How to Play Defensive in Basketball

Once a renowned football coach said,

“a good attacking brings you a lot of points, but a good defense helps you to win the match”.

It doesn’t matter what will be your game strategy, you should have some good defensive performers. Especially, if you are planning for a defensive match, you must have best defensive performers.

Albeit, a normal team always tries to maintain balance among defense, midfield and attack, sometimes they need to go for a defensive mindset. Here is a list of scenarios when a team goes for a defensive match.

  • When a team has already made enough points and doesn’t want to take risk of making points against them.
  • When a team tends to avoid any debacle or want to draw the game.
  • When a not so good team plays against a top class team in that team’s home ground and wants to draw the game.
  • When a team prioritizes the winning or losing with the gap of a certain number of points.
  • ...they start playing a defensive game.   

Whatever your condition is we will teach you how you or your team can play defensive in basketball.

Focus on A Defensi​​​​ve Format

Like football and cricket, basketball also has its some gaming formations. If your team decides to play a defensive game, make a game plan focusing on your defensive strengths rather than your attacking strengths.

Deploy More Players ​​​​in Defense 

A defensive game means concentrating more on defense than attack. So, if you have already decided your team going to play a defensive game, deploy more players on defense. At this situation, you can substitute your regular attacking players with experienced cautious players.

Focus on The Key Opponent Players

Before even arriving on the match day, find out and make a list of best players of the opponent team. Discussing with your coach, make a plan to stop them and give them as less opportunity to score as possible. Remember, a good player has the ability to change the result of the game.

Practice Defensive Techniques

When a player plays his defensive role, he is always in the risk of committing fouls. So before the match work more on defensive skills, most importantly how to use those skills without violating any law of basketball.  Indeed, a great defensive player is who can stop rivals legally.

Learn to Scarifies

If you find yourself in a position where you can’t stop opposing players without committing hard fouls, just let him go. Because it is better to let him go for 1 point rather making an opportunity for him to score 4 points. You know the reward of a penalty can be 4 points.

Stay in Defensive Stance 

Most of the players have a bad habit of being in defensive position only when they play on-ball basketball defense. But when they play off-ball defense, they go out of stance and resting! That can’t be the playing mind of a great performer. Don’t do this when you are assigned a defensive role. Great defensive performer stays on the defensive stance all over the game.

Talk with Your Teammates 

According to an American Basketball coach,

                   There has never been a great ‘silent’ defense” – Del Harris

During the game constantly talk with your defensive mates, share your plan for movement, positioning and attacking all over the game.

Pass Safely 

As your main goal is playing not an attacking game, so pass to the safest teammate. Because you are not playing for making more points, so the more you keep ball possession the less opponent will get the chance of attacking. And always go for the possession once you lose it.

Focus on Forcing a Difficult Shot 

During defensive mode always try to focus on forcing your opponent team players to shoot from unsafe zones. When you force the player, he will not get position to take the shot from a safe zone that makes him points. Mark the players and never allow them to take unsuccessful moves.

In Conclusion 

To me, defensive playing is good, but too much defensive is not good. A team with a defensive mindset should also give some focus on the attack. Why?

Because your team can dominate the game in two ways: stopping the opponent players from scoring and keeping them busy with continuous attacks. Even a solely defensive game should have some attacking moments.

However, all the above-written words were my opinion and suggestions to give you some ideas about defensive planning. I think a basketball coach will be the best option to decide when to play attacking and when to play defensive. You should follow your coach decisions and do your best from your role.

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