5 Ways to Defend in Basketball

Table of contents:

5 Ways to Defend in Basketball
5 Ways to Defend in Basketball

As Bob Knight, legendary US college basketball coach, once said, "Good basketball always starts with good defense." The defensive aspect of a team can really be the defining point between winning and losing in a match. Being a good individual scorer will make you a great contributor to your team; dedicating themselves to developing in this area will help the team to prevail even in the most balanced and difficult games.


Method 1 of 5: Training Proper Defensive Posture

Play Defense in Basketball Step 1

Step 1. Separate your feet a little more than shoulder to shoulder

They should be pointed forward and a little wider than your knees (which will be shoulder-width apart). Taking this position will already lower the body's center of gravity and provide a more balanced base.

Play Defense in Basketball Step 2

Step 2. Place the weight on the part of the foot where the toes join the sole of the foot

At the same time, lift your heels a little, bending your knees and lowering your body as if you were squatting. Generally, if you think you're too low, it's a sign that you can get even closer to the ground.

  • Concentrate on keeping your weight on the same part of your foot, but not on your toes, as you will lose your balance.
  • To test pose height, try touching the floor with the fingers of one hand. If you can, see if the movement is normal; if not, get up a little.
  • Keeping the weight low and centered on the part just below your toes will help you stop easily, get acceleration faster, and react better to the ball.
Play Defense in Basketball Step 3

Step 3. Keep your back straight but not completely straight

It should be shoulder-to-hip height and slightly arched, not completely straight. To get into this posture, put your hands down and lift your chest; the upper body will lean forward a little, leaving the weight evenly distributed.

  • This posture may seem uncomfortable at first, but with training it will become more natural.
  • Leaving your back at the right height will protect you from injury while balancing your body.
Play Defense in Basketball Step 4

Step 4. Raise your hands so that they are very loose and active

Try toss them sideways, or place one hand up and the other at the opponent's hip, trying to touch the ball with it. In any case, never leave them on your sides.

It is possible that the coach will have guidelines on how you should move your hands, depending on the aggressiveness of the defense (which he requires and what you have). Otherwise, focus on keeping them up and moving all the time, trying out different positions to see which ones are most natural and effective

Method 2 of 5: Defending the Ball

Play Defense in Basketball Step 5

Step 1. Right after your team shoots, run back to defense

The coach may have instructed a specific type of transition defense, but in general the player closest to the middle of the court needs to go back to the team's basket to prevent the opponent from slotting in a quick counterattack and making an easy layup. The second player closest to the middle of the court must press the opponent with the ball, while the other three will mark the closest opponents.

  • Communicating with peers is critical during the transition! Let them know that you are protecting the basket, the ball, or a player on the other team who is free.
  • When your role in offense is to try to catch a rebound, return to defense only when the opponent regains possession.
Play Defense in Basketball Step 6

Step 2. Immediately press the player with the ball

When you notice that he is free, run to him and start pressing the ball; the biggest threat to a defense is an unmarked opponent, with room to hit the lane or pass with ease. The best way to avoid such situations is to pressure him as soon as possible.

Obey your team's game plan. Always stay close to the opponent if the coach asks you to; when you notice that there is an opponent free and with the ball, abandon your marker and attack him to annoy him

Play Defense in Basketball Step 7

Step 3. Set the body at an angle to force it towards the sideline

Slide your foot closer to the sideline a few inches behind the other; the big toe of the back foot needs to be in line with the heel of the other foot; don't forget to turn your chest in that direction as well.

Adopting this more angled posture prevents the player with the ball from being able to carry it easily and pass the middle of the court; instead, he will be pushed to the side or toward a fellow defender

Play Defense in Basketball Step 8

Step 4. Always stand at a lower height than the opponent, even when moving close to him

Lower your head and torso so that your eyes are level with the player's shoulders and your body a little lower.

  • Instead of lifting your back when you need to move, stay very low and follow him sideways.
  • To be able to stay low, adopt the pose and imagine that you are playing in a gym with a roof just above your head. By standing with your back up or raising and lowering as you move, you will hit your head on the ceiling.
  • Low defensive posture provides much more balance as well as quick reaction to the ball.
Play Defense in Basketball Step 9

Step 5. Keep your eyes on the opponent's chest or waist

It's perfectly natural to stare at his face or the ball when you score, but this will only make it easier for him to trick you into looking the other way or pretending to make a pass or throw. Ideally, look anywhere between his chest and waist.

