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3 defensive strategies for basketball

Updated on March 2, 2013
positioning is everything in defense
positioning is everything in defense

Body Language

When playing the ball-me-man defense, one may not be able to see both the ball and the man at all times. So, is it better to keep the ball in sight or the man that is being defended? If a player keeps his eye on the ball and loses sight of his man, the offensive man may make a cut to the basket for an easy shot. Whereas, if the player had kept his man in sight, he could have guarded his man and kept him from cutting to the basket. Another reason that the defender should stick with his man is so he can deflect passes that are thrown to his opponent. The defender must stay on his man so there will be no easy baskets. This is where body langpage comes in. When a defender cannot see the ball, he can do two things. He can check the opponent’s eyes to see where they are looking, more than likely they will be looking where the ball is, or he can watch the opponent’s hands and if he is moving them forward as if to catch the ball then he can stick his hands in between the opponent’s hand$c deflect the ball. If the defender is not close enough to deflect the ball, then he must still try to defend him enough to force the player to shoot a guarded shot and hopefully miss. By being able to see the offensive player at all times, the defender will be able to defend the basket, deflect passes, box out, and create turnovers.

The 11 defense

A defensive strategy is very important when a team is facing a good opponent. In this case, the opponent was an all-around good guard. The coach tried using different defenses in the first game, and it worked but was not good enough. Then the assistant coach came up with the “11 defense” to be used in the second game. This defense uses a variation of the triangle-and two and the box-and one. In this play, the three biggest players will form a triangle around the free-throw lane. Their responsibility is to see the whole floor, stay active, and communicate with each other. They will also front the post, play help side, and sag into the driving and passing lanes while not taking more than two steps outside the lane. Since the middle is covered, the coach can put his best defender on the opponent’s good player. This defender will stay on his man at all times while trying to deny him the ball and pressure him. By constant pressure and boxing-out the opponent, one can easily tire him and force him to take bad shots.

The next position is to be played by one who is quick and smart. This man will play the ball the entire time it is in the front court and is to be called the Rover. His job is to stop penetration, double-team the good opponent whenever he gets the ball, and help out whenever the ball goes into the post. He is also wanted to switch positionswith the top man in the triangle whenever the ball is passed cross-court or skip-passed to keep from becoming exhausted. With practice, this defense will affect the game playing of the good opponent.

Going Small Down Low

If a team likes to attack from down low, “Tap” is a good play to run. This offensive play is run from a one-two-two man offense. The forwards stand in front of the guards at about the middle of the lane, and as the guards break toward the lower wings, they tap the forwards. The tap sends the forwards up to a high wing position which causes the defenders to want to follow their man to the wing. With the defender out of the low post, the point guard can pass the ball to the forward at the high wing who then passes it to the guard who is now straddling the lane line for the pass.

If it happens that a defender is covering the high wing and the big defender stays down low, the guard can drift out to the corner of the court. He will then have a good shot if the big defender stays in the iow post. Another option would be for the high wing, after he has passed the ball to the low wing, to cut to the basket,

If the guards can cut, or fake and shoot, this offense will be hard to defend. “Tap” can also be run with only one guard tapping his man and the other guard using cuts and screens. Any number of offensive movements will help this offense run well.


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