How to Defend Against a Great Shooter in Basketball

In basketball, every opposing team has a player or two who are designated shooters. They could be 3-point specialists or rely on mid-range jump shots. These players have the ability to make it very difficult for you to win. With the right moves and considerations, you can stop these shooters in their tracks.


  1. 1
    Remain as close to the shooter as possible. The biggest mistake you can make as a defender is giving a good shooter space. The more space and time they have to prepare for a shot, the better the odds become of them making it. Stay as close to them as you can to prevent the shot from even being attempted.
  2. 2
    Find their shooting tendencies. Some players have a unique release point or a specific spot on the floor that they like to shoot from. Disrupt that rhythm. This requires some studying and analysis but will help keep a good shooter out of their comfort zone.
  3. 3
    Be physical. Most good shooters are not very fond of physical contact. Most of their time is spent on the perimeter where the contact is kept to a minimum. Add some physicality when playing defense on them to throw them off their game. Simply stay so close to them that your shoulders may touch or you may be too close to their personal space. This technique has proven to work tremendously well in game situations.
  4. 4
    Do not allow shooters to gain momentum. Shooters thrive off of seeing the ball go through the rim. The more shots they make, the more confidence they have. Good shooters will make a few shots throughout the course of a game but do not let them make two, three or four in a row.
  5. 5
    Do not get discouraged when a shot goes in. Their job is to make shots. That is what they practice every single day, it is inevitable that one might go in no matter how good you play on defense. Do not let this deter your efforts. Stay confident and continue to give your best.
  6. 6
    Improve on your defensive technique. Ask your coach to give you some drills that you can practice on your own such as "lane to lane slides" or "closeout drills". You can also research instructional coaching videos that will give you a step-by-step tutorial on how to work on your defense.
  7. 7
    Take pride in being a great defender. To stop a shooter you must take pride in not allowing them to score. It is a tough task that requires a great deal of effort and energy. Believe in yourself and understand how beneficial your job is to your team if you are successful.


  • Watch highlight tapes of great defenders such as Gary Payton, Stacey Augmon and Kobe Bryant for inspiration.
  • Check out the links in the Sources and Citations section for a great place to start.


  • Beware, the better you are on defense the more your coach will want to play you

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Categories: Basketball