Here are some tips on how to use big men effectively in today’s game

Last week, I stated why the back-to-the-basket post men are becoming extinct. When I criticize something, I like to give some solutions.

The first thing a post player needs to develop is a good power layup, without any fake moves.

Second, explain the three-second rule to the post player. Once he has the ball in the free-throw lane and three seconds has not been called, then he has additional time to attempt a shot by dribbling toward or moving toward the hoop. If he dribbles or passes out of the free-throw lane then it is an automatic three-second call.

Third, a post player needs to develop individual skills to get the ball:

1. Soft hands

2. Learn how to seal a defender who is playing on either side, in front or in back of the player.

3. Develop hand position of where to get the ball on the entry pass.

4. Have a signal for when the post player wants the ball.

5. Teach the post player how to get position when he is being fronted, without getting called for a foul.

6. If he is being denied the ball, then have a ball-fake signal in place to get him free.

7. A signal is needed for the player trying to pass the ball to the post player to clear out the low block area or to screen a perimeter player.

After receiving the ball the post player must now develop footwork skills.

Then he must be taught how to rebound on the offensive end and get in the best position based on where his teammates are shooting.

Once the post player has developed all of these basic skills then the coach must use an offense that makes it hard for the defense to double team. The toughest place on the floor to defend is the low-block spot as the player with the ball knows when he is going to leave their feet to start the power layup and can draw fouls. The post player also has to learn how to find the open man when he is double-teamed.

After giving the post player the skills he needs, it is important to put in a system that emphasizes the proper floor spacing of the players. The defense needs to pay a big price for double-teaming.

When I coached post player Ken Rassi at John Bapst, we developed an offensive strategy that made teams pay a huge price when he was double and sometimes tripled teamed before he got the ball or when the entry pass was in the air to him or after he received the entry pass.

He was excellent at finding the open man. If the open player was a good perimeter shooter, he would quickly get the ball to him. If not, then Rassi would signal the open player to cut to the opposite block for an easy layup.

If Rassi wasn’t double teamed, then it was an automatic two-pointer or two foul shots.

After we put in the offensive setup, we called the formation “Rassi,” then we installed the “Rassi Rule,” which meant he had to touch the ball once before we took a shot unless it was a layup.

When he graduated after dominating the low block for two seasons, we still used the same Rassi offense and Rassi Rule for our other post players.

It worked well for 12 seasons. I just wish I had a quarter for each time I yelled “run Rassi” to our team during that time.

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