What Does A Center Do In Basketball?

What Does A Center Do In Basketball

A center may be the most difficult position to play because centers are the pillar of every basketball team. Centers have many roles that should be accomplished inside the court, if the center fails to do his role the team may fail to win.

Centers are required to be tall enough so that they can easily rebound the ball, shoot the ball inside and block every opponent’s shots. Almost every center in basketball is versatile in shooting the ball inside, but because the game evolved so much, most centers can shoot outside the arc consistently in today’s basketball era. 

Even though centers can shoot threes right now, what are their main roles and responsibilities? What do centers do inside the basketball court? Why are they important? Today, we are going to break down every role and responsibility of centers. Let’s dive right into it!

Role Of Center In Basketball


Centers are so tall that they can easily touch the rim without jumping. One main role of the center is to keep an eye on the ball and see where it will bounce when it is released by the offensive player. Centers need to make sure that the ball is safe in their hands once they rebounded the ball 

There are two types of rebound, one is offensive rebound and two is the defensive rebound. Offensive rebound is a rebound acquired by the offensive team after a missed attempt shot. Getting an offensive rebound gives the offensive team another opportunity to score. It is either the center who grabs the offensive rebound shoots the ball right away after grabbing the ball or they reset their offense. A defensive rebound on the other hand is a rebound acquired by the defensive team in which they gain possession.

Either it is an offensive rebound or defensive rebound, the center’s responsibility is to rebound that ball to give his team possession. Rebounds are the vital key in winning the ball game, and centers should practice more to make their rebounding unstoppable.

Guard The Paint

Centers are so tall that they can easily block the opponent’s shot, whether it is outside or inside shot. But the main defensive position of a center is inside the paint and there are three reasons why centers are required to be inside the paint during defensive possession:

  1. Centers should defend the opponent’s center because it will be a mismatch if a smaller guy is guarding the opponent’s center. If a mismatch happened the opponents center can easily score inside the paint
  2. Centers are so tall and they can easily block every shot attempted by the opposing team. They can easily block a floater shot, layup, dunk, or a post upshot.
  3. If the offensive team missed a shot, the defensive center can easily grab the rebound and take the offensive possession. 

Jump Ball 

A jump ball is a process made by referees to decide what team will be the first to have the offensive possession. A jump ball is used at the beginning of the game, and when both players touch the ball at the same time. The referee tosses the ball between the two opponents and the two players will try to tap it to a teammate. 

At the start of the ball game, the centers of each team are required to be in the middle for a jump ball. It is a tradition of basketball that at the start of the game the starter centers of each team should be the players who will duel in the jump ball. 

Sometimes it is not only centers who are performing the jump ball, it may be the point guard, shooting guard, or small forwards. This can only happen if the offensive and defensive player is touching the ball at the same time when battling for the ball. 

Give Screen To Teammates

The screen is an offensive play in which a player sets a screen for a teammate handling the ball. Centers are the usual players who perform screens because of their broad bodies that can block the defensive player from moving. 

Screens are used if the point guard is struggling to pass by its defender and it is also used so that the player who handles the ball can score easily. The player handling the ball and the center used a strategy called pick and roll to score efficiently. Pick and roll is an offensive play where the center provides a screen for the ball handler and then moves forward to the basket to receive a pass. 

Scorer Inside The Paint

Centers can score in the paint without any hassle. Point guards will pass the ball on their centers that are inside the paint, and centers can execute different kinds of plays like post up jump shot, post up a floater or just dunk it into the ring. 

Some centers can score outside the rainbow arc, and as the game evolves many centers are growing and being capable of shooting threes. But the common shot a center will execute is inside the paint shot because they are tall and it is easy for them to toss the ball in the rim.

3 Center Workout Drills 

Rebounding Drill

How It Works

This drill should be performed by two players, one player who will shoot the ball and one center that will rebound the ball. This drill is really simple and basic that a nursery student can easily understand. The other player will shoot the ball anywhere outside the three-point line and miss it intentionally. The Center will be inside the paint. After the ball is released the center will wait for the ball to touch the rim, when the ball bounces the center should follow and successfully rebound the ball anywhere it goes.


This drill will improve the center’s concentration on the ball. This will also improve the center’s rebounding skill. 


  1. This drill requires two players, one player will shoot the ball and the other will rebound the ball
  2. The Center should be inside the paint under the net of the rim
  3. The other player will be outside the three-point line
  4. The offensive player will shoot the ball in the rim and intentionally miss it
  5. When the ball is released and hit the rim, centers should follow and successfully rebound the ball
  6. This should be performed 30 times
  7. The center will count how many missed rebounds he has and converts it into push-ups

1-on-1 Post Up Drill

How It Works

This drill should be performed by three players, the passer, one offensive player, and one defensive player. The offensive player will post up and wait for the passer to pass the ball to him. Once the ball reaches the palm of the offensive player, the game will start. The defensive player will heavily guard the offensive player. The offensive player will try to score within five seconds. If the offensive player missed the shot or exceeded the five seconds mark, the passer will replace him. If the offensive player sinks the shot, the passer will replace the defender and the offensive player will stay as an offensive player. 


This drill will help the centers to think fast, this will also develop the center’s offensive post up skill. This will also help the center’s post defense to improve.


  1. This drill will be performed by three players, the passer, the offensive player, and the defensive player
  2. The passer will pass the ball to the offensive player while posting up
  3. Once the ball touches the palm of the offensive player, the countdown starts
  4. The offensive player should be able to shoot the ball within five seconds
  5. If the offensive player fails to sink in the ball, the passer will replace the offensive player
  6. If the offensive player sinks the shot, the passer will replace the defender 
  7. The first who sink in ten shots is the winner

Two Blocks Drill

How It Works

This drill will be performed by three players, two offensive players lining up outside the wing, and one defensive player who is in the middle of the free-throw line. The coach passes the ball to the first offensive play. The offensive player will drive directly into the basket without any fake and dribble just one step to the hole. The defensive player steps up to make a block. He tries to get the ball with one step and maintain balance.


The two blocks drill will enhance the center’s blocking skill. This will also help the center to improve his balance.


  1. There will be three players performing this drill
  2. The two offensive players will be a line up outside the wing 
  3. The defensive player will be in the middle of the three-point line
  4. The coach will pass the ball to the first offensive player
  5. When the ball is caught the offensive player will drive thru the basket without any fakes and dribbles
  6. The defensive player will try to block the offensive player’s shot
  7. After the first offensive play, the coach will pass the ball to the other offensive player
  8. The routine will just repeat
  9. The two offensive players should have at least ten attempts each 


Center’s is the most important position in basketball when it comes to defense. They are the most adept players when it comes to rebounding, shot-blocking, and post scoring. Every basketball position is important and one cannot stand on its own.

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