Basketball Defense Plays: The Ultimate Guide

Basketball Defense Plays

Majority of the people don't reckon that great basketball defense play is only somewhat related to speed and quick feet . Rather, it is more about good predictions, being aware of the surroundings, nice body balance and basic fundamentals.

If there's one thing keeping many from becoming a good basketball defense play guy, it is because they don't have a good grasp of the defense fundamentals and tactics. Don't let that include you. Take your time reading through this page as it'll help you level up your basketball defense plays. If you really want it and give it enough time, you'd get what you're aiming for.

Around the bottom of this page, you'd also be introduced to the most common defense formations.

Let's get started.

Basketball Defense Plays: The Fundamentals

(1) Basic Stance

Position your feet wide as your shoulders while your weight balanced at the balls of your feet. And in case you're flat footed, stay back on your heels, else, get your legs too close together. It's tough to move fast and you'd find offense opponents dribbling nearby you. Bend your knees slightly keeping your butt low. Then make sure you have one extended high to guard shots and passes, while the other hand extended low on the ball.

(2) Focus On the Waist

Want to avoid getting faked out in basketball? Then you better emphasize on a part of the offense opponents' nonmoving body. A lot of inexperienced players emphasize on the head, eyes and legs of the opposition.

Or focus on watching the ball. If you too monitor the ball, the only thing the defender needs to do is fake a shot, fake a pass, fake going one way and head to the other. Avoid doing this as it'll leave you sucking air while the offense players go for the lay-up. Keep in mind that in order to watch your opposition's mid-section as they can't go anywhere leaving it behind.

If they fake a shot or pass, do something else, you'd be exactly there as you'd witness the waist go where they exactly wish to.

(3) Slide Side-to-Side

Footwork and position are the bloodline of basketball defense plays. Make sure to move side-to-side laterally without crossing your legs. While you slide, sustain your body balance by keeping your feet very near to the width of your shoulders. Further, don't let your feet touch while you move.

(4) Beware of Tendancies

Studying your opponent thoroughly would transform you from an 'OK' defense player to a 'Spectacular' one. You'd want to figure out if they are left or right handed. Do they like driving to the hoop or suggest taking jumping shots? The goal is to gear your opponents to do the opposite of what they intend and like. If they prefer taking jump shots, try making them jump. If they prefer going left, make them go right.

Good footwork is crucial in this case. If you want an offensive player to dribble towards the left, place your left foot slightly forward while dropping your right foot back. Make sure that you stay on the balls of your feet. If they still insist going right, you are set for the moving in front of them. If you can successfully make them go left (that's your right), you can move fast that way. Similarly, you can reverse this method to make them go towards right.

(5) Guarding the Offensive Player

There are 2 vital fundamentals for guarding players who aren't with the ball. Stay between the basket and the player and try to avoid turning your back from the ball. If the offender you're guarding is on the right of the floor, while the ball on the left, raise your bring your hand up while dropping your right foot back a little. Make sure your  left arm is between the ball and the offender. However, don't turn around completely, otherwise you'd be facing your back to the ball. Hold your head up so you can witness your opposition and the ball the whole time.

(6) Shot Blocking

While blocking shots, always try to use your hand nearest to the basket. If someone is coming in from the right of your basket, use your left hand to block. Allowing you to use your hand furthest from the offender's body and reduces the chances of making a foul. You wouldn't be reaching across the offensive player's body, and that will shoot up the chances of making a foul to them.

(7) Switching

A switch happens when 2 defensive players swap player. They're guarding to offer each an improved defense position. For an example, the fellow you're guarding heads towards the left. Their team members arranges a pick and the player you guard dribbles by them. Rather than you knocking over or going around the pick player, your team member, who had been guarding the 'pick', advances before the player controlling the ball. You take over the offender with the ball, and that's how you make a switch.

Be sure that while your team members step outside to meet the player carrying the ball that you keep your shoulder equal to your team member's shoulders. However, if you drop back prior to your shoulder being at the same angle, the player who has the ball can turn around and deal with both of you.

