The Beginners Guide to Playing Defense in Basketball

The Beginners Guide to Playing Defense in Basketball

As a defender in basketball, you want to keep your man from scoring and then also be able to help your teammate if they are having trouble guarding their man. There are different types of defense, but in this basketball basics article, we will focus on two primary areas of defense, on the ball defense and off the ball defense.

Like shooting a basketball or dribbling a basketball, there is a proper technique and form to be a good defender. Here are some tips that you can use to become a good on the ball and off the ball defender in basketball.


On the Ball Defense in Basketball

When you are guarding the basketball, you are going to be in what is called a defensive stance. To do this, you will bend at the knees and drop your butt like you are sitting in a chair. You will hold this position with your legs slightly spread, chest straight up and down, arms out to the side, and on the balls of your feet.

By being in this position, you can move quickly laterally and cut your man off if they try and drive past you with the dribble. When you cut them off, you don’t want to use your hands to stop them because this will be a hand-checking foul.

You must square them up with your body, cut them off with your chest, and beat them to the spot. If they continue to drive and you have positioning, plant your feet and let them run you over. This will be an offensive foul on the player driving, and your team will get the basketball.

If the player goes to shoot the basketball, don’t jump in the air because they could shot fake you and then go by you or draw a foul. Put your hand up and contest the shot. Once they have already left their feet on the shot, you may jump as well. Just but be careful and jump under control.

Off the Ball Defense in Basketball

This can be a little more tricky, but a big key is knowing what is going on around you and then being able to anticipate where the ball will go. You should remain in a defensive stance even when your man doesn’t have the ball. Depending on where the ball goes on the floor and what your team defense calls for, you will adjust accordingly with every pass.

Make sure that you always keep your eyes on two things, the person you are guarding and the basketball. If you lose sight of the ball, you won’t be able to help your teammates. On the other hand, if you lose sight of your man, they will move and cut for a finish at the basket or an open shot. A good way to do this is by keeping your body between your man and the basket and then pointing at your man with one hand and the ball with the other hand.

Becoming good at playing defense in basketball is not easy, but you have already taken the first step by learning the basics with this basketball article. Learning these tips will help you become a better defender. There are several basketball drills that you can use to work on your defensive skills, but here is a video breaking down a good one. Also, you can view our other defensive basketball drills for even more great defensive resources.


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