It is very difficult for the attacker to be able to make a move that deceives the defender with the trunk, that is, it is an excellent way not to be deceived by his movement

Play Defense in Basketball Step 10

Step 6. Use one hand to block the pass lines and the other to press the ball

Keep an outstretched arm's distance from the opponent and extend an arm a few inches from the ball, following the ball's movements with your hand. The other needs to be a little lower and to the side, distracting the player and preventing him from making an easy pass.

Don't fully reach out and try to touch the ball; you will lose your balance and make it much easier for the attacker to leave you behind. Also, it will be called a foul if you touch his arm

Play Defense in Basketball Step 11

Step 7. Always talk to teammates

Throughout the other team's attack, use communication to let them know where you are and what's happening on the court, but they're not seeing. Some phrases that can be used are:

  • “Ball, ball!”: Use this phrase when running to press the ball.
  • “Block, block”: for when defending a player who is one step away from the ball.
  • “Right Snapper” or “Left Snapper”: You'll indicate that an opponent's teammate will attempt to make a light sniffer to block the marker's movement (your team's player). By speaking one of these terms, he'll know he'll have to run away from a light trap.

Method 3 of 5: Defending the opponent's dribbling and throwing attempts

Play Defense in Basketball Step 12

Step 1. Go back if the player with the ball tries to dribble you towards the basket

Whenever he wants to leave you behind, move back in the defensive stance, keeping your back arched and your arms out to the side to get in the way and stay in the play.

Be patient. Do not try to steal the ball unless the player in possession loses control of it or makes a mistake

Play Defense in Basketball Step 13

Step 2. Force the opponent to go to the side

Set your body at an angle that allows the player to go only towards the sideline as they enter the offensive court. Use your body to block his way to the basket and exert more pressure (from the sideline) to make him miss the ball.

The player will be forced to try to pass the ball or make a mistake, especially if a fellow defender also comes to put pressure on him

Play Defense in Basketball Step 14

Step 3. Tap the ball while the opponent tries to pass you

With your hand closer to the ball, give it a quick slap; don't try to do it with your other hand, as if his arm is hit, the foul will be called.

Do this only if your opponent is trying to dribble you and you find you can't stay in his line, or if he's having difficulty maintaining possession and sees an opportunity to get in your way

Play Defense in Basketball Step 15

Step 4. Dig an attack foul if possible

It occurs when the defender is hit in the trunk by the attacker with the ball; however, the player without possession must be stationary or moving backwards or sideways, with both feet on the ground. To dig the foul, keep the defensive posture down and let the attacker come at you; don't try to steal the ball.

  • Be very careful when trying to dig the attack foul! If you are moving towards the ball, do not plant both feet on the ground, or get hit somewhere other than the torso, it is your fault, not the offense.
  • Stay "glued" to the player with possession and "close the door" so that he can't dribble you, to be able to dig the foul.
  • Keep the posture well down and protect yourself from impact by placing both arms bent in front of your chest. Naturally, the upper body will be projected backwards, better “selling” the fault marking.
Play Defense in Basketball Step 16

Step 5. defend the pitch obstructing the pitcher's view.

If the player you are tagging starts the shooting move, raise your hand and place it in front of his face, distracting him and clouding his view of the basket. It's the best way to force a wrong shot without fouling or being fooled by a “fake pump”.

It is considered a more sensible tactic than jumping and trying to hit the ball. The chance of committing a foul is much greater by touching the thrower's arm; if he just pretends to kick the ball, you will be unable to defend him, giving you an open path to pass or make the basket

Method 4 of 5: Playing Defense Off The Ball

Play Defense in Basketball Step 17

Step 1. Deny the attacker's assistance when you are one step away from the ball

When defending an offensive player who does not have the ball but is close enough to make a pass, stand in defensive posture with one arm and foot on the pass line. Keep your chest facing towards the opponent who is scoring and look over your shoulder (on the same side of the ball).

In some situations or defensive strategies, your coach may ask you to help the defender who is marking the attacker with possession instead of just trying to cut the pass. In this case, approach your teammate to put pressure on the opponent and prevent him from attacking the basket

Play Defense in Basketball Step 18

Step 2. Continue tagging the player, even when he stands in a corner of the court

The corner's three-point shot is too dangerous for the defence; when marking a player who is in the position to take such a kick, it is even possible to go out to occupy the pass line, but it is important to go back to mark your man, as if he receives the free ball, he may hit a three-point ball..

