Although it might not seem favor it, great defense in basketball can be the difference between winning and losing a game. It’s prestige usually it s okay overshadowed through offense, which tends to get more attention, yet behind every great team is a hard defense to back it up.

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One that the most intimidating elements of defending that gets performed transparent a video game is blocking shots and also lay-ups in an effort to avoid the offensive team indigenous scoring.

Blocking in basketball is a powerful tool the contributes come a team’s defensive capabilities, and also has been used masterfully by various players throughout NBA History, many notably Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and also Mark Eaton, who were few of the ideal shot-blockers ever.

The action of blocking is nice simple; it entails you acquiring in the method of your opponent and also using your hand to avoid the basketball, but it have the right to oftentimes prove difficult to direction the ball successfully.

To have actually a much better chance the deflecting successfully, it’s crucial to know what’s being excellent wrong and learn how to exactly it.

For this reason, we’ll be addressing the usual mistakes human being make the sabotage their possibilities of preventing an opponent, and may even turn the tide in the various other team’s favor, and also learning exactly how to properly go around stopping the basketball prior to it ever before gets a possibility to reach the net.


(Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA, Marcus smart (34481569696), CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Blocking in Basketball

Before we get into the problems and solutions, let’s first define some crucial points that worry blocking in basketball.

You have the right to stop the projectile at any type of spot in the court, however it’s commonly done in ~ the low post predominantly due to the fact that this is where the defense of high players are situated (power forwards and centers).Deflecting a basketball is often done just by expanding one or both arms up and also using your hands to either obstruct the basketball’s route or swat the basketball turn off course.Tall players have an less complicated time than most other players as soon as holding turn off shots since of their lengthy arms and large frame.

These are important points come clarify upfront since they’ll describe most that what you’ll watch on the court. Shots or lay-ups that happen at the low write-up are practically always worth deflecting, however anything top top or exterior the perimeter is debatably not a good trade-off.

Shots do from the far currently have a lower percentage of being made, and also depending top top the shooting percentage of the person shooting, it’s reasonable to suggest that you just guard them favor normal.

Your height have the right to definitely affect your capability to block; it isn’t simply a coincidence that few of the finest shot-blockers were also tall, your height detailed greater with to prevent projectiles with ease. The isn’t to say the there aren’t some impressive players that are short, and also to clear up you deserve to still avoid a projectile also if friend aren’t incredibly tall.

Your vertical jump, her speed, and even your mental video game in predicting the offense room all determinants that contribute immensely to your capacity to block, and also this applies to both short and also tall players.

Learning to increase your upright jump and your rate both boost your performance when defending to keep up through the offense and also meet the sphere at the suggest of release, and your mental toughness is a vital component in staying focused on the court.

When emerged they can aid improve a player’s protective capabilities, yet on the surface, a brief player trying come guard a player taller than him is in ~ a disadvantage, and in this cases, it’s crucial to assess the trade-offs in deciding who’s guarding who.

Blocking Mistakes

(globalite, Kevin Durant and also Robertas Javtokas, CC BY-SA 2.0)

There’s a little of risk associated for defenders when blocking since if they make a mistake, that can quickly backfire and also even assist the opposing team. The best mistakes come from not discovering the rule in basketball and also rushing when guarding there is no taking proper measures that the situation.

Contact Fouls

If you make call with the shooter when attempting to repel the shot, that outcomes in a foul that gives complimentary throw attempts to the offense. This likewise includes hitting the opponent’s hand if trying to repel or change the projectile, which will still an outcome in a foul.

This is a factor why many attempts go unsuccessful. As soon as you’re defending the shooter, keep a center distance between you and also him, and also wait because that him to release the ball. In ~ the suggest of release, whether making use of one arm or both, save them straight and use her hands come obstruct the path of the basketball.

Be careful to avoid contact when reaching in for the basketball. There is such a thing as incidental contact in between the shot-blocker and the shooter the the referee will certainly not contact a foul on, but that is just a call that wake up on the method down indigenous jumping after the attempt.


