There are many parts to a basketball court, and they all have specific names. Keeping them straight is not easy when you don’t have any context, but with a little background information it’s simple to learn what everything is called and how it operates. That includes the post.

The post is one of the most important parts of a basketball court. This guide breaks down what it is, why it’s so critical, and the different ways players can make use of it during a game.

What is the Post?

When someone says “the post” in reference to basketball, they’re either talking about a play style or a specific place on the court. 

The post itself is an area of the basketball court from the free throw line to the base line. It’s usually one color and also referred to as “the key.”

Most of the time, people talk about the post in relation to the bottom of the key down by the basket. The area up by the free throw line counts as the post as well.

In terms of play style, someone is referred to as a “post player” if they do most of their scoring from either of those positions. That’s typically big men, such as power forwards and centers, who play with their back to the basket. Though, some guards can play that way as well.

Anyone who backs down their defender and then tries to score with shifty “post moves” like hook shots, up-and-unders, or strong pushes is considered a post player. The bigger you are, the easier such moves are to do.

Low vs High Post

As mentioned, there are two parts of the post. There’s the bottom of the key (the low post) and the area up by the free throw line (high post). If a player stands or primarily scores from either one, they are a post player. However, the way they play differs depending on position.

Low post players sit down on the black thick rectangle (called the block) down by the basket. That closeness to the hoop enables them to use their size and power as an advantage by literally pushing their defender out of the way. It’s all about leverage.

On the other hand, high post players position themselves up at the corner of the free throw line. When they get the ball, they have two options. They can attack the basket and try to drive in for a score, or they can survey the court and try to pass to an open man.

That is the key difference between the two post positions. High post players look to pass as much as they look to shoot, while low post players have a score first mentality. 

How the Post is Used

In today’s basketball, outside scoring has become incredibly important. Even so, the post still plays a critical role in defining the game. It enables teams to work the ball to different parts of the court, allows more spacing, and creates unique situations that lead to easy baskets.

Being able to sit down on the low block does not favor the five spread offenses that have appeared as of late, but having a strong post player who knows how and when to pass is a blessing that creates an entirely new type of offense.

Final Words

The post is certainly not as popular as it once was, and neither are post players. Still, it’s a critical part of basketball that shouldn’t be overlooked. Having a smart big man who knows when to go back to the hoop and when to pass it is invaluable in basketball.

Looking at how to use the post can vastly improve your game. Understanding what it means also enables you to enjoy the sport overall.