How to Avoid Getting Your Shots Blocked

Blocked shots are a major frustration for beginner and amateur basketball players. It is one of the most embarrassing situations in basketball when the defender makes you look like a fool for attempting a shot by smashing the ball right back in your face. Shot blockers are especially problematic for players who have not developed a subconscious awareness of where everyone is on the court. In this post we explain how to greatly reduce your number of blocked shots.

It’s obvious that you can reduce blocked shots by doing things like shortening your release time and increasing your vertical jump, but that does not get to the core of the issue. In reality the simple rule of picking your battles wisely is what will drastically reduce your blocked shots.

We know this rule applies to you because you would not be having your shot blocked and certainly wouldn’t be reading this post if you were the tallest or most athletic player on the court. That is why there are situations/players that you should just flat out avoid. Below are the details of how the rule applies to each type of shot.

Pick Your Battles Wisely (the key to avoiding blocked shots)

  • Outside Shots: If you have issues with outside shots being blocked it is because you are not properly assessing the player who is assigned to guard you. Do not attempt shots if your defender is significantly more athletic and skilled than you. Even if you feel like you have an open shot, they may get into position quicker than you expect. Instead of shooting outside jump shots against a great defender you should focus on contributing offensively in other ways such as setting screens, going for rebounds, and making cuts.
  • Close Range Shots: If you have issues with close range shots being blocked it is because you are not paying attention to where the other teams most aggressive defender is. Teams usually have an exceptionally athletic player who will create problems for your offense. If you beet your man off the dribble and this defender is anywhere near you, he is going to steel the ball or block your shot! This is why you should always know where the most aggressive defender is on the court. If you get the ball and that player is near you, move or pass the ball to another part of the court to create an advantage for your team.
  • Layups: If you have issues with layups being blocked it is either for the same reason as your close range shots (see above) or it is because you are not properly assessing where the help defense is. Often in a basketball game there are as many as one, two, or even three defenders under the hoop or in the paint, this is NOT the time to drive past your man and go in for a layup. Does this scenario sound familiar to you? You get the ball, drive passed your man, get excited that you are going to score a layup then all of a sudden your shot is blocked into the bleachers. Beginners often forget that in a 5 on 5 basketball game getting passed your man is only half the battle. You should decide what you will do before you even try to drive the ball, if the paint is empty you know you are going all the way, but if there are defenders you know you will be passing or shooting. Simply put, never go for a layup if there are defenders in the paint.

In conclusion, almost all blocked shots come from not properly assessing the defense, you need to pick battles that you will win. If you just keep in mind (A) the skill level of your defender, (B) the location of the most aggressive defender, and (C) the number of defenders in the paint, blocked shots will no longer be an issue for you.



2 thoughts on “How to Avoid Getting Your Shots Blocked

  1. Joe

    A good drill for avoiding shot blocks is to shoot the ball as fast as you can over and over again after grabbing the rebound. Do not even care if the shot goes in just practice on shooting faster and faster.

  2. Coach Steve

    Great post.
    Off course, players must assess the weak side help. But there is one statement that I’d like to challenge.

    “Simply put, never go for a layup if there are defenders in the paint.”

    I happen to think otherwise. If help is in great position, driving to the paint is a mistake. However, most of the times (for many reasons), help is late. Therefore the offensive player should drive to get a foul + the basket.

    The idea here is not to take a regular layup because it’s easy to block. The player should take a power layup instead (pro hop, and jump sideways) to draw the foul.


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