As a defender you want to keep your man from scoring the basketball and then also be able to help your teammate if they are having trouble guarding their man. There are different types of defense but we are going to just focus on the two basic areas of defense; on the ball defense and off the ball defense.
Just like shooting a basketball or dribbling there is a proper technique and form to being a good defender. Here are some tips that you can use to become a good on the ball and off the ball defender
On the Ball Defense
When you are guarding the basketball you are going to be in what is called a defensive stance. To do this you are going to bend at the knees and drop your butt like you are sitting in a chair. You are going to 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 are able to move quickly laterally and cut your man off if they try and drive past you with the dribble. When you go to cut them off you don't want to use your hands to stop them because this will be a foul.
You must square them up with your body and cut them off with your chest, beat them to the spot. If they continue to drive and you have position, plant your feet and let them run you over. This will be an offensive foul 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. Simply put your hand up and contest the shot. Once they have already left their feet on the shot you may jump as well, but be careful and jump under control.
Off the Ball Defense
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 is going to 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 type of defense your team is playing you will adjust accordingly with every pass.
Make sure that you always keep your eyes on two things; the person your are guarding and the basketball. If you lose sight of the ball you wont be able to help your teammates. On the other hand if you lose sight of your man they will move and cut for an open layup or 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 is not easy, but you have already taken the first step by learning the basics. Learning these tips will help you become a better defender. Here is a drill that you can also use to practice your defensive skills. Also you can view our other Defensive Drills or checkout our 25 Newest Drills for Free.