Main Body

7. Strategies

There are two main types of defensive strategies that an opposing team can employ: Man-to-man or zone defense.

  • The first is man-to-man. As the name suggests, you, as a defender are responsible for guarding a specific opposing player. You are responsible for preventing him/her from scoring, rebounding, or even receiving passes at times. However, you are also responsible for helping your teammates. If an opposing dribbling player beats your teammate off the dribble and is driving toward the basket without any defenders and you are the next closest defender, it is your responsibility to step over and help your teammate who got beat. This is called “help-side” defense.
  • In a zone defense, instead of players being responsible for specific opposing players, they are responsible for zones. These zones can vary based on the format. 2-3 and 1-3-1 are the most typical zone defensive formats.
    In a 2-3 zone, 2 guards are placed at the top area between the free throw line and the three-point line. The remaining three players fill in the middle and the two wing positions toward the three point line area closest the sideline.  Zone defenses are typically used by teams who cannot match up well individually with the other team, usually due to size or speed differences, but can function well as a unit in a zone. Zone defenses require opposing offenses to be able to shoot well from the perimeter and pass the ball more quickly. It is more difficult for an offensive player to dribble the ball past multiple defenders in a zone defense, as opposed to a man-to-man defense.

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Ch.1 - Basketball by UGA PEDB Program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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