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Name of Activity:

Freeze Basketball Defense

Purpose of Activity:

For students to practice recognizing and getting into proper position when playing defense.


Students should have some skill dribbling and shooting a basketball, although, this activity can be modified to accommodate students of varying skill.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

One basketball for every two students, and basketball hoops or anything that resembles hoops.

Description of Idea

Group students into pairs and have each pair get a basketball and go to a hoop. For an instant activity, have the students play one on one basketball to get warmed up. Don't worry much about all the rules, just make sure they are safe.

After the warm-up, call them in for a discussion. Discuss the fact that basketball can be a complex game and that there are many rules and strategies to playing. Tell them that one important concept is defensive positioning and that today's activity will stress defensive positioning when you are playing person to person defense (you may need to explain what that means). Tell them that they will go back to their court and continue playing one on one, but this time the whistle will sound every so often. They must freeze when the whistle sounds. This is just a practice game to get them used to freezing when they hear the whistle and that the focus is on freezing, not defensive positioning yet.

As soon as the students are good at freezing, move on to the real game. Bring the students in and discuss defensive positioning. Tell them that the main concept for today will be that the defensive person is closer to the basket than the offensive person. Demonstrate this concept. Tell them that they will not keep score in the usual way. They will keep score according to who is in better position when the whistle sounds and they freeze. Students will continue to play one on one like they have been playing. When the whistle sounds, if the defensive person is closer to the basket, he/she gets a point. If the offensive person is closer, he/she gets a point. Also, points are earned every time a basket is made. This encourages students to play without camping out underneath the hoop. Have students play and blow the whistle every 30-50 seconds. Give them time to figure out who got the point then tell them to continue playing.


Try the same concept with 2 vs. 2 at one hoop.
Include the concept of defenders staying between the player and the basket.
Address concepts related to slowing down offensive players by body positioning, or causing them to run around defenders.
The same concept can be applied in hockey and soccer.

Assessment Ideas:

Have a third person in a group conduct a peer check every time the whistle blows. Provide a check sheet that has two columns, a "yes" and "no" column. When the whistle blows, the student makes a check mark in the appropriate column indicating whether the defensive player was in correct position.
Use an exit slip that has a number of hoops drawn with "O's" written to indicate where the offensive player is. The students must write a "D" showing the appropriate positioning for the defensive player.

Teaching Suggestions:

Use music instead of a whistle. When the music stops, they must all freeze.
Have students choose their own partners.
Tape hula hoops on the wall of the gym for hoops. Hoops can be hung at different levels.
Have students rotate every 4 times you blow the whistle so every pair can play on a real basketball hoop.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities

Students with special needs can often participate along with other students. It is important that they (as well as the rest of your class) choose or are given an appropriate partner.
Have students conduct peer checks for defensive positioning.

Submitted by Bob Wright in Richboro, PA. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 2/24/2015.
Viewed 220931 times since 8/24/2001.

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Freeze Basketball Defense

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Previous Comments:

isaiah h

i find the ideas very exciting and helpful

Natalie Christner

I love the game, it sounds like fun and it looks like it's easy as pie.




i thin this game is a lot of fun the kids at my school love this game i lilke it to!!!!!

Tyler Luster

this game is so fun

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