Blocking Shots Can Lead To Foul Trouble And Other Defensive Problems
Instead, Try This Simple Defensive Tactic That Can Decrease Your Opponents' Shooting Percentage By As Much AS 25 Percent!

It doesn't matter if you play zone, man to man, or press...

Contesting shots can greatly improve your defense!

Notice, that I'm saying "contesting" and NOT "blocking." I believe teaching players to block shots can form bad habits, and most players do not have the ability to consistently block shots without hurting the team's defense.
Here are some tips to Contesting Shots:
  • Close out fast & under control. If you close out too fast, a smart player will blow by you. You can also end up fouling the shooter if you can not stop your momentum.

  • Extend your arm and hand up as high you can. Sometimes, players like to put their hands in front of the offensive player's eyes to disrupt their vision.
  • Never Leave Your Feet. This can lead to a number of problems. An offensive player can draw the foul or drive by you. It can also put you in terrible rebounding position.
I recently read an old article in a Winning Hoops newsletter where a coach did a study on 5 basketball games. It included games of Cincinnati & North Carolina, Temple & Kansas, Michigan State & Louisville, Kentucky & Indiana, and Maryland & Oklahoma.

In the article, he recorded that..

NON-contested shots made 58.4% of their shots.
Contested shots only made 33.6% of their shots.

That's a 25% percent difference!

Contesting shots is not the only factor (rebounding, turnovers, and so on) that determines a win or loss, but it certainly is a critical one.

Start contesting shots today and watch your defense improve!

You can also find more defensive drills & strategies in our Man to Man Defense System

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...


Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

Yvette Perry says:
5/2/2022 at 6:03:52 PM

Match Up Zone! Keep your players accountable and your paint covered.


Yvette Perry says:
5/2/2022 at 6:03:50 PM

Match Up Zone! Keep your players accountable and your paint covered.


coachW says:
12/16/2014 at 9:22:34 PM

Kevin Eastman says close out short and low. Meaning butt down and away from shooter.


coachW says:
12/16/2014 at 9:19:36 PM

Closing out on a right handed shooter with the left hand? I''m not so sure. If I do that 90% of kids left foot comes up...making it easier for shooter to drive by with right hand. Thoughts?

  1 reply  

Joe says:
12/17/2014 at 8:35:09 AM

You must be referring to the picture. When taking the picture, we weren't even paying attention to the feet.

However, that is one way that people teach close outs and they will play the strong side and try to force the offensive player to go to the weak hand.

Jim Huber also teaches 2 hands up to deter shots and post passes... I think he got this from Dick Bennett (Tony's dad).

2 hands up will leave in you a position that will be more square to the defender.

It also depends what level you coach at... Kevin Eastman coaches at the NBA level. Often, he has athletes that are good enough "jump after the offensive player jumps" to jump and contest or block a shot. So they can stay down and still contest shots.

You'll also find that advanced players will try to take either the shot or the dribble away. For example, a lights out shooter that has a quick release... in some situations, you might have no choice but to fly at him with hands up knowing that you're going to give him a drive or a very difficult shot.

A very good dribble penetrator, you might close out slowly and give him the perimeter shot.


allen l says:
3/11/2013 at 9:41:08 AM

word word word bball


K.B. says:
12/19/2012 at 10:26:01 PM

I've always taught my players to contest high and to not leave your feet until the shooter leaves their feet. Do not try and block the shot. I love the idea of contesting a right handed shooter with the left.


Joe Haefner says:
12/19/2012 at 10:06:21 AM

Randy, thank you for your thoughts and adding to the discussion. Groupthink is never a good thing.

Here is what I have done with my youth and high school teams. I teach them to contest on the perimeter. Do not leave your feet. In the post area, I will give some leeway depending on the athletes.

Around the basket area, I teach players verticality. Always go straight up. Don't swat. Tap the ball and try to keep in play. Based on the year, I may so no jumping and make exceptions for a couple of players. You may also do the opposite. Allow all players to block with an exception of a few players. However, I have not coached a team with this team athleticism.

Basically, no time is spent teaching blocking around the basket with youth teams. I just tell them to go straight up. If I see a fouling problem, I will tell them to keep their feet.

In my opinion, at the youth and middle school levels, there are far too many more important things to teach than how to block shots.

Also with your comment, what age group are you referring to?

Also, how much time needs to be dedicated to practice to ensure that these blocking techniques are properly executed?

My belief is that the pay off is not worth it and you are better off focusing on other areas in your game. You are more prone to foul.

Could I be wrong? Absolutely.

What are your thoughts? What have you done to teach blocking techniques?


Ken says:
12/18/2012 at 7:50:37 PM

I'm not so sure I want to teach my players that we know is against the rules and we could get a T for it.... There is more to coaching the game than trying to circumvent the rules for a W! JMO

Randy -

I wonder how many shots get blocked vs a foul? I think I would rather challenge the shot using the correct hand. We certainly didn't want to make it easy for the shooter. We had a rule.. NEVER foul the jump shooter... got that from Hubie Brown.

IF we knew he was a good shooter, we would close out hard and try to make him put the ball on the ground - if he was a poor shooter, we would just close out and challenge him a little bit because we probably wanted him to shoot it vs a better shooter. Having a good scouting report will give you that information.


Randy says:
12/18/2012 at 4:21:25 PM

I do understand that shot blocking can be over-emphasized and as such can lead to bad habits. However, teaching how to properly block shots is important. True teaching proper technique includes knowing when to attempt a block. (Benching a playing for an attemptted block alone makes little sense to me) Shot blocking is part of developing big men. On the perimeter, well that is somewhat different, but I would still argue that teaching techniques to your guards is not wasted time.


Logan says:
11/30/2010 at 10:01:37 AM

I got a technical called for putting my hand in an opponent's face. I had no idea it was a rule and just thought it would be a good way to disrupt the shooter's focus. My coach didn't even know what the call was for. We all learned that rule because of me. I just thought I was being crafty. Oh well, live and learn.


Show More

Leave a Comment
Email (not published)
Fifteen plus twelve is equal to?  (Prevents Spam)
 Load New Question
Leave this Blank