Another trouble that’s less common yet that countless players do at time unknowingly is goaltending.

If you in any method alter a basketball shot that is already on its way down or descending family member to that arc, that is considered goaltending and will automatically be counted as if it had actually been made, providing the offensive team but many points that warranted.

This ascendancy was largely produced to protect against high jumpers from contesting the basket and also swatting far projectiles, lot like a goalie in football would safeguard the goal. This leaves you v a brief window in which can you direction the projectile, i m sorry is from the allude of release until around the finish of the ascension section of the shot’s arc.

(Keith Allison, Jason Kidd john Wall, Cropped by, CC BY-SA 2.0)

I’ll walk ahead and also lump interference together goaltending; interference is a violation that deserve to be carry out in many different ways:

emotional the sphere or any part of the basket while the sphere is ~ above the in salt of the basket.

emotional the ball once it’s in ~ the cylinder expanding upwards indigenous the rim.

reaching up through the basket from below and touching the ball, whether inside or exterior the cylinder.

Pulling under on the rim of the basket so that it contact the ball prior to returning to its original position, or during a shot attempt.

These every constitute a basket interference violation, therefore it’s really important to keep them in psychic as things to avoid doing.


It’s inescapable that in ~ some point you’ll normally want to rush in and also swat the ball, and that’s usually when the fouls start acquiring called. An additional thing to be mindful of is a pump-fake native the offense that’ll regularly trick you right into jumping, in ~ which suggest the shooter may get around you and take his shot.

For this reason, among the ideal methods of defending is simply to mimic the various other player so that you’re top top par v what they’re doing and moving in ~ the very same tempo. In this way, you’ll find out to slow down instead of omitted ahead and have the human being you’re guarding top top lockdown.

Now, this isn’t precisely easy come do and also won’t constantly work, and the pump-fake is a great example of where you should be vigilant of her opponent. If the person you’re guarding start pulling out tricks to deceive you, then it normally becomes a lot more tough to defend them, yet now you’ll be much more cautious of your opponent’s future move in anticipation that a fake-out.

At this point, it’s best to count on your psychological wit and also in-game experience to contest their shot. Together such, come prepare because that these events it’s ideal to exercise your defense with another person ~ above the court, and also this in addition to you’re in-game suffer is what will give you the perspective necessary to minimization rushing.

How to Block a Shot


(Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA, rose oil Porter Jr., Dwight Howard (34136333262), CC BY-SA 2.0)

To protect against a shooting correctly, we’ll combine what we’ve already established ~ above both blocking and also avoiding mistake to arrive at a heavy method.

1. Location

Depending on whereby the shoot is being taken from, as well as who is taking it, will determine whether we try and protect against it. As formerly stated, these typically take location on the short post, and if a shooting is gift made on or outside perimeter, there’s little reason to try and repel it.

Unless the shooter has actually a high shooting percentage and also knows how to shoot a basketball well, then the finest thing to execute is try to contest the shot and apply push to the shooter while preserving your street to prevent a foul.

2. Mimicking

When you’re guarding your opponent, obtain right in front of him and also stay on that at every times. You want to copy his activities to make certain that her in sync with what he does. If that runs in the direction of the hoop, friend stay straight next to him, and also if that jumps, you’re jumping after them v your arms organized straight as much as contest and also hopefully direction the shot.

Be careful of your timing so the you don’t miss out on your attempts, but also keep in mind that you must be jumping ~ the attack player to ensure girlfriend don’t acquire deceived v a shoot fake.


(Keith Allison indigenous Hanover, MD, USA, Bradley Beal, Isaiah thomas (32133112340), Cropped through, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Follow these general guidelines for effective guarding:

once moving, make certain to continue to be on the balls of your feet come maximize your mobility while on the court.

In a squatting stance, spread out your feet shoulder-width apart and also keep lock square relative to the attack player. This aids with both mobility and jumping strength by keeping you low to the ground and also maintaining a strong foundation from which to jump.

store your chest facing the shooter when guarding to provide yourself the choice of using either hand come block and also be certain to control your see so that you have actually a clear vision of the human being shooting.

