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Guarding your yard means being able to contain your opponent when playing on-ball defense.

Key word = contain.

  • Not lunging to steal the basketball every time the opponent dribbles the basketball.

  • Not getting so close to the opponent that they're able to easily drive past you straight to the hoop.

  • Not so far away that your opponent has an open shot.

Just solid one-on-one defense staying between their defender and the hoop.

At worst, the on-ball defender must be able to force their opponent to dribble laterally (side to side) instead of allowing them to attack the hoop in a straight line drive.

Four tips to help your players play great on-ball defense:

  1. Teach your players to look at the chest or waist of their opponent. The opponent can't fake with the middle of their body.

  2. Stay on your feet. There's nothing worse than a defender who jumps at every pump fake.

  3. Close out with one hand in the air and weight back to absorb the drive.

  4. In general, players must stay one arm's length away from their opponent when playing on-ball defense.

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