10 Keys to a Great Basketball Defensive Stance

In order to stop the ball and deny dribble penetration, you must begin with a good stance.

If you don't have a good stance, you won't have a good defensive slide, and you'll constantly be out of position and off-balance. This will enable the offense to score on you at will. EVERYTHING begins with a good defensive stance!

In the clip below from the Man To Man Defense Video with Jim Huber, he discusses critical components of a great defensive stance.

Here are 10 Keys to a Great Defensive Stance:

  1. Fronts of the Feet - A little more than half of your weight should be distributed to the fronts or balls of your feet. Heel should still be in contact with the ground.

  2. Stable Base & Feet Straight Ahead - Your feet should be pointing straight ahead. This creates an angle that allows you to provide more force against the ground.

    Your feet should also be slightly wider than shoulder width apart.

  3. Hips Back & Knees Bent - Butt should be behind the heels and your knees should be pointing forward.

  4. Knees Inside of Feet - This helps create alignment with your lower body which enables you to explode more efficiently in any direction.

  5. Butt Down - Staying in a stable position with your butt down enables you to stay balanced and engage the glutes which is the most powerful muscle in the lower body.

  6. Shoulders Over Knees - Your shoulders should be over your knees with your chest out and back straight. You don't want to be leaning too far forward or backwards.

  7. If you have a tendency to lean forward too much - bring your hands above your head as this will bring your torso more upright.

  8. If you have a tendency to be too upright with your butt tucked under and knees stick too far forward, keep your hands straight in front of you as this will force you to push your butt back into a better position.

  9. Hands up - Depending on the tactic (Hands out or hands up to defend shot/dribble).

  10. Eyes focused on the player's waist or chest.

Balance is the key to a great defensive stance and guarding the ball. If you lose your balance you are beat!!!

You can learn more about one on one defense by checking out this video and article about guarding the ball. It includes some great tips and tricks for coaches and players.

Or to learn more about about great TEAM defense, check out our comprehensive man to man basketball defense video.


Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

John Calipari says:
1/2/2017 at 9:40:31 AM

Nice job guys, you managed to get all the points down and correct ways to be in a perfect basket ball defense stance


jlueck says:
12/2/2015 at 9:09:36 AM

hey these tips are great i'm acuatloly a high school student and these have really helped when i practice beofre playing a game with the guys. i'm acually a better player because of them . thanks!!!!


Ron Sen says:
11/27/2015 at 9:34:32 AM

Rick Pitino recommends hand position with thumbs up (wrists slightly pronated).

I think this makes sense as far as quicker elbow flexion although I've never seen it 'measured'.


Shannon Baxter says:
9/30/2015 at 11:02:09 AM

also if anybody has a any cuts to the basket tricks to let me know, thanks !


Shannon Baxter says:
9/30/2015 at 10:59:57 AM

i need help with my defensive stance. Or defense period. I'm quite fast on offense but i tend to slow down on the defensive side. It makes me look sloppy and pitiful in front of my varsity coach. Its my last year i need help. Any thoughts?


Kim Lee says:
9/19/2015 at 6:13:16 AM

Is it true that when you're a right handed player you should use your left hand for better result of shot? I asked this question 'cause i heard about the tutorial of Kyrie's moves. They said that you should use your non dominant hand for better rhythm.


Girls aau basketball Austin Texas says:
4/6/2015 at 10:19:10 AM

We always try to push them to the inside where the help is. So we teach our defense to push them to their weak handed side of the floor and then to protect the baseline. We play a sagging man to man so help is always on the inside.

Excellent website and information. I have ordered quite a few dvds here and they have helped me immensely!

Keep up the great work!


james says:
11/18/2014 at 2:22:16 AM

closed stance on help side!!! easier to closeouts also fronting cutters...not losing vision of man...also easier on closeouts to stop dribbler.......closeout for 3 pt..


Kenny says:
10/25/2014 at 2:35:48 AM

lots of info here.... thanks


Tourny Mann says:
9/18/2014 at 3:57:46 PM

I guide players in a basic defensive stance.
Then movement really depends on them at that point. What is most effective for them.

A huge untaught skill is Anticipation.
Without anticipating your opponents moves you are at their mercy.
You are waiting for them to make a move then you try to react quickly
That is a huge defensive mistake as you will always be a split second behind your opponent.

Defense is played with the mind leading the body.
Know what your opponent is going to do before they do it.
When you learn your opponents pet moves and tendencies you will begin to anticipate their moves before they make them.
By doing this you increase your ability to defend them.

I teach this discipline to my players. They have done some amazing defensive feats in games.


Show More

Leave a Comment
Email (not published)
Five times two is equal to?  (Prevents Spam)
 Load New Question
Leave this Blank