful.
  • Once you go “live” and everyone knows the plan, adding a 6th defender can add a degree of difficulty for the offense.

Whatever methods one teaches to combat the post double is clearly secondary to having an actual plan and practicing it so that players feel prepared and confident when they are confronted by the tactic.  This way, the confidence level can be high whether or not it showed up in that game’s scouting report.


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