The game of basketball is a fun and exciting team sport that has thrilled and entertained a lot of fans and players for many decades. Just like all sports, the game requires you to outscore your opponents in order to win. This means that a team needs to be good offensively in order to generate more points than their opponents. Although this may be true, it does not necessarily always happen during games. This is because one key to winning games (or even championships as they say) is having a good defense. If your team has good defense, then no matter how good the offensive capability of your opponents are, it will likely cut their scoring ability thus providing your team an easier time catching up or taking the lead.
There are many players and even coaches who takes defense for granted and never takes time to practice and develop it. This is perhaps what separates successful teams from the not so successful teams. If a team concentrates too much on offense and never on defense, then their opponents will likely have an easier time scoring points on them. In addition, since all they concentrate on is offense, if they ever encounter a team with a good defense, they will likely struggle in making any field goals while their opponents are able to easily score on them, thus, an advantage for their opponents. After having said that, it only makes perfect sense that every player on the team practice defense to, at the very least, inhibit their opponents from grabbing any easy field goals.
In order to strengthen the defense of a team, you need practice defending plays and game scenarios at real game speed. This will enable players to know what to do and how to defend against it when that sort of situation arrives. In fact, practicing such situation over and over will help develop muscle memory allowing players to act instinctively instead of thinking what to do. Practicing drills will also help to develop the defense of any player.
Six Simple tips on Basketball Defense on how you can increase your defense.
- Keep Your Knees Bent and Head Low – when guarding your man, it is important that you practice in keeping your knees bent and head low as this lowers your center of gravity. The main reason behind this is very simple, if you lower your center of gravity to a certain point, it provides you with quick reaction time and it also prevents you from easily getting knocked over.
- Balance on Your Heel – while it is true that balancing on your forefoot allows you quick feet reaction time, it does also make you concentrate in stabilizing your balance and not on your opponent as you tend to lean forward with this approach. This makes it important for a player to balance themselves on their heel while guarding so you can properly watch or keep an eye on your man and still be able to react quickly by anticipating your opponents movement.
- Hand Position – hand position is very important in basketball as it is both different when used in offense and in defense. By learning the variety of offensive moves using their hands, a defensive player will be able to determine the move the offensive player is trying to do, thus, take necessary defensive measures. For example, if the ball is under the mid-section (like the initial pump before a jump shot), you need to keep your hand raised atop to prevent the opponent from getting into his shooting position. Another would be when the opponent has the ball raised above his head. Waiving your arms up and down will make it difficult for him to make an effective pass.
- Putting Pressure – during the game, it’s not just you and your team that should be on pressure but also your opponents. When on the defense, cutting down your opponent’s scoring by at least 50 percent through missed shots, steals, and blocked shots while at the same time gaining possession of the ball and scoring each time will certainly put a lot of pressure on your opponents. Once your opponents are feeling the pressure, they are likely to fumble and miss more shots.
- Shot Blocking – this is an aspect of defense where you try to reject any shots made by your opponent in mid air. This can be accomplished by having one or both hands straight up in the air and jumping straight up as soon as the ball is released to be able to swat it or tip it to change its trajectory to create a missed shot. Just make sure to be wary of fake pumps as you might be suckered into jumping up even when the ball is not released by the opponent. When jumping to block a shot, always keep in mind to jump straight up and never at an angle as this will help you avoid committing any fouls.
- Blocking the Path – when you are in offense, oftentimes, you need to get passed your defender in order to get near the hoop for an easier shot. This is also true for your opponents, because they need to get passed you to effectively execute their shot. This is why when you are on the defense, make sure to stand your ground to block the path of your opponent. Although your opponent may have an arsenal of moves to get passed you such as back spin or cross-over dribbling, try to stay low, wider your stance, and raise your hand sideways to make it at least difficult for your opponent to get passed you. If you opponent does make those move, take a quick step backward during his move so you maintain your position in between the offensive player and the hoop. In case the opponent does get passed you, make a dash for it so you can quickly get in between that player and the hoop so you can reestablish your defensive position. Should your opponent stop dribbling, try and attack the ball to force your opponent to make a bad pass, particularly when he is not within his shooting range.