Let’s Talk Defensive Stance Basketball

There are two important facets of defensive stance basketball for the individual player. They are footwork and vision, both of which are explained in this article.

Three major steps must be mastered:
1. The approach step.
2. The slide step.
3. The retreat step.

The approach step is used when moving into proper defensive position as the opponent receives the ball.

The slide step is used when guarding an opponent moving laterally, vertically, or obliquely across the court.

The retreat step is used to defense an opponent on a drive attempt for the basket.

The Approach Step. As the opponent receives the ball in scoring range, the defensive must advance quickly into defensive position. His body must be low and his weight distributed on both feet. The advance is made by a quick and almost simultaneous slide of both feet forward. The rear foot never advances in front of the right. The number of approach steps needed will depend on the distance the player is away from his opponent.

The Slide Step. As the opponent moves across the court, the defensive player brings both feet on a line parallel with the opponent. Neither foot is in advance of the other. The body is again crouched with the weight equally distributed on both feet.

If the defensive player moves to his right, the first movement is a move of the left foot to a position close to the right. As the left foot touches the floor, the right foot is moved approximately 20 inches to the right. The movement of the right foot follows the movement of the left foot so quickly that it is almost simultaneous.

Successive movements of the left and right feet follow to allow the defensive player to remain in position with the movement of the offensive player. Of course, if the movement of the defensive player is to his left, the initial step will be made with the right foot.

The Retreat Step. If the opponent makes a drive or cut for the basket, the retreat step must be used. If the defensive player has his right foot advanced and the offensive drive is to the defensive player’s left, the oblique slide step is all that is necessary. However, if the drive is to the defensive player’s right, the defensive player must shift his body approximately 90 degrees. After the body shift has been made, the oblique slide step will be used.

Vision is as important to defensive stance basketball as to offensive play. Proper vision utilization allows the defensive to see both his opponent and the ball at the same time. In addition, it enables him to see offensive screens and defensive situations that may require his help.

Peripheral vision is important. Players with good eyesight should be able to see action within an area almost 180 degrees.

If the defensive player is guarding an opponent with the ball, he should focus his eyes on the offensive player’s belt or mid-section. This is very important because the mid-section is the only part of his body the offensive player cannot use in faking. By use of peripheral vision, the defensive player should be able to see action both to his left and right.

If the defensive player is guarding an opponent without the ball, he should focus his eyes on a spot approximately midway between his opponent and the ball. His peripheral vision will allow him to see both his opponent and the ball, an important requirement for man-for-man defensive play.

Defensive Hints
1. Keep the knees bent, the rear low, and the back almost straight, the head erect.

2. Stay off the heels.

3. Do not cross the feet.

4. Watch the opponent’s belt.

5. Never leave the floor until after the opponent has gone into the air for his shot.

6. Don’t turn your head to look for the ball.

7. Block opponents cutting into the scoring area near the basket.

8. Screen the opponent off the board on rebound attempts.

9. Do not let the opponent receive the ball near the basket.

10. Talk on defense. Don’t be a silent sister.

Keep practicing your defensive stance basketball.

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