Continue in the corner marking the player even when another opponent is attacking the basket to make the layup. When dropping his man, the player with the ball can easily pass the ball to him (even in the air), kicking a three-point ball with a high chance of falling

Play Defense in Basketball Step 19

Step 3. Create a “defensive triangle” to observe the ball and the player who is scoring

When defending an opponent who is far from the ball and will not be hit by a single pass, position yourself so that you can see that player and the ball out of the corners of your eyes. Keep your hands wide open and always moving, with one pointing towards the ball and the other towards the opponent.

Try to stay as close to the ball as possible while being close to whoever is scoring, allowing you to return to the defensive position if he receives a quick pass

Play Defense in Basketball Step 20

Step 4. Fix the placement every time

Never stand up while defending; when the ball or athlete who is scoring moves, adjust the position to be able to react quickly to any play; maintain defensive posture so that you always keep an eye on the ball and the player who is scoring.

Don't get distracted watching the ball, forgetting that you need to do your job too! A good attack will always be able to take advantage of a careless and distracted defender

Method 5 of 5: Developing Strength and Training Defensiveness

Play Defense in Basketball Step 21

Step 1. Strengthen your posture with squats and wall squats

These are important exercises for when you are having difficulty maintaining a low defensive posture throughout your attack possession, as they will strengthen your leg strength. Focus on working your legs at least four to five days a week so that your posture is lower and stronger.

  • To perform a wall squat, place your back on the wall and squat until your knees are at a 90° angle. Hold the position as much as possible, always trying to increase the time on each set.
  • The squat can be done by standing with your feet spread (a little more than shoulder-width apart); then lower your body until your knees are bent at a 90° angle, and return to your previous position. Do at least 10 reps.
Play Defense in Basketball Step 22

Step 2. Develop footwork by jumping rope and using agility ladders

Moving your feet correctly is an essential tool for any good defender. To increase speed, start jumping rope 10 minutes a day; then do exercises with an agility ladder to improve speed and balance.

  • When jumping rope, start with the simple movement, taking your feet off the ground as quickly as possible. Then see if you can move sideways or with your feet back and forth.
  • On the agility ladder, run and touch both feet on each square, always keeping your chest forward. Afterwards, turn on your side and do the same. On the internet, there are several types of exercises that can be practiced with the agility stairs, increasing the challenge.
  • If you don't have an agility ladder, use chalk to draw one on the sidewalk or simulate the steps with sticks and large branches.
Play Defense in Basketball Step 23

Step 3. Make abdominal planks to develop core body strength, which is critical for balance (important for good defenders)

Practice abdominal planks every day until you can hold them for 60 seconds, then perform the side plank to work your oblique muscles.

Play Defense in Basketball Step 24

Step 4. Practice foot movement fundamentals to increase movement and pressure

Run from the end line to a cone on the free-throw line; slow down and adopt a defensive posture. Now, head back to another cone a few inches from the end line and run to the other side of the court, past the head of the lane to finish.

You can practice this foundation with your teammates or on your own. Complete it at least three to five times, making your best effort at every opportunity

Play Defense in Basketball Step 25

Step 5. Practice one-on-one defense to test your skills

Stand on the free-throw line and give the ball to one player (who will be the attacker) starting practice. He will try to pass you and make the tray, while your task will be to avoid the basket using everything he has learned about defense.

  • As you will pass the ball to the attacking player, the initiator of the practice will be next to him, forcing him to react quickly to your movement.
  • Concentrate in this exercise on keeping your opponent in front of you, contesting all his shots.
Play Defense in Basketball Step 26

Step 6. Try to follow another player, who will aim to pass you, to improve your positioning

In "mirroring" training, you should be on one side of the carboy, and your teammate on the opposite side, with both sides facing the inside of the carboy. He will be the attacking player and he will move up and down the bottle, trying to get away from you, the defensive player. Do as much as you can to stay with him, no matter what move the attacker takes.

  • Ask the attacker to try to trick you with “pump fakes” or quickly change direction so you can't “mirror” his movement.
  • Always keep the posture low, with your hands moving throughout the foundation.
Play Defense in Basketball Step 27

Step 7. In all practices and games, develop your defense

When someone is training and needs an advocate, apply; in games, score the opponent's star and always try to adopt a better position and posture (marking the ball or not). By dedicating yourself to defense, it will be possible to make a big difference in every game.


Popular by topic