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How To Guard Faster Players In Basketball

We've all been there isolated on an island against a guy who is about to blow by us and leave us in the dust.

It's one of the worst feelings a hooper could possibly experience, due to the hopelessness and powerlessness you feel when guarding a quicker and faster player.

But luckily there are strategies and techniques you can use to help you guard and even lockdown much quicker and faster players.

1. Angles

One of the biggest mistakes players make when guarding quicker players, is trying to cut off a player too quickly.

One way of combatting this is by running to the spot your player is trying to go. For example, if you know they are trying to get to the rim then run back to the rim and beat them there.

The basic rule of this technique is that the quicker the opponent is then you the wider angle you will have to take.

Pro Tip: One thing you will have to watch out for when taking these angles is that you are susceptible to step-backs and pull-up jumpers. So if you're defending a player who has that ability you need might need to adjust.

Notice in the video below that Klay Thompson did a great job guarding Kyrie who is a much quicker player, by taking angles he knew he could beat kyrie too.

2. Know Your Advantages

A lot of times if a player is much quicker and faster there is a good chance you might have the size and strength advantage.

To use this advantage you can try and get physical with a player and slow down his momentum.

A great way of doing this is by using an armbar. Which is a defensive technique where you keep one arm and hand on your defender.

Be careful though because depending on what level or ref you have they may call this a foul

Pro Tip: When using the arm make sure you do not extend and push your arm outside of your body. Also, make sure you do not put your hand in a player shooting pocket. As these will lead to fouls when defending the ball handler.

3. Force Them To One Side

Now, this could depend a lot on your team's scheme and defensive system. But forcing a player to one side can make defending a whole lot easier as this allows you to dictate where your opponent is going.

Another thing you can do if you need to force your opponent to one side is trying to force him to his weak hand side.

How Do You Force an opponent to his weak side?

Well, one easy way of doing this is by keeping your lead leg up and having your body and chest facing your defender's shoulder.

Pro Tip: One thing you must watch out for when doing this is to make sure your opponent does not cross around your lead leg. This will cause you to open up and give your defender an easy path to the hoop.

The video below gives you a great representation of how to force your defender to one side of the floor. Taught by one of the best defenders in the NBA in Marcus Smart.

4. Stopping Momentum

One great way to slow down an opponent is by crowding their space before they can set up and make a move on you.

This might sound like the exact opposite of something you would do when guarding a fast player, but something you got to realize is that speed can only really be utilized if your opponent can create space .

That is why quicker players tend to do better in transition than they do in half-court situations.

Pro Tip: I only recommend you do this in half-court situations. And to do this technique sparingly. If you play a smart offensive player they will just back up their dribble and then blow by you.

5. Use Your Head

Do not let your pride get in the way of understanding when a player might have an advantage over you.

As I mentioned earlier you sometimes have to use reason and logic in order to effectively play the game of basketball.

For example, if you are much taller than your defender try and use your length to back up and get the best contest you possibly can.

Or sometimes you might have to ask your teammates and coaches for a double team or help side.

Whatever it is come up with the best strategies and systems you know you are capable of to stop and contain a quick offensive play.

Frequently Asked Question

Question: How do you guard quicker shorter players?

Answer: This can be a very hard task in the game of basketball. One of the best tips I can give you is to make sure you stay low so your defender does not get his hips below yours.

Any great coach will tell you "low man wins" and this could not be more true than when defending a shorter player.

Question: How can I improve my lateral quickness in order to defend these taller players?

Answer: One great to get quicker and more athletic, in general, is by doing plyometrics.

And more specifically doing plyometrics which incorporates lateral movements in their exercises. One great example of this would be the latera bound.


As you can see there are many strategies and techniques you can implement into your game in order to be a more effective defender on the court.

Hopefully, those days of being left in the dust and looking at your opponent's backs are in the past.

As always thank you for reading and keep hooping my friends.

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