(8) Low-post Defense

The low post region simply is to the right or left of the goal on or close to the free throw lane. It is where offensive fellows (the forward or center typically) would stand awaiting the ball. They try keeping their defenders behind them by extending their legs wide and raising an arm aiming for the pass (they face their back to the goal). As a defender, your first job is keeping the players from making passes. Don't attempt to get before the player. Move your body almost 3 quarters of the way at the front while keeping the arm furthest from the basket inside the passing lane. After your pass is in the air, fall back behind and get into right position to get defending.

Basketball Defense Plays: Most Common Defense Formations

(1) Man-to-Man

Every defensive player (out of the five) guards 1 offensive player each. Even after switching, every player would be responsible for 1 offender at a time.

(2) Zone

Every defender is liable for guarding a certain region, rather than guarding a precise offender. The goal of this formation is to double-team the member holding the ball. When an offender holding the ball enters a region between 2 defenders, the defenders attack  him alongside 3 defenders guarding their regions.

(3) 2-1-2 Zone

2 defenders stand in the position above the foul line. 1 in the lane and other 2 are low on any side of the goal.

(4) 2-3 Zone

2 defenders extend from another above the foul line and the other 3 members are outspread across the bottom half of the lane.

(5) 1-3-1 Zone

One defender takes the slot ahead, 3 are across the foul line stretched and the 5th is down under the goal. The player in the lead attempts to force the dribbler left or right. As that player drives, another defender member comes up for the double team.

(6) 2-2-1 Zone Press

This typically is a full-court defense. Right after the ball is thrown inbounds after a score, the defense begins to guard instantly, this process is called full-court press. Again, the goal is getting 2 defenders double-teaming and trapping the one with the ball while the rest 3 guard the court.

Basketball Center Position: How To Play Basketball Center Position

Basketball Center Position

A Center probably is the rarest of all the basketball positions. This most unique position in basketball brings a lot of special skills and attributes to the table that are designed to conquer the court. The amalgamation of skill and physical requirements demanded in a Center, makes it painstaking to find an appropriate Center even in the professional games.

skills GIF

While finding a person cut out for the basketball center position gets the job done, you can't easily build someone up for this position.

The physical attributes adverted for a center almost always swears by the height. For this reason, you'd almost always see the tallest players positioned as the basketball center position. The Center player hangs around the net often with a duty of contradicting  the rebounding possibility of the opponent. For instance, a Center has to record rebounding figures more than 2x digests each, in every game.

Defensively, a center must keep the most potent opposite players from scoring. For several cases, Center is the back to the basket offensive player, so he needs to have tiptop footwork alongside body stance that's designed to prevent easy post entry basketball passes. It takes time for the center to develop such skills, however, over time, it becomes a habit that doesn't require specialized effort anymore.

Speed and footwork are 2 undermined factors for a Center. However, the basketball game in this day and age, is almost always played without a hard-and-fast 'position' rule. For this reason, you often see situations like a suitable Center matching up against one better suited Power Forward, or also a tall Small Forward. So a Center must be effective and efficient with his footwork while being able to keeping the opponents far from the net, not only nearby the keyway.

Plus, defensively, a potential Center should be qualified enough to block shots, or change the shot driving into the keyway, at the least. Although blocking shots is a few and far between skill, being able to forcing the players to change their attack plans is considered a plus for a Center.

In terms of offensive play, a Center must comprise a wide array of skills, which grow varying on the nature of the player. Some centers are extremely back-to-the-basket low post fellas. Others comprise a very long shooting range designed to pull their defensive match-up far from the net, while revealing the opposition's defense flaws.

brooklyn nets nba GIF

Some of the prime skills a Center has are:

  • Back-to-the-basket offense.
  • Strong middle-of-the-floor moves
  • Post play etc.

Players comprising better range of skills would be able to spice things up even more.

