How to Play Defense in Basketball

So you want to learn how to play defense in basketball? The good news for you is that anyone can play defense. Unlike shooting or dribbling, defense requires very little skill and a lot of effort. And because defense makes up half of the game, a good defender is an asset to any team. While defense is mostly drive and intensity, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help you become a better defender.

To play defense in basketball you will need:

  • an offensive player

To play defense in basketball:

  1. Stay low.  To get into your defensive stance, bend your knees and drop your hips back. Your feet should be a little wider than your hips.
  2. Shuffle your feet. Instead of standing up and running when playing defense, shuffle your feet in one direction or the other. You will want to keep your hips and shoulders square to the offensive player while sliding your feet with short, quick steps.
  3. Keep your hands active. Do not just let your hands hang idly by your side. Extend them up in the air or out to the sides in order to distract and disrupt the vision of the offensive player. Try to get your hands in the passing lanes or up in the shooter’s face.
  4. Dictate the action. A good defender controls where the opponent goes instead of reacting to the offensive player. Stay a step ahead of the offense and make them change direction and pick up their dribble. This will disrupt the flow of the offense and cause turnovers.
  5. Force the offense to go to its weakness. For most amateur players, this means forcing an opponent to dribble with their left hand. Position yourself a little off center towards your opponent’s right hand. Drop your right foot back a bit so that the offense is prohibited from dribbling with their right hand and must go left.
  6. Box out. Your job as a defender is not over when a shot is taken. Step towards your opponent, stay low, spin so that your back is against the offensive player’s stomach, and push back. Keep your hands up and go get the rebound.



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