How to Read the Defense in Basketball

how to read the defense in basketball

Written by Aliesha

July 9, 2021


Reading the defense in basketball is a lot like reading a book. If you start at the beginning, it is easier to determine what’s coming next. In basketball, all too often do people attempt to read the defense at first sight. This leads them into rushing their decision-making process. 

Admittedly, it can be easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment but if you are able to read your opponent’s defensive scheme right away, then you’ll become far better at spotting scoring opportunities for yourself and your team. Learn how to read the defense in basketball through this article. 

Score at Will: How to Read the Defense in Basketball 

Are you aiming to become a great offensive basketball player? If so, then you better start learning how to read the defense in basketball. After all, the defensive scheme of the opposition is the number one factor that stops you from scoring in volume during a game. To become better at reading the defense, here are ways to do so.

Learn the proper way to read defense in basketball!

Learn different types of defensive schemes

Every player has their own playing style, and that plays into what kind of type of defense they’re likely to face. How effective they are on that particular day will depend on how well they know the opposing team’s playbook. This is where reading the defense comes in handy; just like reading a book, you have to put things in order and then read from there. This isn’t just useful for advanced statistical analysis either; it’s important for successful defensive play since it allows your teammates to have a better understanding of how their actions affect the game on both ends.

Pay close attention to the defender’s feet

When the game is on the line, just remember that professional basketball players are trained to play with excellent footwork. Just because a player is a star doesn’t mean he can’t be outplayed. Watch for subtle shifts in feet and movements that reveal a defender’s intentions. Don’t be fooled by moves that appear easy– from leaning in toward the basket to rising slightly as the shot comes up– because each of these actions reveals something about the defender’s intent.

Check the defender’s balance and position

To read the defense in basketball you have to look at the defender’s body and physical position. If you pay attention to how they stand, their balance, and their feet placement, you can predict where the ball is going. 

Become Elite at Scoring

Basketball defense is important to understand for all basketball players. How to read the defense in basketball will help you learn how to play offense and will help you often beat your opponent when playing defense also.


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