Basketball Defense Positions
Basketball Strategies

Basketball Defense Positions – Strategies to Win Championships

Solid basketball defense is a necessity for any team winning a championship, and you want to have a variety of basketball defense positions, so you can handle a variety of situations. The best offense in the league won’t be enough if you can’t get the ball.

Look at the Lakers in the 80s – Showtime! Magic leading the break, Worthy streaking down the side for a long-armed authoritative dunk.

And if they needed to set up an offense, they had Kareem inside shooting his unstoppable sky hook, and Michael Cooper on the outside popping threes. They redefined the game of basketball into a fast-breaking, high-scoring steamroller.Basketball Defense Positions

But without solid basketball defense, they wouldn’t have been able to get the break started. So it was a good thing that they had one of the best defensive players in the league Michael Cooper.

And one of the scrappiest players in the league is Kurt Rambis, as well as the height of Kareem to rebound. The spectacular offense scored many points, but it was the solid defense that kept the other team from scoring more.

I always focus on defense at the beginning of the pre-season. Defense and conditioning, since they go hand in hand. Players need to get the ball before they can do anything with it – the better their defense is, the more often they’ll find themselves in possession of the ball.

And keep in mind that even at the professional level, the average shooting percentage is under 45% – greater than half of all shots that go up, miss. If your players can rebound on the defensive end, they cut down the ability of their opponents to score.

Of course, if your players can’t play defense, if they are slow to transition from offense to defense, you can expect the opposition’s shooting average to skyrocket as they stroll past your players on the way to the hoop. So basketball champs team discusses some ways you can set up your defense to stop your opponents and give the ball back to your team.

Defense is a part of the game that anyone, with practice, can be good at. It takes quickness, learning to position your body properly, and tenacity if you want to be considered a good defender.

The offense is something that comes naturally to most players. You can shoot or pass or have great ball control skills, but players often need to be taught how to play good defense.

We’re going to go through several aspects of defense – from positioning to footwork and steals to drawing offensive fouls – and hopefully everything in between.

Footwork / Positioning

A player who has good footwork can play with the best guards and stay with the top forwards. Making sure your body is stable and not out of control will help ensure you are in the proper position for optimum defense.

When you are defending, maintaining a static center of gravity is important. Your body should be sturdy and solid on the floor and you do this with the proper placement of your feet.

Have your feet at least shoulder-width apart. Drop you behind slightly by bending at the knees. One arm should be reaching at the player and the other should be used to maintain balance.

With this position, your body should look a lot wider than it actually is. With your feet apart and your arms in the proper position, a player will think twice about trying to drive past you.Basketball Defense

Here are a few tips to think about when you are trying to move on the court:

  • When you are moving on the court on defense, shuffle to maintain position, rather than turning your body and crossing your legs over to catch up with a player. Once you turn your body, you make your stature smaller and the offensive player can get by you a lot quicker. Plus, with the sturdier position, not crossing over and turning your body, you are in a better position to execute other defensive maneuvers like boxing out or stealing the ball
    • Always take the baseline side away from the offensive player. Position your body so your opponent can’t go baseline on you. It is easier if they go inside because it is more likely you will have defensive help there.
    • Try and stay one step ahead of the offensive player. Your movement on the court should mirror the offensive player, but you should also be ahead of them – not to the point of over-committing one way or another, but just enough to make sure they can’t go around you with a quick move.
    • The above tips were for players guarding their offensive counterparts with the ball and usually a member of the backcourt. So what do you do when you are guarding someone without the ball? Does the footwork change?

Not really. But the positioning does. Your position will likely vary, depending on where the player is on the court.

  • If you are guarding the non-ball-carrying player who is out on the perimeter, you still shuffle from place to place following where they are headed, but if they make a quick cut, you can turn your body to follow them. Keep your distance on the perimeter, because you don’t want them to receive a pass and then blow by you and drive to the hoop. You can keep your distance because if they want to shoot from three-point range, it is a much lower percentage shot than driving to the hoop for an easy layup.
  • If your offensive player is in the paint, or close to it, a half-fronting position might be the best for you. Stand close to their inside shoulder and extend your arm in front of them to block the pass. The other hand should be used to corral them and can be placed somewhere near the middle of the back.
  • Sometimes players who are defending bigger players in the key will take a full front position on those players. When this kind of defense is played it prevents most passes to the offensive player except for a careful place-lob pass.
  • Typically you can gauge how close you should be to your offensive opponent by how far they are away from the hoop. If they are playing out at the three-point perimeter, you can usually give them about four or five feet. This gives you enough space not to get beat by a drive but is also not too far to put you out of position to make any type of long-shot defense. If they are around the key, but moving in and out of the 10 to 12’ range you can usually give a cushion of 2 to 3’. If they are in the paint, you need to tighten up your defense so you are right on top of them, denying passes and setting up the block.

