What is Double Team Defense in Basketball?

In basketball, double teaming is a defensive strategy where two defenders converge on an offensive player to try to force a turnover or prevent a shot. This strategy can be effective when used correctly, but can also leave other players on the court open for scoring opportunities. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the double team defense, how it works, when it’s used, and some of its pros and cons.

What is Double Team Defense?

Double team defense is a strategy used in basketball where two defenders team up on a single offensive player. The objective is to put pressure on the offensive player and force them to turn over the ball or make a bad pass. This type of defense is commonly used when guarding particularly skilled offensive players who are difficult to defend one-on-one.

How Does Double Team Defense Work?

When implementing double team defense, two defenders will move quickly to trap the offensive player in a specific area of the court. The goal is to close off all passing lanes and force the player to make a bad decision, like taking a low-percentage shot or turning over the ball. The other defenders on the court will try to stay aware of open players who could receive a pass and score.

When is Double Team Defense Used?

Double team defense is usually reserved for guarding particularly talented players who are hard to defend one-on-one. For example, a team may use double team defense to guard a superstar scorer who is adept at driving to the basket or hitting shots from outside the three-point line. The strategy may also be employed when guarding an offensive player who is carrying the ball too often or who is making poor decisions.

Pros and Cons of Double Team Defense

Pros of double team defense include the potential to force turnovers, prevent high-percentage shots, and disrupt offensive flow. However, it can also leave other players open for scoring opportunities and can be physically taxing on the two defenders executing the strategy.

How to Counter Double Team Defense

To counter double team defense, offensive players can look for open players on the court and make quick passes to take advantage of the defense’s openings. Players can also use fakes and quick movements to get around the double team and create space for a shot or a pass.


Double team defense is a high-risk, high-reward strategy that can be effective when used correctly. Understanding how it works, when it’s used, and how to counter it can help both defensive and offensive players make the most of this defensive tactic.

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