Defensive stance and strategies (Week 3)

In Week 3, we will discuss some tips to have a better defensive stance and strategies for defensive plays.

5 Tips for better defensive stance

Tip 1 - Never lose your balance When you are guarding the ball, you need to:
  • Stay on your feet and do not go for shot fakes.
  • Do not lunge for the ball and get off balance.
  • Stay in a wide stance. If your feet get too close together, you will lose balance.
  • Stay in a low and athletic stance. If you stand upright, you will more easily lose balance.
  • Take short steps when sliding. If your feet come too close together, you will lose balance.
Tip 2 - If the ball is below the mid-section, put your hand above the ball. This prevents the offensive player from putting it in shooting position. Tip 3 - If the ball is in shooting position, put your hand on the ball. This will stop the player from shooting and you never have to leave your feet. Tip 4 - If the ball is above the head, place your hands under the ball and flip up. This keeps you out of foul trouble (because most refs only call fouls if you swing downward) and it also keeps the player from bringing the ball down to shooting position.   Tip 5 - Keep your head lower than the offensive player's head. That way you're getting underneath the offensive player and will be in good position to slide your feet or take a charge.

Defensive strategies

During this session, we will also explore the 2 main type of defensive strategies, man-to-man and zone defense and explain it is effective to use them.


The man-to-man defense involves all 5 defensive players on the court being allocated one opposition player who they’re accountable for defending whenever they’re on defense. Of course, there will be times when players switch opponents or help each other on defense, but for the most part, each player is responsible for one player from the opposition.

Zone defense

Each zone defender is responsible for guarding an area of the floor, or "zone", and any offensive player that comes into that area. Zone defenders move their position on the floor in relationship to where the ball moves.

Zone defense is often effective in stopping dribble penetration and one-on-one moves.

Basic pointers for all zone defenses

1. No lay-ups. Try to keep the ball outside. Double-team the ball in the paint.

2. Be vocal, talk to each other.

3. Move quickly, adjust your position relative to the movement of the ball. Move quickly on the flight of the ball, as soon as it leaves the passer's hands.

4. Get your hands up and out.

5. Close-out on the shooter with high hands, to pressure the shot and the pass. We are less concerned with dribble-penetration since the zone creates too much congestion inside for the dribble-drive. 6. Stay in your defensive stance. 7. No fouls. 8. No second shots. Be aggressive rebounders.

9. When the offense dribble penetrates, quickly close the gap.

10. Get to know your opponent and adjust. Over-protect against the best shooters, and sag off the guy who never shoots.

11. Trap the corners.

12. Keep pressure on the ball, but also protect the paint and force the outside, low-percentage shot.

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