The basketball center position players should be competent in many aspects technically. Screening, for example. It can be on-ball or in usual offensive game. Not only this requires you to set screens, but also learning the best read from the defensive team's reactions.

A Center should be on his toes to produce effective work centering the keyway with another inner player. A ton of offenses involve formations that begin or lead you to a high/low 2 player offensive moves.

The aforementioned tactical and technical skills are just a brief image of the basketball center position players. Just as all the positions in basketball, some players stand out from the sea of sameness with their unique approach, style and ability.

A quality Center is a stellar asset for the team. However, as the position is few and far between, there are many offenses that center around the emptiness of this position. Keep in mind that often basketball center position players mature as a player long after the guard members. This long-run improvement shouldn't discourage any coach from training someone that shows the potential or ability to turn into a great Center.

All The Positions In Basketball (Explained Thoroughly)

All The Positions In Basketball

All The Positions In Basketball

Basketball usually has 5 precise player positions. 2 forwards, 2 guards, and 1 center. To be more specific, the positions are:

  • Center
  • Power forward
  • Small forward
  • Shooting guard
  • Point guard

All the positions in Basketball comes with their own roles and duties. Plenty of years ago, the players playing for these positions would adhere solely to their role, while avoiding anything out of their position.

The power forward and center handled and dominated 90% of the rebounding, while dribbling the ball was few and far between for them. The guards would dribble the ball up and down the court, however, they'd not enter the key area regularly.

Although Basketball has come a long way, the players filling all the positions in basketball still are assigned with precise responsibilities.

Let's analyze all the positions in basketball below:

The 7  Spots: All The Positions In Basketball Explained

(1) Center

The center, aka 'five' is traditionally the tallest and strongest fellas on your team hanging around the basket most of the game.

Offensively, majority of the centers can't perform consistent mid-range shots or 3-pointers. And that's because it's not their prime focus either.

Rather, they'd make frequent scores, netting most of their points by hanging around the rim and scoring off offensive rebounds or simply by little passes while a perimeter player barges in and their defender gets forced to offer help defense.

For this to happen, they must have skilled hands and a tiptop basketball IQ in order to know where to move the rim around to offer passers the most perfect angle.

The greatest of the center, have a quality post game and can hit the goal with an array of moves from the low post area. This rings especially necessary when they get shift onto a dwindled or weakened player.

Defensively, the 2 prime duties of a center is defending the basket alongside rebounding the basketball.

The center essentially doesn't have to be a superb shot blocker (although that'd help verily), simply filling in the space and creating pressure on the opposition to alter their shots is almost always good enough to keep them from scoring.

(2) Power Forward

The power forward, aka the 'four' typically is the 2nd tallest fellas on your team who need to be strong and skillful.

In previous years, the players occupying this position consistently played close to the rim and made most points in the paint.

In this day and age, the power forward requires a quality mid-range jumping shot. And this would be even more effective had they been able to hit a 3-pointer consistently. Players capable of doing this is called a 'stretch four'.

Whether these players spend majority of their time in the 3-point line or on the perimeter depends on the offense that the coach selects to run for their team.

Defensively, having better strength and size is crucial to beat the opponents and ensuring the rebounds.

(3) Small Forward

The small forward, aka the 'three' often is the most varied amongst the all the positions in basketball, offensively and defensively.

These players are tall and athletic, allowing them to be staggeringly disruptive at the defensive side of the court and typically makes them the best defensive player on the team.

The greatest small forwards have an offensive game as well.

Just like the shooting guard position, they can score consistently from outside and inside, and barge in and create opportunities for other fellas on the team.

Simply put, they're the top dogs of a basketball squad. They're capable of doing everything on a basketball court, including assisting the 2 'bigs' with rebounding on the defensive side of the aisle. 

(4) Shooting Guard

The shooting guard, aka the 'off guard' or 'two' often is amongst the shorter fellas on the squad and typically begins and offensive possession flying through the air.

