Four Ways a Defense Can Guard You and How You Counter


The Four Ways a Defense Can Guard You

As you know, at every Elite Basketball Training skill development workout, I strive to develop your basketball skills as well as teach the game of basketball. Learning the game will help basketball players build up their basketball IQ. They will know more about how defenses are playing them, where and how they should cut based on this, and how they can counter the defense once they have caught the ball. Knowing this information will ultimately make for a much more efficient and effective basketball player on the court. That being said, there are really only four ways a defense can guard you.  They are:

  1. Play in your face, guarding you tight.
  2. Play an arm’s length away.
  3. Force you to your right.
  4. Force you to your left.

Knowing this information will give you an understanding of not only how the defense is guarding you but also how you can counter that defense with specific offensive moves.

Offensive Moves That Counter the Defense

Knowing how to and being able to counter a defense as an individual player will make your own personal offense and the team offense click. You, as a player, will be able to break free of defenders and create space for yourself to get your own shot. Furthermore, getting into space with the basketball will put pressure on the team defense, forcing them to rotate and ultimately leaving one or more of your teammates open.  Looking at each example of how a defense can guard you, we can break down the best and most efficient counter moves to use. If a defense is playing up and pressuring you (ie. guarding you tight) there are a few ways you can create space. First, a player should rip over or through and step across the defender leading with the hips. This will force the defender to back off and once you step back to triple threat you will have space for yourself. It should be noted, that when you step across your defender, if your knee is outside theirs then you should drive by them. Finally, as you step across, instead of coming back to triple threat, you can spin back and drive the opposite direction.

The second way a defense can play you is an arm’s length away. If the defense is guarding you with an arm’s length distance, you have space there already for you to do one of three options: shoot, pass, or drive. In the third and fourth ways a defense can play you basically counter by going the opposite direction the defense is forcing you. In other words, if they are playing you to go right, then drive left and if they are playing you to drive right, then attack left. Doing so, will require you as an offensive player to attack the defender’s front leg putting pressure on the defense by forcing them to drop step and or backpedal. As an offensive player this is exactly what you want to make the defense do. It will help you cut the defender off and get them on your hip, rather than having them slide with you which is exactly what will happen if you have attacked the basket in the same direction they are forcing you.

Tips on How the Defense is Playing You and Your Options

  • Tight Defense = Step across and rip through series
  • Arm’s length away = shoot, pass, or drive
  • Forcing you right = drive left
  • Forcing you left = drive right.

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