Coaching Basketball Defense

basketball defense

Learn how to play tough, smart basketball defense.

Coaching basketball is made easy with these helpful tips and popular drills for children that focus on defensive fundamentals.

How would you like to learn how to play the type of defense that intimidates and shuts down your opponent? The good news is… YOU can!

Defense in basketball is 90% desire and 10% ability

There are no excuses...

Even if you're not the quickest or tallest player on the court, you can make up for your physical limitations by working hard and playing smart.

Defense is a funny thing because just by turning up your intensity and aggressiveness you already become a better player.

The working hard part is up to you, but I can help you with the playing smart.

16 Basketball Drills for Children & Advanced Players

Try some fun competitive basketball defense games!

defense wins championships

If you're coaching basketball and want some help to teach defensive fundamentals, you might be interested in the following topics:

20 Keys to Smart, Aggressive Defense

On-the-Ball Defense: Basic Defensive Stance

Defensive Basketball Terms

When I watch elementary kids learning how to play the game, it doesn't take long to notice that their basketball defense needs a lot of help.

But that's to be expected.

Learning any new skill takes time and practice.

Defense in basketball is especially challenging because a lot of it feels pretty awkward at first, and some of the fundamentals go against your natural instincts at times.

Here's what I mean:

  • Good basketball defense requires you stay down in a low stance that can get pretty uncomfortable at times.
defense in basketball

It's a lot more comfortable to play defense standing up, so your legs don't get so tired.

As soon as you straighten your legs, your offensive player will blow by you.

  • Good defense requires keeping your body in a position that allows you to see the ball AND your player at the same time without having to turn your head.

It seems natural and a lot easier to turn your head and follow the ball with your eyes every time it's passed across the court.

As soon as you turn and lose sight of your player, she'll be gone.

  • Good defense in basketball requires you to stay open, so you can see everything happening on the court around you.

It seems natural to turn and face your offensive player, so you don't lose him. 

As soon as you turn your back to the ball, you have a chance of getting knocked in the head with it, and you won't know if a teammate needs help.

  • Good basketball defense requires you to have quick hands that are constantly harassing the dribbler by trying to knock the ball away with palms facing up.

When you're guarding the dribbler, you'll be tempted to slap down on the ball to try and steal it.

As soon as you slap down, you'll be called for a foul.

coaching basketball

These are just a few of the seemingly "little things" that are much more important than you might think.They are the small details that separate good defensive players and teams from the rest.

There are way too many of these little defensive points to mention on this site. For additional coaching tips, check out the highly recommended books and collections of basketball drills I've posted on this page.

Whether you're learning how to play basketball or how to coach basketball defense, you'll find the following topics very helpful:

On-the-Ball Defense

Help-Side Defense

Denying the Pass

Guarding the Post

Screen Defense

Transition Defense

Team Defense

Man-to-Man Defense

Zone Defense

To help increase your defensive foot speed, try out some of our basketball agility drills.

Once the shot goes up, you want to make sure and secure the rebound. Check out some helpful rebounding tips and some rebounding drills that will take your game to the next level!

And when you get the steal, you need to be able to dribble the ball down the floor quickly and sink the breakaway lay-up!

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