The first thing to learn about defense in the game of basketball is how to guard the ball. There are four levels of defense and the first level is, How to Guard the Ball.

If I mentioned the word spacing most will think about offensive spacing, but today we are going to explore three easy ways to communicate defensive spacing when you’re guarding the ball.

Conversation Distance

1. Shake– Most people know the amount of space when carrying on a conversation, its hand-shaking distance. This is close enough to discourage the shot, bother the dribble, and deflect passes. If you can picture a bubble surrounding your man, then conversation distance means that you stick to the surface of the bubble.

2. High– If you have to raise your voice because you are too far away (from your defender), then you are a high talker; standing further from your man than normal. Giving them more space because they are not a threat as a shooter.

3. Close– We’ve all had those conversations where someone stands too close, it’s uncomfortable; those are close talkers. A player will be inside the bubble taking away the offensive players space and making them feel uncomfortable.

Now I can refer my players on defense to guard as High Talkers, Close Talkers, and Hand-Shakes and they are provided with a visualization to help them understand the concept.


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