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Ball Screen Defense

The ball screen defense has to be as well trained as the offense. The defense of the ball screen and its attack is intertwined so that there is good defense it is important to have a good attack.

It is on this parameter that the defense of the ball screen has to be worked. Players have to be able to defend in a variety of ways. The versatility of the offensive systems of the opposing teams forces this to happen.

Teams can and must have a certain type of defense as a “rule”, but they must be able to adjust their rules to the opponent’s offensive system.

Fundamentals of ball screen defense

Ball Screen is possibly the most used offensive move, almost all teams, if not all, use ball screen as a very offensive weapon.

Thus, being able to effectively defend the ball screen becomes essential for a team if they want to suffer a few points.

It is necessary to be aware that it will not always be possible to stop the situation of the ball screen. As well as it can be defended, the opponent’s offensive quality will stand out.

The defense of the ball screen has to have some fundamentals. Regardless of the type of defense stipulated, all defenses must have:

• Communicate early and loud

Communication is part of a good defense, without it, a good defense will hardly come out.

Players communicating with each other, and telling them what is going to happen and how they are going to defend it, will facilitate any defense.

• Warn 3 times

The player who defends the ball must be warned of the screen, whether it is on his left or his right.

And then remind the teammate what type of defense is intended.

• Do not get stuck on the screen

One of the things that usually happens on ball screens is getting stuck in the screen.

The defense must avoid this at all. Getting stuck in the screen is giving the attack all the advantage.

In addition to these fundamentals, the fundamentals of defending the ball remain the same. These basic elements can never be overlooked in any way.

Types of ball screen defense

As I explained earlier, teams have to know various types of block defense, mainly for two reasons. First, they can adjust the ball screen by the team they play, and second, in training, it will facilitate the fact that they can attack against any type of defense and automate processes.

Switch on Ball Screen Defense

Switch Defense on Ball Screen

In switch defense, defenders switch their direct opponents. That is, defender 1, who defended attacker 1, started to defend attacker 2. In turn, defender 2, who defended attacker 2, started to defend attacker 1.

The positive side of this defense is that hardly a player will be alone in a good position to finish. On the other hand, it may create a situation of physical or technical disadvantage.

Drop Defense

Drop Defense on Ball Screen

In the drop defense, the defender of the player with the ball “invites” his opponent directly to the screen. At the same time, the defender of the screener restrains himself lower and waiting for the player with the ball.

This type of defense is very effective if the attacking players involved are not great shooters

Pass Under the Screen Defense

Under the Screen Ball Screen Defense

In this type of defense, the player with the ball passes under the block. The screener defense creates space between him and his direct opponent so that the teammate can pass in that space.

This defense is also called passing in 3rd because first is the player with the ball, second is the screener and third is the defense of the player with the ball.

As a rule, teams defend in this way when they are facing a player with a ball that does not score from a long distance.

Another moment where this happens is when the teams use the ball screen as a way of continuity instead of attacking the basket.

Ice Defense

Ice Defense on Ball Screen

This defense occurs when the defender of the ball clearly denies the path to the screen. In this way, the opposite space is completely free.

Similar to drop defense, icing the block is a good strategy when the screen or the ball handler is not a good shooter.

Show / Hedge Defense

Show/Hedge Ball Screen Defense

This type of defense is a little more aggressive than all the previous ones.

The ball handler defender passes over the block just after the ballplayer. The blocker’s defender jumps in front of the player with the ball and sends the player with the ball away from the basket.

From the moment the player with the ball moves away from the screener defense, this type of defense may vary. The defense can continue to be aggressive and make a 2on1 on the ball handler, or the screener defender appears in front and recover his defense, and the defense recomposes.

This will vary from coach to coach and how risky you are in these kinds of situations. Since, when risking it will leave an attacker without defense.

Exercises to work the ball screen defense

To work with this type of situation, you have to start with simple things. Introduce a 2×2 situation and only then 3×3 and 4×4 situations.

I advise that one type of defense be taught and consolidated at a time.

2×2/3×3 – Ball Screen

Drill - 2on2

The exercise begins with two columns, one on top and one on the end line. The first of each column defends the second. The final line player comes to block and from that situation 2 × 2 game.


Add attackers and defenders as the readings and defenses evolve.

Shell Drill

Shell Drill
Shell Drill

The exercise starts with a passive 4×4 just to work on the defensive positioning.

In this case, the objective is to work on the defensive positioning of the ball screen. Whenever the ball reaches the forward, whoever made the last pass will screen.

When the coach says the game, there is one more ball screen and a 4×4 game.


– After the first screen, the blocker re-screens two more until the screen is in the direction of attacking the middle.

Ready to improve the defense of the ball screen?

In short, the defense of the ball screen is just as important as the attack. The balance between knowing how to attack the ball screen and knowing how to defend the ball screen is extremely necessary for the team to know how to behave on both sides of the field.

The ball screen defenses require fundamentals, high and early communication, warn the colleague 3 times and never get stuck in the screen. The five types of defense that have been described beg these grounds.

I hope you enjoyed and understood the article. So I invite you to leave your feedback in the comments box below because your opinion matters to me.

Thank you for your attention,

Coach Afonso

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