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.

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