Help-Side Defense

-What is it?

It is a basketball defense fundamental in which a defensive player, who is some passes away from the ball, adjusts his defense to help another teammate defend the ball handler.

Weak side defensive positioning is one of the most important and one of the most difficult concepts to teach.

  • It makes your team appear quicker because they have less ground to cover.
  • The great thing about positioning is that even slow players can get good at it.
  • Good positioning is something you must maintain throughout the entire possession.

Why do you think most good offensive coaches preach ball reversals? This is because they want to reverse the ball a bunch of times so your players will eventually get out of position and they can expose the seams in your defense.

  • When defending the player away from the ball
  1. Stay between your man and the ball. See your man and the ball at all times!
  2. Deny all penetrating passes.
  3. Be close enough to stop the player you are guarding if the ball is passed to him.
  4. Be close enough to help! You should be close enough to the player with the ball to prevent him from getting into the danger zone if he dribbles by the defender that is guarding him.
Here you see the good position of number 3's defender and number 5' defender
Here you see the good position of the defenders on the court. Number 5 and 3’s defenders are able to stop their man and the penetration. Number 2’s defender is denying the pass.

Defend the Perimeter PassOne Pass Away

When defending the ball one pass away, you can should deny the perimeter pass or try to contest it.

  • Deny: When you are denying a pass, you are trying to intercept the pass, staying in the “line passing”
    Defenders 2 and 3 are denying their opponents to take the ball. Number 1 defender is “containing” the playmaker.


Defend the Perimeter PassTwo Passes Away

Two Passes Away refers to when you’re guarding an offensive player and there are one or more offensive players between you and the ball. It’s very important to be positioned properly to help out on dribble penetration or to rotate. (Defenders number 3 and 5 in the first picture)

Always remember… Wherever you are you always have to be in position to stop your man and stop penetration. Look at your man and at the ball!



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