Defending Your Goal

The second most important part of the game is defense. Obviously scoring is the object of the game, so stopping the other team from scoring is obviously just as important. Great players and teams are usually great defenders. The greatest teams and players are those teams and players that are good or great overall. The best player on the team is usually the team's best scorer and defender. The best player on a team usually guards the opponent's team best player.

All good defenders know that hard work and maximum effort is needed in order to be effective. Nothing gets done defensively if you don't give a hundred percent effort. If you can commit yourself you will be a good defender. And with a few tips you can eventually become a great defender.

Some basic fundamentals of defense are that the defender must try to make shots, passes and dribbling a difficult thing for the offensive player to execute. In order for a defender to do this the defender must get in the offensive players space and remain extremely active in trying to take the ball from the offensive player. Also the defender should anticipate passes for steals and shots for blocks.

Now I'm going to mention a few tips on how to improve your defensive skills. First you want to work on your defensive stance. To get into the proper defensive stance start by spreading your legs and crouch somewhat like a crab. Then open your arms wide and use wave your hands up and down blocking possible passing lanes. A good rule of thumb in basketball for a defender is to keep your head lower than the guy you are guarding.

You want to keep your opponent close but not to close because if you get to close the offensive player gains an advantage and can in turn run right by you. In addition to that if you give your opponent too much space he or she can just jump and shoot over you. So work on finding a good balance so that you can keep your opponent off balance. Always keep your opponents guessing by making him or her think that you might disrupt their next shot, dribble or pass.

As a defender you know that the player with the ball could only do one of three things: pass, shoot or dribble to the left or right and that's it. So use that to your advantage and try to anticipate and overplay what your opponent might do next. If you notice that your opponent prefers to dribble with a certain hand adjust defensively and make your opponent dribble with their weak hand which can lead to a bad pass or an easy steal.

If the player your guarding picks up their dribble then you can get close and keep your arms up to prevent a shot or deflect a pass. Remember once a player picks up their dribble they can't dribble again. They can either choose to shoot or pass.