This is a scoring position often filled by the best outside shooter on the team. However, the shooting guard position demands beyond outside shooting.

This player has to shoot consistently from close, mid-range and outside alongside a variety of layups including euro steps, floaters and reverse layups.

Being powerful enough to score from anywhere on reveals that their shooting guard would always be a threat and lots of basketball plays could be run for them.

They're also the squad's 2nd ball-handler helping the basketball up the court if the point guard competes off against a strong opposing defender.

(5) Point Guard

The point guard, aka the floor general or 'one' often is amongst the shortest players on the aisle with the duty of advancing the ball up the aisle and arranging the offense of the team.

This position requires the players to be extremely skillful at passing and dribbling, while turning the ball over to the opponents every few and far between.

After the offense of the team has been arranged, the point guard has to read what the defensive players are doing and come up with intelligent decisions. High IQ is vital for this slot, which is why this position is often called the on-court coach.

The player on the point guard slot has to be selfless.  Seriously, a selfish point guard can blow up on your face. And after it blows up on your face, it can circle back and bite you in the ass. Alright, I'm exaggerating. But for good reasons. 

Point Guards' main aim is to get their team players included on the offensive side of the aisle. This demands them to have extremely clear playbook knowledge alongside understanding the team members' strong and weak sides. Know what slots of the court your team fellas can dominate lets the offense reap benefits from the mismatches.

Just like all the positions in basketball, the point guard ought to be capable enough to push down an open outside shot alongside penetrating and passing to their team fellas.

Defensively, the players on this position are there to guard and disrupt the opponent's prime ball-handler by playing aggressively (but with intelligence) full-court defense trying to top the basketball loose, however, assuring that they always remain between their oppositions and the goal.

(6) Sixth Man

The first player to come off the bench to attend the game is called the 6th man. This player can be different from game to game, however, most teams have a precise sixth man entering each game first from the bench.

In terms of skill, the sixth man oftentimes is as skillful as the 5 beginning players. And potentially better than many of them. As a side note, it is not a great idea to start with you 5 greatest players on the aisle.

The sixth man usually are a varied player filling several basketball slots. Who they replace on the court typically depends on match-ups and the players who perform poor.

The prime requirement of a sixth man is bringing the best energy to the game while stepping on the court.

(7) The Bench

The remaining players who start the play on the sideline (typically 2-4 or more) are called 'the bench'. How long do the players taking the bench get on the court? Well, that varies staggeringly on the extent of competition the team is facing.

In terms of youth basketball, I prefer coaches offer all the players equal court time till the last minutes of a nail-biting game.

In terms of high school or older, the bench players oftentimes have a lot less duty on the team when it comes to playing time. While some would get 10 - 15 minutes, others wouldn't get a even one whole minute.

No matter how much time they get on the court, the players on the bench have to be consistent with their positivity and urge the players on the court.

Never ever demean the importance of a stellar bench presence.

To Wrap It Up

Things are a little different in the game's of this day and age. We now have flowed into and era of 'no-position basketball'.

This means all the players now must do a little of everything, no matter which slot they are positioned into.

Now there are 7 feet point guards holding their backs against the big men in the league in terms of combating the rebounds. Just like the centers who could lead the fast break with ease.

If you are aiming on making your best players performing in the elite competitions around the world one day, you have to train them to play and guard any sort of position on the court.

All Basketball Rules ( Everything You Need To Know )

all basketball rules

All Basketball Rules

Basketball thankfully has pretty straightforward rules. For the younger players, however, some rules could easily be slipped through, the 3 second rule, for example. Once you teach the rules to your team, you can make sure they don't forget it by asking them to tell you the rules.

Spend some time quizzing them at every practice session. Keep things fun. Plus, you can also teach and reinforce all the basketball rules throughout the drills. However, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Before you can teach all basketball rules to your team, you must know them first.