Shot Blocking

There is nothing more dramatic in basketball besides the slam dunk, as the shot block. The ‘stuff’ as it is referred to on the court takes good timing and proper form in order to be successful. It helps to be tall, but with the right technique, even the shorter guys can knock down a few shots.Shot Blocking

One of the biggest misconceptions of blocking a shot is swinging your arm at the ball, or ‘swatting’ once another player has taken the shot. When we get further into the technique, you will understand why swatting is one of the worst things you can do if you want to be a consistent shot blocker.

The Block

When you are ready to block a shot here’s what you have to remember. You need to keep your arm straight up and down. Not at an angle trying to create a ‘roof’ effect and certainly don’t swing your arm to try and get the big swat. Here’s why.

If your arm is straight up and down you create the greatest height possible. If you swat at the ball you create an angle in your arm that doesn’t allow for maximum height. Same if you try to put the roof on a shooter.

Picture a 10’ pole. If you lean that pole at even a 20-degree angle you probably lose three to four inches in total height. You can’t afford to lose that height when you are trying to block a shot. It can mean the difference between winning and losing.

Give yourself a chance when you are shot-blocking; make sure you are fully extended and jump straight up and don’t swat at the ball.

Stealing the Ball

The best guards are those who can help the team on defense with their quickness by stealing the ball from the offensive player. Stealing takes quick hands and good timing, but it can be risky and you can leave yourself out of position.

We’ll go over two different types of steel and give tips on executing them successfully. We’ll also give you some insight into when you should steal and when it’s best to sit back and play good defense.

Steal off the Dribble

Allen Iverson is one of the best basketball players at stealing off the dribble. He plays great defense, but he adds an extra element by being able to create offense by stealing the ball. He typically steals the ball off the dribble from guards who are not protecting the ball or those who try to get too fancy.

    • You can take advantage of players who don’t play with control, or those who don’t protect the ball. Many players will leave the ball unprotected just before they are about to pass it. Watch what the player is doing and see if they are preparing to pass. It might give you a window of opportunity.
    • Watch the players who dribble it too high. Good dribblers keep the ball waist height or lower. When a defender gets in tight, they will dribble the ball around knee height. Those players are difficult to steal the ball from. Target the players who are careless with the ball; bouncing it too high or lazily.
    • When you go to steal time your play for just before the ball leaves the ball-handlers hands for the next dribble. Try to get the ball just before or just after it hits the floor. The reason for that is you need to check the ball away from the player at its furthest point from the hand. It simply gives you the advantage. If you try to play the ball near the hand, the offensive player could easily swipe it away and get around you because you have committed to the steal. If you play it near the hand you could also get called on a hand-check foul.
    • Steal with your inside hand. For example, if you have a right-handed dribbler and they are moving to your left, your right hand is the inside hand. You should use this hand because, with the proper defensive form, you are already using this hand near the offensive player for your guard hand. If the player switches to the other side, your defensive position should also change and then it would be your left hand you should check the ball with.

Stealing off the pass

Anyone with the slightest bit of anticipation can be a great ball-stealer for their team. Passing is one of the most vulnerable events in basketball and is easy to take advantage of if your opposition is lazy or inaccurate with their passing.

  • Watch the way a team passes. A good team will make crisp passes that are short and difficult to defend. A team that lobs the ball or tries to make long telegraph passes, is the easiest team to target.
  • Make your break for a pass when the ball leaves the passer’s hands. Even on poor passing teams, the ball will travel reasonably quickly, so you need to be on your toes to intercept the pass.
  • Don’t leave yourself out of position. You need to make sure you can get to the ball if you go after it.

Good positioning draws the foul every time:

When you are tracking an opponent on defense one of the surest ways to draw an offensive foul, it to have good positioning. By shuffling your feet and making sure you are one step ahead of your opponent, you increase the likelihood of them running into you for a foul.


Rebounding Tips
Basketball Strategies

Basketball Rebounding Tips

The rebound is a lost art for most kids playing the game today. You will watch many games with kids waiting for the ball to come to them and where they are standing. Rebounding is as much or more work as shooting, posting, or defense.

There is a price to be paid for rebounding that only a few people are willing to pay. You have to be ready to react when a shot is made, be responsible for a player, and then crash hard when the ball is up at the backboard.

It is no easy task, but the team that rebounds the best wins the game – there is no question about that.

Rebounders must be the best person on the floor at reading the game. How players move around and how the ball will react on the backboard or rim. The position is essential, timing is crucial, and it is all part and parcel of reading how the play develops.

Let’s go through some aspects of rebounding tips that will make you a better player.

Boxing out

By far the most crucial element of a successful rebounder, but often the most overlooked. Players wait for rebounds to come to them; they don’t create situations where they can get the rebounds. That is what boxing out is all about — Giving yourself the best opportunity to get the rebound. It’s tough, but it is worth it.Boxing out

When you box out, you must keep a few things in mind. Your body is your biggest asset. You must use your body to your advantage to be a good rebounder. Proper positioning when you box out can mean between snaring the ball or giving it up to your opponent.

Always be aware of where the opposition players are. Often you aren’t boxing out a player covering you or who you are protecting. You box out the player who has the best chance at rebounding you.

