There are two different types of common defenses in basketball. The types of defenses are person-to-person and zone. There are a number of different ways to execute each defense. Most coaches instruct their team to use the person-to-person defense because it is usually more efficient. When a team uses both methods they are normally ready to guard against any other type of defense.
Person to Person
In the original method of person-to-person, the coach gives each player a specific person to defend. If you are using the full court method of person-to-person, you will start to defend you assigned player when the other team is in possession of the ball. If you are playing a half-court game, you will go to the defensive side of the court and defend your man as soon as he is across the center line.
Variation of the Person to Person
There are two different variations of this method. The first variation includes switching person-to-person. When someone on the offense sets a screen on you, you switch people and pick up whoever has just set the screen. This is done while the person who was guarding that person starts to pick up the person you had. When you switch screens it is more advanced than basic person-to-person guarding. This is normally used when the offense using the pick-and-roll as their main offensive tactic. Sagging person-to-person is the second variation. This can be used when some of the players on the offense are not great shooters from the outside.
If your team is using zone defense, you will guard a certain area instead of a man. If someone from the offense comes into your zone, it is your job to guard that person. If he leaves your zone, the person who is in that zone then becomes responsible for them. Zone defenses are typically used when the opposite team does not have good shooting from the outside area.
Variations of Zone Defense
There are many different variations of the zone defense method. The classic zone defense variations is a 2-1-2. When this method is used there are two defenders that are responsible for the outside area, as well as one defender who is placed in the middle part of the court, near the foul line. There are also two defenders placed on the inside. A 2-3 zone defense has three defenders on the back line and is great for rebounding. A 1-2-2 zone allows the team to put more pressure on the offense. The zone defense can either be passive or active, depending on how the coach and the team execute the defense. There are many different types of half-court and full-court zone formations that can be used to trap opponents into doing turnovers.