Read these 30 Defense Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Basketball tips and hundreds of other topics.
Never allow an opponent to shoot the ball uncontested. The problem, however, with players attempting to block shots is the tendency to commit fouls. Therefore, the proper way to contest a shot is to stay on your feet facing the shooter until the shooter leaves his or her feet, then attempt to get your hand on top of the basketball. At the very least, get a hand up so it limits his vision of the basket or he has to shoot over you. While you may not block the shot, you will put the shooter under a maximum amount of pressure.
When guarding the dribbler, watch his midsection(waist). He can't go anywhere without it, and you won't fall for foot fakes or ball fakes.
Set up in your defensive stance. Your left foot is forward one foot away from the offense. Now, place your left foot one foot to the left of the offense. If the offense goes to the right, they will bump into you. If the offense goes to the left, their progress will not be stopped. This is the force left position. The force right position places the right foot forward, one foot to the right of the defense. This is the direction that you want to force left-handed players.
One of the most important defensive concepts is the theory of keeping your body between your man and the basket. Your defensive positioning should always be between the rim and the man you are guarding. Be within an arms reach of your man, so you can put pressure on the ball. Focus on his belly button...where it goes, he will go. You can be faked out by his eyes, head and shoulder fakes, but not his mid-section. Try to make him go where he doesn´t want to go. The more times you turn him, the better defense you are playing.
On Defense always be able to see your man and the ball (this is when your man doesn't have the ball). When your man is 1 pass away, you can deny the player from getting the ball. You must be in a defensive triangle position with you, the ball and your man. Flatten out the triangle, with you at the center point of the triangle. Try to get a hand in the passing lane(straight line between the ball and your man). Position your head so that you can see both with your peripheral vision. Then slide up and back with your man, keeping that triangle position.
The proper defensive stance is necessary in order to play good defense. On the ball, feet should be shoulder width apart, with the knees bent, and your butt down and your back straight. Your hands should be outside your knees with the palms up. You should be low(your nose to your man's chest) in "nose-chest" position. When you are low, you can change directions more quickly, which is a key for playing great defense.
Whenever the ball penetrates on a pass or a dribble, all players should cover down to the level of the ball and force it back out. When the ball is dribbled toward the baseline, the nearest help side defender must quickly stop the ball before it reaches the lane. If the ball is passed to the post, we keep him from dribbling by quickly covering down. When the ball is passed back out, all players recover to their man. USE THE CLOSEST MAN TO THE BALL RULE ON RECOVERY.
If a defender is posting you up (having his back to the basket looking for the ball)try to get in front and deny him the ball. If you can´t, get a good wide base and don´t let him back you in any deeper. Any contact with his elbows on your chest should be a foul on him.
The offense should be able to move back and forth and left and right. The distance between the offense and the defense is three yards. The drill lasts for 30 seconds with the offense switching to defense at the end of 30 seconds. Now, have the offense line up head to head with the defense. The offense moves side to side only. The defense attempts to stay on front of the offense. Repeat this drill for 30 seconds and then switch from offense to defense.
Strongside lane closure is the way you play defense when your man passes the ball and cuts to the basket. As soon as your player passes, make a quick jump to the ball side of your man, and slide down the lane with your player, putting yourself in the passing lane, and denying a pass from going into your man.
In the NBA, any defensive player, who is positioned in the key or the area extending 4 feet past the lane endline, must be actively guarding an opponent within three seconds. Actively guarding means being within arms length of an offensive player and in a guarding position. PENALTY: A technical foul shall be assessed. The offensive team retains possession at the free throw line extended.
Stealing the ball, or taking it away from the offensive player, is a tough task to pull off without fouling. This takes quick hands, good timing and good footwork. A skilled ball handler will protect the ball from the defender when he/she is dribbling. The main object as a defender is to be in good position at all times. Steals will come, especially with experience. But, you shouldn't concentrate on this one task, it will take away from the rest of your defending.
The defensive effort is completed when we have POSSESSION OF THE BALL. When the ball is shot we must have ALL FIVE PLAYERS fulfilling their rebound responsibility until the ball is CHINNED. The team will rebound covering the paint in a triangle shape. Then you can outlet the ball and apply your offensive pressure with the primary and secondary break.
Any time the ball is passed YOU MUST JUMP TO THE BALL. Make gradual, quick, immediate adjustments in your stance. You must be in position before the ball is caught. Jumping to the ball allows you to be in proper position to front cutters, avoid screens (be a moving target), and help teammates. Any time the ball is dribbled you must make the proper ball side or help side adjustments in positioning.
Quick, organized transition with communication by all five players is a must for a great defensive team. You must STOP THE BALL. You must sprint to the level of the ball, eliminate all cheap baskets, and make opponents go against your set defense. NO LAYUPS, NO THREES, NO FOULS, NO SECOND SHOTS
You are in your weakside defensive stance in line with the basket, pointing to your man and the ball. Weakside lane closure to how you defend a player on the weakside who cuts to the ball.What you must do as your player cuts towards the ball is to slide up into deny position, make contact with the cutter, and make him cut behind you. As he cuts behind you, you then still deny the pass into your man.
