You've heard the expression "there's more than one way to skin a cat." Well that definitely applies to playing defense. Because there is definitely more than one way to stop the opposing team's offense. You can play man-to-man, you can use a zone, you can press. Here at D-Fence, we'll lay out for you different defensive strategies, drills for how to have your team work on them, and tips on how to play the stingiest defense you can muster.

Benefits of Zone Defense

  • A tight zone will discourage a team from penetrating to the basket and will force them to have to take outside shots.
  • Zones allow your players to be in better position to help each other.
  • Playing a zone allows you to slow down the tempo of the game if you team does not match up well against the speed and athleticism of an opponent.

    2-3 Zone Defense Rules

  • Unlike a man-to-man defense where you are responsible for a player, in a zone defense you are guarding a player in an area of the court.
  • In a zone each defender moves as the ball moves.

  • When the ball is at the top of the key - X1 & X2 stop any dribble penetration from the top down the lane.
  • When the ball is passed from the top to the wing - X4 or X3 will get the first pass. They are responsible for keeping the ball in front of them and out of the middle. X4 or X3 stop the ball until X2 or X1 can bump them down.
    * Bump down = When a defender recovers back to their defensive area they “bump” their teammate back down to their defensive area.
  • When the ball is passed from the wing to the corner – X4 or X3 will take the ball. X5 fronts the post, X4 or X3 is in the middle of the key and X2 takes the high post elbow.
  • On a skip pass - X4 or X3 will get any skip passes and stop the ball until X1 or X2 can bump them down.
  • When the ball returns to the top – all of the defenders return to their starting positions.

    If you’re guarding the ball you want to put pressure on it! Don’t let the ball handler have open view of the court and have a clear view of the passing lanes.

    When the shot goes up everyone has to turn and find a player to box out!

    * Probably the most important key to this zone is that all five players move on the pass.

    It is very important to communicate. Talk to your teammates. Tell them when a cutter is coming through, who is declaring the ball and first pass and when to bump down.