Lockdown defenders are very valuable to any coach or team. You will always be able to find playing time if you truly are a great defender. Check out these five tips to become a lockdown defender.
1. Know who you are guarding
To become a lockdown defender you must know the tendencies of who you’re guarding. Are they a shooter or driver? Are they left handed or right handed? Which moves do they like to do? All these questions you must know to be able to lock them down.
Never let the offensive player drive wherever he wants - cut off middle and make get him all the way to the sideline. If you just blindly play defence without paying attention or picking up on tendencies then they are frequently going to score. Some players are so good that even when you know these things they will still score on you, so you have to be quick to understand them and how you can defend them.
2. Always stay in your stance
As a lockdown defender you always need to be prepared for the offence in your stance. The proper defensive stance consists of your knees being bent, chest being up, and being low and wide with your hands out. By always being prepared in this stance you are able to cut defenders off and render their speed and moves ineffective. A proper defensive stance will also ensure that you can use your body to cut off a player without constantly fouling. Never leave your stance!
3. Be loud
The best defenders you’ll see aren’t the ones who are passive but they are ones who are relentless. You have to be all over who you’re guarding - hands up, shouting “BALL!”, calling out screens, and throwing off the offences flow. Being a lockdown defender means being unapologetically loud.
4. Practice how you want to play
Many people discard defence when they practice. Just because doing the fancy dribble or finishing the crazy shot makes you look nice, it doesn’t mean it’s any more effective. As a defender you must practice the defensive fundamentals - sliding properly, cutting off your man, understanding your teams defence, studying common offence's, and working out so your body won’t just get pushed around. You will never become a lockdown defender without practice.
5. Win mentally
Lockdown defenders always have a killer instinct. As a great defender you have to understand that you’re going to get scored on or even crossed over. You must be mentally strong and keep wearing your opponent down.
If you are mentally strong and you keep relentlessly going at your opponent even if he scores on you then you are going to win the battle. By the end of the game your opponent will be gassed from your effort - you have to get under the opponents skin and get in his head. Once you dominate them mentally they will get tired and become almost completely useless to their offence.