The ability to block shots well and protect the basket is a VERY valuable one.
Here are four tips to help you achieve this, so you’ll be intimidating player attacking the rim.
Jump vertically with your hands straight up
When a player is attacking the basket and you are already in position at the basket, it’s effective to jump upwards with your hands straight up.
(Rather than jumping forwards or jumping into the attacking player)
This is especially useful when the attacking player doesn’t have a lot of momentum.
By doing this, you’ll be playing better defense in two ways:
- Firstly, the shot becomes harder since you are jumping at maximum height AND stretch
- Secondly, in this position it is very unlikely that you foul your defender even if there’s some body contact. This is because you aren’t jumping into them and your arms are in your ‘legal’ space
Improve your vertical jump
By being able to jump higher, you’ll be able to block shots and protect the basket better.
Pretty basic logic right?
By improving your vertical jump, you’ll be able to hang in the air for longer and reach the ball at higher points.
That means more monster blocks for you.
Swat the ball, NOT the attacking player
This is an honest mistake which many players (especially beginners) can often make.
When trying to block a layup, you should be aiming to swat the ball on its path to the basket.
This is a subtle change, but will help you block shots more frequently.
Often, we reach high enough to block the shot, but miss out because we’re not focused on its path to the basket.
Doing this will also prevent you from fouling…
By focusing on the ball’s path, there’s less chance of contact with the attacking player.
Jump before the attacking player
Often, anticipating a layup or shot from an attacking player and jumping before them can lead to a great block.
HOWEVER, this is recommended when rotating over as a help defender. (When the player shooting isn’t the one you were guarding at first)
As a result, you’re less likely to get caught out by a shot fake as the attacking player probably won’t see you coming over.
Since this can appear aggressive when done, be careful with your arms and make sure to make contact with the ball and not the player.