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Coaching Basketball Defense

Coaching basketball defense is essential for all teams and organizations. Here is why.

Anyone can learn to play DEFENSE.

There are games when the shot is not falling. That happens. Yet a player can always play defense.

Here are some tips that I have passed on to young players.


Desire and hustle are a must for a good defensive player. You gotta love a player who never rests on defense. Any player can give effort like this on the court.

Hey - if you want to rest, rest on offense!


Balance is crucial....keep your weight over the ball of your feet!

Keep feet spread about shoulder width apart. Defense is all about foot-work.

Use a somewhat crouched position, bend the knees more than the back.

Arms should be relaxed, slightly flexed, and kept moving.

Stay between your man and the basket.

Guarding the Dribbler

Use a fake to get a person to stop their dribble when he's away from the basket.

Over play them to their strong side. Force them to go where you want them to go!

Keep palms up. Make deflection moves away from the dribblers body.

Don't be "all over" your opponent. Be deceptive. Only attempt high-percentage steals.

Guarding the Shooter

Keep both hands up and moving.

Never leave the floor until after the shooter does.

Deflect the ball as the shooter brings it up from their dribble.

Vision (Use of the eyes)

Guarding the ball: Don't look at the opponent's eyes, don't focus on the ball, LOOK AT THEIR BELLY BUTTON!

Guarding opponent without the ball: Focus on seeing your check and the ball at the same time. The closer they get to the basket, the closer you move towards your check.

Guarding the ALL-STAR Player

Don't let them get the ball - DENY the pass in to them.

Take away their favorite spot!

Coaching basketball defense is vital for developing the complete player. Take the time to reinforce these concepts. It will pay off for your team.

For more on coaching youth sports, visit RTP Sports Camps.

Kent Janz is the founder of RTP Sports Camps. Having coached basketball for 15 years, it was time to teach others to do the same. RTP Sports Camps is all about helping youth develop a love for sports. By the way, we are looking for coaches in your area!