Guarding a taller Player

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Guarding a taller player is not always an easy task. This is typically not something most basketball players enjoy doing. Sometimes the team has players who have fouled out or simply no one tall enough to handle those tall players on the boards or anywhere else on the court.

I was once ordered to guard a taller player and as I stood there in disbelief with the full knowledge that I could not competently take on the taller player, my coach informed me that when we were in under the boards, to step on the taller players pivot foot. Is this ethical? No, it is not which is why I want to share some tips for short people guarding taller players.

More times to none, shorter players are quicker as compared to the taller players. Shorter players have the advantage of quickness and this can be utilized by overworking the taller player. Quickness comes into play when you beat the taller opponent down the court; this allows you to take your position while fighting to keep the taller opponent away from the basket. You definitely do not want the taller opponent to beat you under the basket because this is when you will be embarrassed as they utilize their height to their advantage.

If you are shorter than your opponent, unless you have a god given gift of jumping high, do not try to block shots. This will open the doors for fouls. You want to remain as close to the ground as possible. Keep your feet grounded on the court while focusing on steals. Taller basketball players majority wise are not good ball handlers and this will allow you the opportunity for creating steals which can result in some fast breaks and points to win the game.

As a shorter player, your goal should be to crowd the taller opponent. Stay on them in comparison to white on rice. Harass them when they dribble which will more times to none agitate the taller opponent while opening up the opportunity for steals. I like to call this the “in your face” defense. This of course works great when you are conducting a man-to-man defense.

You simply have to do the best you can when dealing with a taller opponent. Box them out on rebounds. This is conducted by ensuring you are in front of the taller opponent and literally stick your butt in their belly forcing them backwards. It is highly unlikely you will get the rebound but by boxing out the taller opponent, you are ensuring they do not get the rebound either. The great thing about this maneuver is that if the taller opponent comes over your back to get the rebound this often times results in fouls being called.

Simply do the best you can when ordered to guard a taller player. You might get embarrassed or you might do the embarrassing. This greatly depends on your ability to adapt to these types of situations during a basketball game. If you have the desire to win as well as the motivation to make it happen, no matter if you win or not, you will know you did your best not only for yourself but your team.

What is your advice for guarding a taller player? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment field below.

Picture credit:
Title: Craig Brackins • Created by: SD Dirk via Flickr • Licence: Creative Commons Attribution

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About Author

I have been playing Basketball for as long as I can remember and coaching from the age of sixteen. My blog, Layups.com, has been created to help Basketball lovers from all skill levels to improve their game. I hope that you find my blog both useful and entertaining!