Defensive rebound

If you are playing a man-to-man defense, you must always know where your check is. When a shot goes up, you need to find your man. Maneuver your body into a position where your hips and torso are in the way of your opposition. T

hey can’t try and get by you physically, or they will be called for a foul. The person who is appropriately boxed out is helpless.Defensive rebound

For a solid box-out position, you should have your feet shoulder-width apart, sink you’re behind a bit, and sit back in your stance. Make your body as solid as possible.

When executing the box out, get the circumference of your body (hips) into the midsection of the defender. You can use your position to drive your opponent from the basket.

When playing zone defense, you are responsible for anyone coming through your zone, including boxing them out when they are there. Sometimes you will get two or more people in your zone at any time, and you need to be able to decide which one of them is the most likely to get the rebound. That is the person you box out.

Here is a good tip when you are boxing out on defense. Create a “no-rebound” zone where you will not let anyone in. Be very conscious of anyone going in and out of that zone, and be prepared to block anyone in your zone when a shot goes up.

Your coach will never get upset at you for boxing anyone out. If you can box people out, you eliminate one possible offensive rebounder from reaching the ball. You also put yourself into a position to get the rebound.

Offensive rebound

 You still have every right to the ball on offense. You can apply the same principles of the defensive rebound to that of the offensive rebound. Boxing out is essential, but getting your body in front of the defending player may be challenging.

This is where your attention to what is going on in the game will pay huge dividends. On offense, you know where a play is going and where it will end with a shot. You can anticipate when your teammate will shoot the ball, and you can find the position to box out.Offensive rebound

Boxing out is equally important on the offensive boards as it is on the defensive side of the ball. You aren’t going to get too many rebounds if you are on the wrong side of the box.

Here are a couple of drills you can use to practice your boxing out:

Grab a partner and start as though you are covering them on defense. Have them take a shot and mentally go through the steps you need to take to get a proper position on them. Find the space to defend and get your body in the way.

Have your partner go half-speed after the rebound, so you can get used to getting position on the play, and then have them go full speed after you start getting more comfortable with making sure you are in the proper place.

You can even switch it up to try and gain an offensive position by having the shooter try and gain position after the shot.

The next drill is more of a team drill but can be done with as few as three players.

If you have an entire team practice, set up five guys in a zone defense. Have three players play the offensive side of the ball. The three offensive players should quickly move the ball around the perimeter, trying to stretch the defense out and give themselves lanes to get offensive rebounds.

The defensive players should move with the ball like in a zone defense. They should be ready to move into a box-out position when one of the offensive players takes a shot.

When the offensive player takes a shot, have them drive to the hoop to get the offensive rebound. The defensive players should have identified the player taking the shot, and they have to squeeze the shooter out of the play by boxing them out.Rebounding Tips

To make the drill more complicated, have all three offensive players crash the boards instead of just the shooter. It will force the off-side players to ensure their head is in the game by boxing out those who aren’t involved.

Another bonus drill is to see how long you can box each other out if you have just one other player with you. The offensive player must try to get the position, and the defensive player must keep him away from the basket. You do this drill with no ball.

Timing your rebound

After you have boxed your opponent out, you must ensure you time your rebound correctly. Nothing is worse than going up for a rebound too soon and having your opponent swipe the ball from over your head because you jumped too early.

But you can’t sit and wait for the ball to come to you because your opponent will grab it before you get your feet out of the cement.

Learning the proper timing is something that comes with experience and practice. You have to be able to read how the ball might react when it hits the backboard or rim; then, you must be ready to spring into action.

You want to get the ball at its highest point after it hits the backboard or rim. A good rule of thumb when timing when to go after a rebound is when it bounces off the edge, reaches the highest point off the bounce, and when you should jump.

If you try and jump for the ball right when it hits the rim when you reach the height of your jump unless you have a 45″ vertical, the ball will be at its highest point, and you will likely miss it. If you wait for it to come down after the ball reaches its apex, you are already too late, and your opponent moves the ball down the court on the fast break.

An excellent rebounding drill to help you with the timing is to take a shot from about 5 or 6′ out, purposely miss the shot and then step up and try and time your rebound. You will pop up the shot, get into a quick box-out position, and then spring to the rebound. You can do this drill on your own.Timing your rebound

Another drill you can do on your own is a common one for players at all levels of basketball.

Stand in front of the backboard, throw the ball up, and continuously jump and rebound the ball back up into the backboard. You can do this one until you are tired. This will help your timing, and it will also help your hands because you have to catch and re-release the ball each time you jump up for the rebound.

Going up for the ball

After you have position and time, jump perfectly, go up strong, and right after the ball. Put both hands in the air and grab the ball. It drives coaches crazy to see a player go up and swat at a rebound, thinking they will end up batting it to a player on their side. Just like the rule goes in football – if you can get one hand on it, you can probably get two. Catch the ball in the air and control it for your team.

A good rebounder goes to the hoop with a purpose. Within the rules of physical contact, the rebound specialist fights for position and then boxes out so they can steal rebounds.

When you go up for rebounds, you have to go hard. If you want to be good, you can’t just willy-nilly and hope the rebound comes to you. You have to go and get the rebound.