Arms space at every times spread out to around shoulder-height, and also once you move within a little more than one arm’s length of her opponent, raise her arms over your head to allow for a faster response.

These guidelines define an optimal defensive stance to it is in in for effective shot-blocking, be certain to make use of them both on and off the court to adapt yourself to it is in in that pose.

3. Anticipation

This is where the mental games concerned play as your opponent begins to fake you the end in an effort to capture you off-guard and also shoot the ball. Also if the offense hasn’t do the efforts it, it’s still essential to store watch so that if it happens you’re ready, yet if they’ve currently begun utilizing these devices then intend them to usage it again.

Here the ideal course of action boils under to both her practice and in-game suffer with holding off shots and your relative expertise on the offense, which has how aggressive their playstyle is and how frequently they use fakes. The information have the right to tell girlfriend a lot about how most likely they room to perform an ext fake outs.

This is more so a gradual step that you’ll begin to understand and also grasp not simply over time but an ext specifically end the course of the video game as you begin learning an ext about the opposing players.

However, your enemy isn’t the only one that deserve to use this trick; you can also perform a fake to use even more pressure to the offensive player. As soon as you’re within arm’s reach, you deserve to fake your jump by simply prolonging your arms up and also down.

This have the right to prove to it is in an effective means of preventing the shooter dead in his tracks and also even throwing turn off his valuation by acquiring him thinking around when you’ll actually jump, all without having actually to acquire off the ground.

4. Blocking

Once the shooter releases the basketball, have actually either one or both of her arms completely extended and use her hands to obstruct the basketball’s path. You might either store your eight straight and also let the basketball come down in the direction of you for a steal, or you can swat the basketball and throw it turn off course.

If you carry out swat the basketball, be wary of whereby you’re directing the towards; if possible, target it towards a teammate so the your team can steal the ball.

Be mindful when reaching in the because that basketball to avoid gaining a call foul, and if the sphere is currently on its way down or descending relative to its arc, don’t transform the shot together that’ll be thought about goaltending and also will instantly be counted as having actually been made.

Avoid occurs a basket interference violation by being careful whenever you acquire close come the rim. In the case of prevent a dunk, whether you should go for it or not depends on just how well the human being you’re defending knows just how to dunk, yet generally, it’s finest just to administer pressure and contest the dunk.

In the case that you’re trying come avert the shoot of someone taller than you, there’s little chance of you effectively carrying the out uneven you have actually a high enough vertical jump, in some situations a record-high jump, so just shot and dispute it come put push on the shooter and also hopefully litter off his aim.

Practicing Blocking


(Keith Allison native Baltimore, USA, Bryant Fades over Butler, Cropped through, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Of course, the best means to come to be a much better shot-blocker is to prep because that in-game experiences with exercise drills ~ above the court whereby you defend another person and try to stop their shots. This works very well towards improving your shot-blocking capabilities and making friend a better defender overall.


When shot-blocking in-game, be certain to:

1. Recognize whether the shoot is precious deflecting relative to the player shooting and also their location.

2. Keep up to pace v your opponent’s motion while in a protective position.

3. Guess some kind of fake to be able to attend to it, and dish out tricks yourself.

4. To repel the projectile extend one or both arms and obstruct the path of the round with your hand.

When you’re going to change the shot, be certain to avoid:

1. Rushing, don’t go ahead of your opponent and also don’t lag behind either.

2. Contact foul, try and protect against all contact with the shooter once trying to avoid their shot.

3. Goaltending & Interference, if the basketball is top top its method down or descending relative to the arc, leave it alone. If the basketball is all over near the basket, be mindful in your approach.

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Hopefully, this should all give you a far better idea as to how to appropriately go around repelling a projectile in-game. Remember the in general, being a great shot-blocker have the right to prove to it is in hard also for the best players in this area, for this reason don’t feeling too poor if girlfriend only get one or 2 blocks per game.