Basketball Defense – What Coaches Want to See!
The ability to play good basketball defense is more important than most players think. Good defensive skills not only will get you on the team, they’ll get you into the starting line-up.
Everybody wants to shoot, and everyone wants ankle-breaking dribbling moves, and why not? It’s the scorers and the moves that get the “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowds, that get most of the glory and make up most of the highlight reels on the evening newscast.
And of course, scoring is important – you can’t win a game without points on the board. So don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing bad about working to become good shooters and good ball handlers.
My point is, don’t neglect defense. Teams need good defenders. If you look at every team that’s won big championships and national titles, you would be hard pressed to find one that didn’t have good defense – either a good overall defensive team, or at least one or two defensive specialists.
A good coach looks for good defensive players during tryouts, and spends a great amount of time at the start of preseason practices focusing on improving the team’s defensive skills. So even if your offensive skills are only so-so, good defensive skills will get you noticed. And if you already have good offensive skills, having weak defensive skills can make you a liability to the team.
So, how do you improve your defensive skills?
- Understand your Role on Defense. Man to man defense is a must. Even if you are playing a zone, the principles of man to man will be applied. So know how to play man to man defense, but also realize that you have to see what else is happening on the floor in case one your teammates gets beaten and you need to help out (something else a coach looks for when choosing a team)
- Agility and Quickness. Important skills for offense, but even more important for defense. You need to be able to react to your player’s moves, beat your player to the spot on the cut, have that burst of speed to pick off passes, and basically be able to hound your man until he gives up the ball. Improve your agility, your speed, your quickness, and you improve your defense.
- Be Hungry. Always be hungry for the ball. Aggression is perhaps the ability most likely to determine how well you do and how far you go. Plenty of players with good skills but no aggression have been dropped off rosters, but I will bet that few players with aggression but relatively weak skills have been cut. Teaching someone to shoot is not too difficult; teaching someone to be aggressive, to steal the pass, to run down the ball – that’s more difficult. And coaches will keep you around just for showing that heart.
If you can improve in those three areas – good fundamentals, speed and quickness, and aggression – you will definitely see an improvement in your defensive game. And your team and your coach will definitely appreciate it.
We’ve all heard the saying: “Good offense wins games; good defense wins championships.”
Every player and coach I know wants to be a champion.
Fitz has been playing and coaching the game of basketball for over twenty five years. Beside the skills specific to the game, his interests lie in developing the athletic skills that transfer across all sports – like speed, quickness, and a good vertical jump. You can read more of his advice on how to improve your game on his website, http://www.smart-basketball-training.com.
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Improving Basketball Skills : Basketball Reverse Layup
The reverse layup in basketball is a great shot to use when the defense is playing low, and to master the reverse layup, make sure to know where the opposing team members are. Learn to interchange hands while doing the basketball reverse layup in this free video from a semiprofessional basketball player.
Improving Basketball Skills :
Basketball Step Back Jump ShotThe step back jump shot in basketball is done by brushing shoulders with a defender to get them to retreat and then charging the basket to shoot and score. Fake out a defender with the basketball step back jump shot in this free video from a semiprofessional basketball player.
Improving Basketball Skills : Exercises to Increase Vertical Leap
Increase vertical leaps in basketball by doing calf raise exercises until the muscles start to burn. Learn how many repetitions of calf raise exercises to do for increased height in a vertical leap with this free video from a semiprofessional basketball player.
Six Basketball Defense Tips – Defending the Basketball
What stands out most in the minds of basketball fans around the world is the flashy T-Mac drive, spin and dunk or the fierce dunk over three defenders by Shaq, but it has been said that defense wins games. The Detroit Pistons of recent times were a prime example of that. Although they definitely could score, it was their swarming defense that won them the NBA title.
Basketball Defense Tip #1 – Defense is a state of mind, an attitude. Your desire, hustle and level of energy are as much important if not more than your skill. You should be a proactive player, not a reactive player.
Your main focus is always an urgent “get that ball back”. The attitude, concentration and teamwork you bring to the game are key elements to success. The skills of defense can be taught; only you can develop the desire to win.
Basketball Defense Tip #2 – Transition play is one of the essentials of defense. You must get back to your defensive assignment quickly. Avoid letting the offense beat you down court. All too often players get lazy or waste time arguing a no-call; don’t let that happen to you. Hustle back down court and get that ball back!
Basketball Defense Tip #3 – Another essential is defending with a purpose. Mainly, prevent easy shots and get that ball back (heard that somewhere?) through steals or rebounds. Make the offense earn their points. Make them score under pressure.
Basketball Defense Tip #4 – Always apply pressure and stay low. Usually your head will be level with the ball-handler’s chest. Keep yourself positioned between the basket and the ballhandler. Wave your hands, make noises, anything to distract your opponent. You can even fake body movements such as pretending to charge the ball. The main thing is to stay low and apply pressure.
Basketball Defense Tip #5 – When guarding a player with the ball, always be ready. You should have one foot forward, the foot opposite of the ball-handler’s most dominant hand. If he is right handed, your left foot will be forward along with your left hand extended out, palm up. This will allow you to quickly flick at and steal the ball.
Usually you will keep that lead hand at whatever level the ball is; if the ball is low, so is your lead hand. If the ball is being held high, turn your palm so it facing the ball. You should also be waving your off hand so you can prevent the passing lane.
Basketball Defense Tip #6 – Position yourself between the ball-handler and the basket at all times. Cut off his path by maintaining your position between him and the basket by sliding over and staying in front of him. Don’t cross your feet.
If the ball handler gets by you, sprint to reestablish your defensive position between the ball-handler and the basket. A player without the ball should be able to sprint faster than a player dribbling the ball. Keep a cushion between you and the ball-handler. If he tries a spin move or reverse and you are too close, you could end up with an unnecessary foul. Always prevent penetration first, then pressure the ball.
If he stops his dribble, attack the ball while staying in your defensive stance. Try to force a bad pass or you can back off a little if the ball handler is out of shooting range, but always avoid the unnecessary fouls.
There are a number of different basketball defense tips, techniques and drills. Each position has its own special requirements, but the one common denominator is to prevent the offense from scoring easy or uncontested points. Always apply pressure by staying low and positioning yourself between the ball-handler and the basket. If you can master that you will be well on your way to earning a nickname like
“The Glove” (Gary Payton) and winning defensive player of the year!
Matt & Dave run http://www.basketball-plays-and-tips.com/bbdefensetips and enjoy teaching basketball players and coaches more about the plays, drills, fundamentals and coaching tips that result in individual and team success. For our free report, “5 Keys to Discovering the Successful Coach Inside You”, plus two additional player/coach reports, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Hope you have learned about basketball defense skills and how they can help you and your team win.
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