Monday, September 1, 2008

It All Comes Down To "Posting Up"

Photo: PSYHUB on Flickr

Basketball is one of my great loves in life. Being that I had already reached almost 5'9" at 10 years old, I often found myself playing under the hoop "in the paint." At that age, I was taller than all the other girls, so it was pretty easy for me to tip the ball in off the backboard from that spot, or shoot over top of any opponent, from anywhere on the floor- even if she had her arms stretched out to defend me. I had a good shot, a soft wrist and had perfected my follow through with hours of practice, so I rarely missed. Then, when I started playing at summer camps and in high school against older, taller girls, all of a sudden 5'9" was on the short side to be playing in that position. I found myself playing against girls that were upwards of 6'3" down there, so shooting over their heads and hands (no matter how incredible the ark on my shot was) usually was an impossibility.

One of my biggest short comings at that point as a ball player was that I had a tendency to not be aggressive enough. I just wasn't mean enough. I was easily intimidated by the big girls who got in my face. If a girl played me close, bumped me or pushed me a little, I would back right off. That is, until I learned about "posting up." This term is hoopster language for the little one-on-one battles that I had kept avoiding. Then I started to get advice about staying firm and wanting it bad enough, and going straight up or going up strong, and even mixing it up with the big girls.

To "post up" is to establish a position in the low post, the area near the basket below the foul line, usually in order to take advantage of a defender. The offensive player usually faces away from the basket, so that his body can protect the ball from the defender. From this position, options such as spinning or backing down the defender to close in to the basket for better scoring opportunities become available to him. [source]

Here's what I learned about "posting up": first you have to find out where you are. Establish some territory. Take up some space. Back your butt into the other girl. See how much room she'll give you. Once you know where she is and how much she'll take, then you're ready. The first rule in "posting up" is wanting it. Even if your hands are up for the ball, no guard is going to pass it to you unless your face says that you want it. The second rule is not thinking too much. Get ready and go. The longer you wait, the more likely it will be taken away.

To this day, "posting up" is a concept that my Dad and I use as a metaphor when it's time to take it up a notch in life. "Come on Jen, you just have to post up." I can hear my Dad saying those words right now. Much like those big girls trying to push me around and throw me off my game down low, life is filled with obstacles and challenges. Instead of getting discouraged, putting my head down and trying to blend in along the sidelines (which is often what seems natural to me if I start getting down on myself), I need to instead get into position, be tenacious, and figure out a way to put that ball in the damn hole-or reach whatever goal is at hand.

I'm at a point in my life right now, where the importance of "posting up" has become abundantly clear once again. I want it, so I have to fight for it and make it happen.


Keira-Anne said...

I liked reading this very much.

Alexa said...

This is a great piece of writing.

Melissa said...

first of all - you were such an awesome b-ball player! i remember you girls were ALWAYS in the gym committed!

i love that you're using this as a metaphor...great post!

Miss 604 said...

Ya know we probably played each other if you went to WG and I was at QE hehe.

Phaedra said...

very well said Jen. You got it in ya go for it!

Leah said...

true that jenni. great post... one word, lots of meanings :)