Basketball Defense Tips

In the game, the team with a strong defense leaves less number of scoring opportunities for the opposing team. Defensive tactics, if not given much attention, allows the opponents to score easy points. On the contrary, a team with a good defense allows its attackers to concentrate on scoring points for the team.

Dribbles and passes are moves which need focus and attention in order to strengthen the defense. Keeping control on the body movements, or to be more specific, making proper use of body weight, forcing, faking, hand position, etc., is important.

Keeping the Head Lower
This is important when a man-to-man guarding strategy is used. One has to keep the head lower than the player he is guarding. This position allows for quick movements.

Balance on the Heel
While guarding, it becomes difficult to beat the opponent if the body is leaning forward. The direction of the opponent’s move cannot be tracked properly by this kind of approach. The habit of keeping the weight of the body on the heels at the time of guarding an offensive player proves to be useful. By doing so, one gets the opportunity to monitor the opponent’s moves; also the defensive player can think of planning a move to take possession of the ball.

Cutting Off the Opponent’s Path
One should try to occupy such a position that the opponent cannot make a move without reckoning with you. It is also important for the defensive player to maintain a certain distance from the offensive player. A spin move by the opponent would leave you wrong-footed if you are too close. A spin move is one in which the ball handler spins his body and faces away from the opponent. It helps keep the ball out of the opponent’s reach. There is also a chance of getting caught in a foul if a player tries to get too close.

Hand Position
The positioning of the hands is an important aspect too. One should take different approaches for each of the offensive positions of the opponents. If the ball is at a height below the mid-section, it is advisable to keep the hands above. By doing so, one makes it difficult for the offensive player to bring the ball into a shooting position. If the ball is at a height above the level of the head, one should keep the hands below the ball. The offensive player should find it difficult to bring the ball for shooting. Keeping the hands in front of the ball would discourage him from shooting.

Maintaining Pressure
One should always make the opponents earn their points. Preventing easy shots is one of the basic things to keep in mind. Getting the ball back by means of rebounds and steals is necessary, to take the pressure off and provide your attackers with more opportunity.

Monitoring Opponent’s Moves
It is necessary to keep track of the moves of all opponents. One should deny them a good position, and of course, the prized possession of the ball.

Shot Blocking
Shot blocking is an important aspect of defense. Keeping the hands straight up in the air while approaching an offensive player is ideal. One should try to avoid leaping, since it increases the chances of getting faked. It is advisable to run towards the offensive player even though you are not able to block a particular shot. The opponent would be pressurized into making mistakes with this kind of move.

Scoring the maximum number of points is the objective in any game, so obviously, one shouldn’t allow the opponent to score easily. Scoring requires a great amount of effort, and by defending in a proper manner, this task can be made all the more difficult.

Basketball Equipment

maxresdefault-1Though basketball is considered a contact sport, there is not much safety equipment that is required. While players in the professional leagues wear mouth gaurds, and various other protective gear, this is not required for normal competitve basketball.

Did You Know?
Basketball was originally played with a soccer ball!

The Basketball
A basketball is definitely the most important equipment required to play the sport of basketball. You can have every other equipment but without a ball, it would account for nothing. Basketballs come in different sizes, that vary according to the age group of the players.
As far as professional basketball competitions are concerned, most leagues use size 7 for men’s competitions, and size 6 for women’s competitions. Size 7 corresponds to 29.5 to 30 inches of circumference, whereas size 6 corresponds to 28.5 inches of circumference. Besides the size, basketballs also come in varying materials, of which there are two major types.

Rubber Basketballs
Basketballs made out of rubber are primarily used on outdoor playing surfaces, though they can be used on indoor courts too. These balls are heavier, more durable, and cost less than other types of basketballs.

Leather Basketballs
Basketballs made out of leather are primarily used on indoor playing surfaces, and are referred to as indoor basketballs. They can be used outdoors as well, but are not made for outdoor courts, and hence get damaged or worn out quicker when used outdoors. They are lighter in weight as compared to rubber basketballs, and more expensive.

