What Is Blocking In Basketball?


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What Is Blocking In Basketball

Basketball is one of the most recognized and widely viewed sports in the entire world. It is a team play with 5 players on each side competing to score points against each other by passing a ball through the hoop in the opponent’s corner.

Although the game is known for its hype play depicting athleticism by the way of creative offensive moves. Thus, making it look like an offense-heavy game but it needs to be balanced with the effective defense strategies by the opponents.

These defensive strategies make up the other half of the game which makes it very interesting to spectate. Today, we are going to discuss blocking among many of the defensive techniques available at hand. Thus, the question arises, what is blocking in basketball?

Understanding Defense blocking in basketball

Understanding Defense blocking in basketball

One of the core mechanics of the game is defense. Without good defense, a team cannot defend against the offense of the opposing team. Thus, we must discuss the basic concepts of defense before going deep into blocking in basketball mechanics.

The main goal of defense is to attain the objective of hindering the opponent’s offense with effective defensive strategies. We need to match our defensive talent with that of the offense of the opponent team. This requires a thorough study of the rival’s game plan.

There are two main defensive strategies we need to discuss here which are impeding dribble penetration and protecting the basket.

Impeding Dribble Penetration

The offense of this game is meant to breach the defense of the opponent’s team through various strategies mainly by focusing on the vulnerabilities in defense. Once that is analyzed, the offense strategies can be used to penetrate the other side.

One such strategy Is dribble penetration. Which focuses on quickly breaching into the opponent’s court by dribbling the ball and using quick footwork and avoiding turnovers.

Thus, it is essential to focus the defense in the middle of the court to impede any incoming dribble penetration or even try to avoid It completely by using an effective analysis of the opponent’s game plan and strategies.

Protect the Basket

Another major defensive strategy to barrier the offense of the opponents is to protect the basket at all times. This is fundamental to the game plan as the main factor in winning is to score through a blocking in basketball. 

There should always be one or more on-ball or off-ball defenders present near the basket at all times. The reason is that if there is no defender at the basket, it gives a fairly open opportunity to the opponents to score a basket by way of layups or dunks. These are the most common and frequently used ways of scoring, thus, making them quintessential to the defensive strategy.

Another part of this defensive strategy is to keep the tallest players near the basket as this allows them to use their height advantage and wingspan to ensure maximum defense at the basket.  

Transition defense

Transition happens when the control of the ball goes from the hand of one team to the hands of the opposite team. This usually occurs when there is a missed shot. Now after the transition, the defender closest to the basket, even if he’s short on height, must hurry back to the basket.

This mitigates the risk of scoring on an undefended basket, as the opponents now have to go through our defense to score a point. This creates an immediate and effective barrier for opponents to get an easy point during transitions.

What is Blocking in basketball?

What is Blocking in basketball

Blocking refers to the act when a defender prevents a scoring attempt by the opponent’s attacker in a legal manner. It doesn’t matter if the ball is knocked down or not. The most important is that the scoring attempt is hindered in any way.

Blocking happens regardless of where the ball goes after the block. The ball may go out of bounds and return to the opposing team but would still be considered legally blocked. Similarly, blocking could lead to a turnover where the ball goes into the hands of the defending team giving a good advantage. All blocking needs is to be legal.

One thing to keep in mind is that in order for it to be a legal block, the defender must hinder the ball in its upwards arc or when it is at its peak height. If the defender attempts to block it in any other way it is called goaltending and is considered a score as the basket counts.


Goaltending happens when the defender blocks the ball in any way other than the legal way to block. This could occur if the ball is blocked in its downward arc or after it hits the rim. It can also occur if the ball is blocked after it hits the backboard. 

If the ball is blocked in any such way in the opponent’s corner, it awards the opponent with a point. If goaltending occurs while being in the two-point zone, then two points will be awarded to the opponent. Three points are awarded if goaltending occurs while in the three-point zone.

Planning the Block

Although one may assume blocking to be an easy task but it requires a significant amount of planning and opponent’s move reading. Although there are some physical factors that affect the blocking like the height and wingspan of the player. But these factors are overshadowed by the planning and readability of the opponent’s move.

Prediction plays a huge role in defense as blocking requires accurately determining the response time in response to the scoring attempt of the attacker. Although some athletes with good height may not like to put much effort into blocking, some players with lower heights block much better because of their reaction time because of anticipation of the opponent’s move.

It is vital to jump before the opponent makes the attempt to score, this helps the defender to reach the height before the attacker and protect the basket effectively.


What is turnover in basketball?

A turnover occurs when the player with the ball loses possession of the ball before making an attempt to score. Thus, the control of the ball goes into the defending team after the turnover.

What does wingspan mean?

Wingspan refers to the measurement of the length of a player from one end of an arm to the other end of the other arm. This shows the reach of the player and can help determine the player’s physical advantage over other players.

What is drive in basketball?

Drive refers to the dribble penetration to the basket with the intent to make a score or to distract the defense and pass the ball to a shooter. Drive can also be made to draw a foul. It is one of the most basic and essential forms of attack.

How do you dribble penetrate?

In dribble penetration, the player holding the ball has many options such as he can finish the layup to score a point, or he can confuse defenses and pass the ball to a player in the opposite block, or he can pass it to a back-cutter. This is one of the most effective offensive moves in basketball.


Complex mechanics, deep strategies, and blazing-fast gameplay, all form the sport of basketball. Among many of the defensive strategies used to interrupt the offense of the opponent’s team, blocking is one of the most basic and important types to master. It can halt the offenses and can turn around the game in the defender’s favor if used effectively.

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