How To Play Good Individual Defense in Basketball

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How To Play Good Individual Defense

Individual Defense. Credit: / Google Images

Basketball announcers often stress that defense is one part of the game that you can control. It doesn't really have its ups or downs or depend on whether you are hot or not. A lot of defense depends on effort; It basically is dependent on hard work, determination, hustle, technique, and position.

One way to contribute to a team without scoring a ton of points is to be a solid defensive player. There was always room for someone who can hustle, come up with a loose ball, and "fit in" with the team defense. Basic defensive technique are not complicated and you don't have to be multi talented to succeed at that end of the floor. All that is truly needed to succeed on defense is the willingness to get the job done. Here are some key individual defensive techniques:

  • It all starts with your defensive stance. Your feet should be spread shoulder length, knees bent, and back straight. It's almost like you are sitting down!
  • You are low to the ground and slide without crossing your legs
  • You are on the "balls of your feet" to move as quickly as you can
  • I like to have one hand in what would be the dribbling lane to deflect dribbles, but never reach for the ball. It will make you be off balance
  • Your balance and reaction is everything, that is why you slide without reaching.
  • Try to keep your head on the ball to make your offensive player spin dribble.
  • Always put as much pressure on the ball as you can
  • When your player takes a shot, keep one hand in the player's face. You don't need to block the shot. If the player is right handed, use your left hand. If the player is left handed, use your right.

This article does not focus on, or discuss team defense, helping out, or proper rotations. Those are all extremely important aspects to defense however, and must also be worked on individually. These are simple defensive techniques anyone can learn. No matter what your level of offensive ability, anyone can play solid defense with heart and hustle. 

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How To Play Good Individual Defense

The Fundamentals of Solid Individual Defense. Credit: / Google Images

Darian shows a good defensive stance with her knees bent. She is in an athletic position with one hand ready to poke at the ball without reaching. Her balance and sliding is key.

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How To Play Good Individual Defense

Coaching Youth Basketball. Credit: / Google Images

This is actually something to be corrected.  Notice how Darian is straight up, not low to the ground in an athletic position.  She is not exerting pressure on the ball at all.  She is telling her man by her position that this will be an easy day for him!

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How To Play Good Individual Defense

Women's Basketball: Drill helps team's individual defense. Credit: / Google Images

Stay in front of your man. Keep yourself between him and the basket and pressure the ball.