Ways & How

how to improve defense in basketball

how to improve defense in basketball

Many great basketball coaches follow this saying, “Offense may win ball games, but defense wins the championships.” Great basketball teams become successful because of their brand of tenacious and tough defense. As the offense changes from time to time in every split second of the game, defense must quickly adapt. Hence, how to improve defense in basketball remains a challenge to all basketball players every time they step on the court. Basketball defense is split into two aspects. One is individual defense, and the second is team defense. Both of these aspects must merge as one for a solid and tough defense that can win ball games. It is unforgivable for a basketball player to give up on a play. Where a player has all the opportunity to defend or in the best position to sacrifice for the sake of defense, then he must defend by all means. Defense sometimes means pain. Below are few steps on how to improve basketball defense. Whatever may be the system of defense the team employs in every game, the formula remains simple and that is to stay ahead of your opponent all the time.



  1. Basketball is an all-around physical game. You must be in tip-top shape to meet the physically exhausting demands of the game. More so when you are a star player wherein so much is expected of you. To develop strength and further condition your body, incorporate weight training and cardiovascular exercises to your workout plan. Weight training develops your muscles, and cardiovascular exercises develop the stamina and endurance that you need.

  2. Develop your footwork. It is very difficult for a player to stay with his opponent and defend if he is not agile and quick with lateral movement. This can be remedied with some footwork exercises.

  3. Develop your jumping abilities. Players can jump as high as half of their body height. By being able to jump high, you can easily block shots and get rebounds. Moreover, blocking shots may intimidate the other team. Sometimes, the game is just as psychological as it is physical. Anyone who loses confidence is more easily intimidated. When intimidation sets in, the players become tentative and passive.

    Furthermore, a rebound, whether offensive or defensive, is very important to the game. Proper boxing out secures a rebound. Though you do have to jump high just to get a rebound, there are times when being able to do so can give you an edge in getting a rebound. Good rebounding skills are necessary for every basketball player, both on defense and offense.

  4. Stay with your opponent and challenge every shot. A good defense does not mean that the offensive team will not score at all. What matters is that the defense must challenge the offense. Every time a shot is made, try to block the shot. If you fail to block the shot, then at least, block his line of sight with your hand to distract the shooters.

  5. Work as a team. The team’s defense is what matters most. The offense runs plays to confuse the defending team. However, an excellent team defense can neutralize every set of play from the offensive team.

You need not wonder anymore on how to improve defense in basketball. Follow the steps above to improve your team’s defense. Agility, footwork, strength, and conditioning all come into play as the defense adapts to each offensive play. The defense may shift from man-to-man to zone and vice-versa. But to win, the defense must not collapse. Playing good defense will translate into good offense.  

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