Paying attention to detail on the defensive end of the court is another big key to becoming a great defender. It is important to realize the tendencies of the person you are guarding. What habits do they have? Do they get frustrated easily? Do they like to go to the basket with their right hand as oppose to their left? Do they shy away from you when you begin to play physical? These are the types of things you must begin to notice when playing defense on your opponent. As soon as you pick up on things like this, you will be able to alter your assignments game and control them, in a sense. Knowing their weaknesses and learning how to expose them is a skill that is worth taking time out of your day to improve on. Also, instead of waiting until the day you play against them, try watching game film on them ahead of time. This will enable you to get a head start and develop a game plan of how you are going to stop them. The video below includes a few more tips from NBA legend, Michael Jordan.
If you want to become a great defender, you must understand all the aspects of defense. This includes being able to help your teammates out in times of need. In order to accomplish this you must be able to see your man, and the basketball at all times. As I’ve stated in previous post within this series, using your peripheral vision is a big key to becoming the best defender you can be. When you learn how to use this correctly you will be able to see your man and the ball (and everything else in between) with no problem at all! Refrain from keeping your head on the swivel. When you swing your head from side to side you are putting yourself in a dangerous position to lose sight of your man. Use your peripheral vision to see the what’s happening around you, and react to it as it occurs. Below is a video that includes a few more tips:
When playing defense it is important to know where your man is, and where the ball is. When you fail to do both at the same time you limit your abilities as a defender. If you are crowding your man it is impossible to help your teammates out. If you are overly concerned about where the ball is, it is impossible to know where your man is. This is why it is so vital that you see both! Now you may be asking yourself, “How do I see both?” The answer to this question is: Peripheral vision. In laments terms use your side view! By doing this you enable yourself to see both the man and the ball at the same time. It is important to always see both because if you lose sight of either one for a split second you could give up points to the opposing team. It is crucial to stay focused and aware. No matter what level of basketball you play on, you can always afford to work at this skill. Master it, and you will be one step closer to being the best defender you can be!
Generally the aspect of basketball that matters the most gets overlooked. It is the determining factor of whether or not your team will win or lose, and whether you get embarrassed or not. Do you know which aspect of the game I am referring to? That’s right, defense!
Defense is a VERY important part of the game of basketball. Surprisingly, though it gets overlooked a lot! As a player you must understand the importance of playing defense. If you can’t keep your man in front of you I can guarantee that you will be on the bench more often than you will be on the court. Here are a few tips to help you play defense to the highest of your capabilities:
There are a lot of things that can help you become a great defender, but the number one thing is your attitude. Attitude is so important because if you want to play defense you will, if you don’t you won’t. It’s really that simple! When you decide that you are going to prevent your man from scoring, or, from even touching the ball that is exactly what will happen because you will do everything in your power to make sure they don’t score!
When you are playing defense you must anticipate what your man wants to do next, and prevent them from doing so. Stay ahead of the game mentally. If you fail to anticipate your assignments next move, you will find yourself wasting a lot of energy recovering and trying to “catch up” to the ball handler.
Giving extra effort on defense can take you a long way, not to mention earn a roster spot. When you are continuously giving effort on the defensive end the man you are guarding will grow tired of you, and become frustrated. Once you see frustration in their eyes and body language, keep it up! They will more than likely take themselves out of the game, which is great for you!
Incorporate these few tips into your defensive arsenal and your game will be taken to the next level. Remember it takes consistent repetition and practice to improve. As long as you practice, you have nothing to worry about. Below are a few more defensive tips from a former NBA player, and great defender Bruce Bowen:
Do you play for a demanding coach? Do you do exactly what your coach asks you to do when you are out on the court? If you’ve answered yes to both of these questions, chances are you pay attention to detail very well. This is an excellent trait to have as a player and as a person in general, although this trait does have a downside. When you are on the court it is very important to have what your coach wants in mind, but it is also just as important to improvise when you are playing. You must be able to read and react to the game as it happens around you. One of the worst explanations a coach wants to hear from their player after making a mistake is “well I was just doing what you told me to do.” Of course your coach wants you to do what he/she wants, but they also want you to make decisions on your own as well! Don’t be a robot by just focusing on doing what your coach wants you to do. Instead be a basketball player and integrate what your coach wants accomplished into the flow of the game! Think the game as you are playing it, react to different situations that occur, and you will be one step closer to becoming the player your coach wants you to be!
Many players wonder about what mind-state they should be in on game day. Some have been told to be overly serious and focused, while others have been told to be more relaxed and poised. What is my advice to you? Do what ever works! Everyone is different, we all have different personalities. What works for one may not work for another. Personally I prefer to be loose and relaxed before a game, but for someone else that may not work! The bottom line is do what ever it is that you need to do to be mentally prepared for your game. Whether that’s listening to your favorite songs, or reading your favorite book or maybe even going for a jog. What ever it is that prepares you to be ready for game time, do it!
As a member of your basketball team it is important to make sure that you always have a “team first” attitude! The easiest way to become the “bad apple” of the bunch is to be selfish and have a “me first” mentality when playing the game of basketball. It is important to “Swallow Your Pride” and put your teammates first in all situations. Think carefully about what you do on and off the court because the decisions you make not only affect you, they also affect your teammates. This same approach needs to be applied when your coach tells you something that you do not agree with. Instead of going against what he is suggesting, trust his judgment and listen! Swallowing your pride takes a lot of strength, and is a skill that is developed overtime. It doesn’t happen overnight so be sure to work hard at mastering it everyday!