How to Defend the Ball-Handler

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In this video, you will learn to mark a player in possession of the ball during a basketball game.

Check out the other defense videos in our basketball series to up your game!

Strong defensive skills are key to a team's success in basketball. Watch this short tutorial to learn how to mark a ball handler.

Adam Simmons - "Long Rhode Home", "Piano Hop", "Tang-A-Lang"
Published by Alter K
Voiced by Xavier Gianni

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In this video, you will learn to defend against the player who has the ball

To defend effectively against the player with the ball, you'll need to be able to react in three different situations: defending against a player who may start dribbling, a player who is dribbling, and defending against a player who's finished dribbling.

Firstly, defending against a player who may start dribbling.

In this situation, you need to block the player so that they can neither shoot, pass or dribble towards the basket.

Spread your feet outwards and extend your arms to take up more space.

Get between the player and the basket, forcing them to one side with the positioning your feet.

You should keep your opponent around an arm's length away.

Keep one hand low, following the ball and preventing your opponent from starting a dribble, and the other hand high to block a shot or pass.

If your opponent is close to the basket, if they're notably skilled or if they're holding the ball above their head, move towards them and try and stop them from shooting, without jumping.

Be careful not to react to fakes by jumping, as your opponent will quickly get around you.

If they're quick and are holding the ball low, move back slowly so that they can't outrun you.

Secondly, defending against a player who is dribbling.

The aim of the defender is to get in their opponent's way to stop them from moving or shooting.

Bend your knees and stand an arm's length from your opponent, driving them towards the sideline.

Spread your arms downwards to prevent your opponent from dribbling, block the ball and to keep your balance.

If your opponent is quicker than you, move back so they can't outrun you

As they get closer to the basket, you should reduce the distance between you so that you can react quicker if they shoot.

Thirdly, defending against an opponent who's stopped dribbling.

When your opponent stops dribbling, stick close to them straight away, but without touching them so as not to commit a foul.

Lift your arms to try to take possession or to force a bad pass.

Shout "ball" to warn your teammates to prevent any passes to the other team, causing a 5-second violation.

To defend well, respond to the situation, to your opponent's strengths and to your own. Over to you!

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