Basketball Court
A basketball court is a rectangular surface consisting of two posts on either side, to which the backboards are attached. The size of the court differs with every league. The surface of the court is usually made out of wood or cement. Indoor courts that are used for competitive matches are usually made out of maple wood which is polished, whereas outdoor courts meant for casual play are usually made out of cement.

In the National Basketball Association (NBA), which is the highest professional league for basketball in America, the official size of the court is 94 feet by 50 feet. In the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the court is around 91 feet by 49 feet, which is slightly smaller than the NBA court. Schools and institutions have even smaller courts, some as small as 74 feet by 42 feet.

The Basket
The basket, also referred to as a hoop or a ring, is a horizontal metallic rim, circular in shape. This rim is attached to a net, which is usually made out of nylon or steel. The rim is mounted 10 feet above the court. Some leagues, that cater to younger children, may have baskets that are lower than 10 feet.

The Backboard
The backboard is a vertical board made out of Plexiglas or wood, to which the basket is attached. This is the surface used by players to rebound their shots into the basket. In professional basketball , this board is made out of Plexiglas and not wood, not only because the former is more durable, but also because the opaqueness of wood proves to be a hindrance for the spectators whose view of the game can be blocked if they are sitting in line with the backboard.

The Apparel
The clothing or the uniform used in basketball is the next most important thing, as having the right attire can make you feel comfortable during the game or practice. Comfort is important since a lot of actions and movements in basketball require your joints to have full range of motion. Wrong attire can hinder the flexibility of the player.

Jersey and Shorts
Basketball is typically played in a jersey and shorts. The jersey should preferably be sleeveless, so that it does not hinder the shooting action at all. If you are playing in competitive matches, it is advisable that a team should wear the same colored jersey and shorts as it makes it easier to spot your teammates. In professional leagues, this a mandatory requirement anyway.

Shoes
Wearing basketball shoes is very significant as opposed to donning usual sneakers, as these shoes are designed specifically for the game of basketball. They are ankle length shoes designed to give protection to the ankle, as basketball is a sport that involves a lot of jumping, twists, and turns. These shoes provide a lot of traction too.

Additional Equipment
In addition to the equipment mentioned above, other things are required when the game is played professionally. The most important of these are as listed:

Scoreboard
A scoreboard is required to keep count of the score when a match is being played. A basic scoreboard consists of a digital clock that keeps track of the time of the match, as well as a digital screen that keeps the track of the score of both teams. A scoreboard is usually placed on the sidelines in semi-professional leagues, and at the top in professional competitions.

Shot Clock
A shot clock is a digital clock, usually placed at the top of the backboard, which counts down from 24 seconds, during which time the team in possession of the basketball has to make a shot that touches the rim of the hoop. Failure to do so results in a violation against the team in possession. Once the ball has touched the rim, the shot clock automatically resets and begins another countdown of 24 seconds.

Referee Whistle
A referee whistle is required when matches are being played competitively. The referee uses a whistle to indicate the start or end of a game and to halt the play in the middle of a game. This is done to indicate fouls, timeouts, or if the basketball has traveled out-of-bounds. A whistle can be either made from aluminum or plastic.

Now that you are aware of the different equipment required to play the game of basketball, go out and get your gear to involve yourself in one of the most exciting and popular sports in the world.

Swimming Tips for Beginners

If you’re just learning to swim, it is a good practice to either have a coach or a friend who knows how to swim with you at all times. So whenever you’re training in the water, you can be sure that there’s always someone watching your back.

Being Mentally Prepared

In order to learn how to swim, you have to prepare yourself mentally. This comes before actually stepping inside the swimming pool. Clearing any doubts or apprehension is the key to becoming a good swimmer. So get yourself enrolled for the lessons, talk to a friend of yours who knows how to swim, and/or ask someone to join with you to learn; and of course, don’t give up.

Your Movements Inside the Water

Stand in the shallow part of the pool, and keep your hands in the water. Now start moving your arms around as gently as possible. This way, without moving ahead, you will learn the arm movements. Slowly, bend your knees and submerge your body till the neck, and get comfortable with the pressure on your body.