All Basketball Rules

Basketball is a team game. 2 teams of 5 players each attempt to score by shooting a ball through a hoop positioned 10 feet above the floor. Basketball is played on a rectangular court, with a hoop at each end.

The mid-court line divides the court into 2 main parts. If the offensive party places the ball into play behind the mid-court line, they've 10 seconds to get the ball on the mid-court line. Failing to do so would give the ball to the defense.

After the offensive party gets the ball over the mid-court mark, it can't have possession of the ball in the area in back of the line anymore. If it still does, the defense gets the ball.

court (4K)

The players move the the ball down the court for the basket by dribbling and passing. The team having the ball is called offense and the one without the ball is called the defense. The players try to steal the ball, garner rebounds, contest shots and steal and deflect passes.

When a basket is made, the team scores 2 points and the other team receives the ball. If they make a basket or field goal from the outside of the 3-point arc, the team scores 3 points. For that extra 1 point, the free throw is worth it.

A team receives the free throw according to some formats, such as, the number of fouls done in a half and/or the sort of the foul. Fouling a shooter awards the offense team with 2/3 free throws, depending on his area of position while the shot was taken. If the player had crossed the 3-point line, he gets 3 shots. Other sorts of fouls don't give free throws till a certain number has stacked up throughout a half.

Once you reach the number, the 2 players who were fouled gets a 1-and-1 chance. If the player scores his 1st throw, he gets a 2nd attempt. However, if he fails the first shot, the ball goes live on the rebound.

Every game is split into sections. Every level has 2 halves. Each half comprises 20 minutes for college students. However, for high school and below, the halves are split into 8 (and sometimes 6) minute quarters. The pro level has 12 minute long quarters, with a break of a number of minutes between halves.

The breaks between quarters are comparatively short. If the score comes out a tie, the overtime periods of diverse lengths are played till a winner comes forth. This is one of the most important rules of all basketball rules.

Each team gets a basket/goal that they try to defend. Meaning that the other basket is their scoring goal. The teams exchange baskets at the halftime.

The game starts with one player from any team at the center court. A referee tosses the ball up between 2 players. Whoever gets touches the ball first will tip it to a team player, which is called a tip-off. Aside from stealing the ball from the opposition, the players can steal the ball in some other ways. One such way is if the opposite team makes a violation or foul.

All Basketball Rules: "Fouls And Violations"


Personal fouls: Any sort of physical contact gives birth to personal fouls.
  • Hitting
  • Pushing 
  • Holding
  • Slapping
  • Illegal screen/pick while an offensive player is on the move
Penalties of personal fouls: If a player gets fouled while shooting, he receives 2 free throws if his shot doesn't score, however, only 1 free throw if it scores.

  • 3 free throws are given if the player gets fouled when during shooting a 3 pointer and they miss scoring. If a player is fouled during shooting a 3 point, and makes it anyways, he gets one free throw. Therefore, he has the chance of scoring 4 points on the play.
  • Inbounds. If a player gets fouled while not shooting, the ball gets handed to the team the foul was done on. They receive the ball at the closest side or baseline, out of bounds, and get 5 seconds for passing in onto the court.
  • 1 & 1. If the fouling team commits 7 or more fouls in one game, then the player that was fouled receives 1 free throw. After making his first shot, he gets awarded one more free throw
  • 10 or more fouls. If the fouling team does 10 fouls or beyond, the fouled player gets 2 free throws.
Charging: Charging is an offensive foul that's done when a player runs over or pushes a defensive player. Then the ball is handed to the team that was fouled on.

Blocking: Blocking refers to illegal personal contact born from a defensive player not establishing position timely to keep an opponent's drive towards the goal.

Flagrant foul: Flagrant foul means violent contact with an opponent, which includes kicking, hitting and punching. This sort of foul gives birth to free throws and the offense gets possession of the ball once the free throws are done.

Intentional foul: Intentional foul is born when a player creates physical contact with another without any reasonable attempt of snatching the ball. It's a sign of judgment call for the officials.

