Defense is the last essential part of lesson five. Defense can be separated into two categories, on-ball and off-ball, similar to offense. Good defense may not necessarily result in a miss, but it will result in a contested shot or a turnover. In order to force a miss or a turnover, the five players on defense must move as a team, good individual defense can be broken down by plays. However, good individual defense is a part of team defense.

One aspect of good individual defense is arms distance. Players should be no more than an arms distance away from the opposing player. This will allow for a good shot contest when the shot is attempted. Being an arms distance away also allows for the defender to be able to steal the ball if the opposition has sloppy dribbling. If the player is too close, they are more likely to foul the player when reaching in to steal the ball or contest a shot. Referees are watching for body to body contact, so this makes being close dangerous. However, it can be an effective way to shut down an offensive player, as long as the referee allows it. If a defensive player is too far away, they will be ineffective in contesting the shot, as well as making the opposing player uncomfortable when they dribble.

When a player is playing pressure defense, which is as described above, the player could attempt to force the offense player in a certain direction. Usually, the defense will attempt to force the offensive player either to a help defender, or towards their weak hand. This will make the offensive player uncomfortable, and make them more likely to turn the ball over, or miss the shot. To do this correctly, the defensive player should think of “hip to hip” in which the defensive player gets their hip as close to the offensive players as possible, and guides them in the direction beneficial to the defense. Using hip to hip makes it harder for the offensive player to go in the direction that favours their skills.

Eventually the defender will start to move in a direction. When they do move, it is important for the defender to use the proper slide technique. To have proper technique, players should shuffle, or hop, and never let their feet come together. Players should be in a low stance with their arms spread out to make themselves wider. Having a low, spread out stance helps the defender stay balanced and agile. If the defender’s feet stay too close together, they can lose their balance, allowing the offensive player to create space. Sometimes, even with proper technique, the offensive player is able to get by the defender. Players should keep the same technique, as breaking it could only make it worse.

When closing out on a shot, the defender should reach with their hand closest to the defender, while stepping forward with that same foot. This form will allow for the fastest and most effective closeout possible. Sometimes defenders will be closing out from further away, such as an off-ball position. When closing out from far away, defenders should sprint towards the offensive player, at the end they should shuffle their feet, and approach with the form listed above.

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