Controlling Your Breathing

While swimming, it is crucial that you exhale freely in the water. For beginners, the first instinct is to hold the breath when inside. This is wrong because you won’t be able to complete the strokes properly, and won’t really propel much ahead. So with your coach or friend, in shallow end, place your face inside water, and exhale through your nose. While you do this, hum from your mouth. As you exhale from the nose, bubbles will come out and you will feel as if you are sighing. As you get better at it, completely submerge your body and practice this.

Wearing the Goggles

Your sight is very important while swimming, and to learn how to see under water, you need to be comfortable with the goggles on. So whenever you’re in the pool, place the goggles over your eyes and don’t take them off. The practice of seeing through the goggles in and out of the water is very important. And if your goggles begin to get foggy, let some water in. The water will splash over the goggles, and will remove the fog.

Learning in Bits and Pieces

Don’t try to learn the entire stroke all at once; break it up into sections. Learn your arm movements first, or practice kicking with your legs, if you prefer. The point is that you can’t jump in the water and manage to move your entire body at once.

These tips are not just for you to read, but to help you understand your role as a swimmer. Of course, a coach will give you helpful suggestions and advice to assist you, but in the end, it is your responsibility to understand and apply them properly to aid yourself. All the best!

Swimming Tips for Kids

children in poolKids get excited when it comes to learning any activity associated with water. The mere mention of swimming sets them into action and they are always ready to take the splurge. Keeping the fun side apart, swimming is probably one of those healthiest exercises that flex every part of your body. But, you should be well aware of the correct techniques and the safety guidelines pertaining to swimming, before your kids take a plunge into the pool!

Swimming Tips for You

You should be responsible enough to take care of your own safety during the learning phase. Obey the rules given by your trainer and listen to your parents. And here we are, to help you with some safety tips while swimming.

  • Always keep inflatable rubber ‘floaties’ with you. Float them throughout the pool so that you are able grasp them whenever needed.
  • Always ensure the depth of the pool that you will be accessing. Make sure that the pool is not deep enough to drown you.
  • If you are planning to take up swimming lessons, then start during summers or winters.
  • Monsoon is not the right time to begin learning swimming.
  • Ensure that the pool you go to is equipped with danger alarms and that you know how to operate it.
  • Hold your trainer’s hand and walk in the water first.
  • Make yourself comfortable in the pool environment and make friends with the water!
  • Remain close to the sides of the pool initially; don’t rush to swim in the center of it.
  • Initially you will be asked to kick the water with your legs and gradually you will learn to float your body.
  • Make your body light and feel your body float. You need to overcome the fear of drowning, to be able to swim.
  • Check the concentration of pool chemicals with your trainer and take protection measures accordingly.
  • Try to wear complete swimming costumes and avoid exposing your bare body to the pool water.
  • Massage your body with almond or coconut water and moisturize your face before entering the water.
  • Learn the breathing mechanisms as taught by your trainer. Expel the water as you tread through and try not to let it enter your nose or mouth.
  • Your trainer will help you learn how to maintain a rhythm inside water. Try to grasp the techniques in the best possible way.
  • It takes at least 2 months to learn swimming completely. Do not be hasty, rather proceed gradually to attain perfection.
  • Wear a swimming cap and goggles while swimming. The goggle will protect your eyes from pool water and simultaneously your hair will also be guarded against the chemicals.
  • You should check the temperature of the water. Do not swim in cold water during the winter season as you are more likely to catch cold. Prefer swimming in lukewarm water during winters.

Note for Parents: You should be responsible enough to keep an eye on your kids while they learn swimming, even in your home pool. It would also be a joyful experience, when you accompany them to pools. Sending your kids to swimming schools is probably a better idea as they will receive complete guidance over there and they will also learn more quickly. Ideally, a child should be taught swimming after he completes four years of age. There’s no reason to hurry until its extremely urgent. As a parent, you should also be aware of the pool safety measures. Encourage your child to learn swimming and help him as much as possible.

That was a guide to some useful swimming tips for kids. Learning swimming would definitely be an enjoyable experience when you are well aware of the safety guidelines. Be thorough with the basic techniques and cultivate patience to master swimming. Practice it regularly and you will see the difference. The guidelines that we have provided in this article are simple to understand and easy to follow.