Technical foul: A player, or even the coach can make this sort of foul. This doesn't have physical contact or the ball but included. It is more about the manners of them game. Bad language, gestures, arguing are a few reasons behind technical foul. Even technical details about filling the scorebook inappropriately or dunking throughout the warm-ups are considered as technical fouls.


Traveling/Walking: Going 1 and a half step with no dribbling is called traveling. Moving your pivot foot after you stopped dribbling is also considered traveling.

Carrying: Carrying is when a player dribbles the ball to far to the side, or, at times, even underneath the ball.

Double Dribble: Using your both hands at the same time to dribble the ball, or picking up the dribble and starting to dribble again is called a double dribble.

Held ball: Once in a while, 2 or more opponents would get possession of the ball simultaneously. For avoiding a elongated and/or violent tussle, the referee halts the action and gives the ball to one of the teams, then the other team, in a revolving basis.

Goaltending: If one of the defensive player interrupts a shot while it's going towards the goal, while it is on the way up towards the goal once touching the backboard, or while it is in the cylinder above the rim, it is called goaltending and the shot gets counted. However, if an offensive player does this, it'd be considered a violation adn the ball would be given to the opposite team to pass inbounds.

Backcourt violation: After the offense brings the ball across the mid-court mark, the aren't allowed to return across the line while the possession. If they still do, the ball will be given to the opposite team to pass inbounds.

Time limitations: A player gets 5 seconds to pass the ball. If he fails to do so, the ball is given to the opposite team. Other time limitations include the that one playing isn't allowed to have the ball for over 5 seconds when getting closely guarded. In some levels and states, shot-clock limitations require a team to try a shot in a limited time window.

All Basketball Rules: "Player Positions"

Centers: Your tallest players are typically the centers who usually hang around the basket.

Offensive: The center's target is opening for a pass and then to shoot. They're also there to block defenders, known as screening or picking, to open other players for driving till the basket for scoring. Centers are likely to receive some offensive rebounds and knocks back

Defensive: In defensive case, the center's prime duty is keeping opposite players from shooting by blocking shots and the passes in the main area. They should also garner lots of rebounds due to being taller.

Forward: Your next tallest players would most likely be your forwards. Although a forward may get called to play under the hoop, they also may get needed to serve in the corners and winds.

Offensive: Forwards are there to get free for a pass, drive for scores, taking outside shots and rebound.

Defensive: The liabilities include keeping drives from rebounding and scoring.

Guard: These usually are your shortest players and usually are extremely good at dribbling rapidly, passing and seeing the court. Their job is bringing the ball down the court and setting it up for getting offensive games.

Offensive: The main duties of a guard is dribbling, passing and setting up offensive plays. They are also expected to drive towards the goal, and being able to shoot from the perimeter.

Defensive: In terms of defense, a guard's duty is stealing passes, repelling drives towards the hoop, contesting shots, and boxing out.

All Basketball Rules: "Where To Start As A New Player or Coach?"

First, we advise that you learn the basics of basketball.

Just as any other game, regardless of your age -- whether you're a pro or a beginner -- strong fundamentals is crucial for success.

Unluckily, most people don't get what that means.

The fundamental means brushing up your little things to get better - regardless of which coach or team you represent - or which offense or defense you're symbolizing.

For instance, brushing up your shooting fundamentals would get your skills fine-tuned, regardless of where you play. Right foot alignment, hand position, leg bend, follow through, arm angle and many more are the fundamentals of shooting. These little things make difference. Stick with them.

Same applies for foot work, lay ups, passing, post play, pivoting, jump stops, blocking out and more such.

We'd advise you start off learning the appropriate technique and fundamentals of:
  • Dribbling
  • Shooting
  • Passing
  • Lay ups
  • Defense
  • Rebounding
  • Cutting
  • Jab steps
  • Jump stops
  • Pivoting
  • Footwork 
These are some of the vital  fundamentals you should master because they'd help you and your team improve, regardless of your age or situation.