There is no such thing as helping too quickly. When your teammate steers the ball into the next gap, be ready to provide quick help with your rear to the ball. When you help, you must recover on line to your man as the ball is picked up. In all screening situations you must talk, provide quick help and then recover early.
When guarding the dribbler, your head should be even with the ball, which puts you slightly ahead of the man you are guarding. Make the dribbler turn and change directions. This will slow him down and make it more difficult for the dribbler to beat you.
A key to being a good defender is to always put pressure on the ball. Don't let an offensive player do anything with the ball--dribble, pass, or shoot--without having one of your hands trying to get into the way. Force him to his weakest side. Make him go where he doesn't want to go.
When your man is 2 passes away from the ball, you must learn to play weakside or help defense. Help defense means just that... if someone else's man is driving to the hoop and has beaten the defender, you must leave your man and move to a position in front of them with both feet on the ground, (facing the player)and stop the drive; then once the ball is stopped, go back to your man. Point one hand to your man and the other to the ball and maintain a position that allows you to see both your man and the ball. Align yourself with the center of the basketball floor. Stopping the ball, no matter who is guarding him, is your first concern. This contributes to good team defense.
The basic rule for guarding the high post(post player at the free throw line) is to deny the pass in from the side. This is a position where the defensive player is at the ball side of the post player, with the forward arm denying the pass into the post. Use the back of your other hand to maintain contact with your man. When the ball moves to the other side, go on the basket side of your man and assume the side denial position on the other side.
You want to be in good defensive position in front of the man with the ball. You then want to time your jump so you raise your hand in front of the ball just as it is released. You can also come from the side or from behind. The big waving blocks will generally lead to a foul. A clean block is hitting the ball and not the shooters hand or arm. Blocked shots are a good defensive skill and will get your team and the crowd excited when it happens. The key to a good blocked shot is capturing the ball following the block so that your team gets the ball. Bill Russell was an all-time great at this.
The proper way to move when guarding the dribbler is to step and push off. This is accomplished by stepping sideways with the lead foot (the foot closest to the direction in which you wish to go), then pushing off with your trail foot to catch up. Always keep your feet in contact with the floor. Stay low and keep your feet wide. Make quick slides.
This is a strategy to use when you are coming to defend a player from a distance away, such as sprinting out to your man on a skip pass after help defense . What you do is sprint half way to your player and then in a low defensive position, use shuffle steps to assume good defensive position.
The low post player might try to push you out after you "full front". If you get out too far you out, release and spin around to his backside. Now you are between him and the basket and have him 12´-15´ away. This makes it a tough shot for the offense and you have rebounding position.
If the ball is below the free throw line try to get around the post player and "Full Front". Your teammates will need to help you on any lob pass. The post player probably is not going to want you in this position, so it is a constant fight for position between the post player and defender. Be active and try to AVOID contact. The post player will have more trouble "pinning" you in a position where they can receive the ball.
The abilities to force the opponent with the ball to go the direction you want them to go are invaluable basketball defenses. It is important to practice basketball training drills that will give you these abilities.
The important thing is to stay in line, facing your opponent. Placing your left foot one foot, directly to the left, of your opponent forces them to go to their left or bump into you. Conversely, placing your right foot one foot to their right will force them to go right.
Practice this with a team mate; have them move from side to side while you copy their movements. After a couple of times back and forth, put a foot out, forcing them to go back the other way.
Forcing your opponent can be useful to keep them away from the basket, or stop them from a clear pass to a team mate. Stopping them in their path will also cause them to rethink what they are doing, giving you time to move in and get the ball.
A team should look to play a zone if their opponents can't attack it consistently, they can't guard the opponent man-to-man, they need to control an excellent penetrating guard, and finally, they can sandwich (or front and back) the post player.
Basketball defenses are a key point to protecting the ball in any game. The coach must take into consideration their players, when and what kind of defense works best for each player and the team as a unit. During basketball training drills the coach observes each player, their skill level and abilities then he/she will decide the best placement for each team member. The coach will also work with each player to strengthen their skills and abilities individual and improve each player’s ability to both stay consistent with a defense and be able to “change it up” to fit the needs of the situations on the court as the need arises. All players will practice and perfect the basketball defense drill that best suits their skill and ability level. The coach will have the defensive team members work with the individual defensive drills that best suit the player’s abilities and skill level until they have each particular defensive move down and can carry out those actions without a second thought. Each member of the team must concentrate, work hard and carry out the prescribed moves in unity with their other team member. The more you and your team members work together, practice and perfect their individual and whole unit ability to work together in perfect “sink”, the higher “score” you may receive.
This is a defensive strategy that is used when a very good low post player gets the ball. When the ball is passed to the post, the perimeter (outside) player quickly will double team the post player. This will make it difficult for a good post player to make their offensive move and force them to pass the ball back out.