Become a Better Defender

Be a Better Defender

How to Become a Better Basketball Defender

What do Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green, and Iman Shumpert all have in common?

They are three of the best defenders in the NBA and despite popular belief, people are not just born with the gift of being able to shut down NBA players, not to mention the best of the best. Leonard, Green, Shumpert and many more players from all around the league continuously worked on improving the defensive side of their game.

They got stronger and bigger in the gym, but on the court they worked on everything else. From lateral quickness, to basketball IQ, to agility, to defensive skills.

So to target the defensive side of the game, we take a look at four different ways that can help anyone become a better defender.

4) Figure-8

The figure-8 is a way players can improve their lateral quickness. The objective of the drill is players are essentially running in a gym in a figure eight, switching between defensive shifting, and running at full speed to the other end of the gym.

3) Illinois Agility Test

Defensive Skill Improvement

Credit: Rehabilitation Research & Development Service – US Department

Here is a drill performed in any gym class, but what it really does is it ups a ball player’s agility, first step quickness, and reflexes, all necessary parts to a quality defender.

2) Ladder Drills

Using a ladder, set it on the floor, and use it as a way of improving footwork, first step quickness, agility and overall speed. Change up the pattern with each drilled used on the ladder, but this should be a staple in your basketball workouts.

1) 5-on-5 Drills

One of the best ways to put everything together is by playing an actual game. Full out scrimmages allow every player to focus on their on-man defensive, off-ball defense, defending one pass away, moving off screens, even defending the rim.

This is how you put your skills to the test!



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