The art of shot-blocking has seen many changes throughout basketball history; today it stands as a skill that's not often seen, largely due to its drawbacks. However, blocking still holds some value, even if only for the sheer spectacle of tactically smacking the ball away from opponents.

What's often the case is that players fail to block a shot correctly, either from a lack of understanding of the rules or the current situation. Accidently incurring a foul or goaltending would leave even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar rolling in his grave, especially when these mistakes can be easily avoided.

So to help counteract this problem, let's learn a little more about shot-blocking in terms of the necessary information that surrounds it. This way you'll have a solid idea of when to block and not block a basketball, and hopefully carry it out with better luck while playing.

General Info for Blocking in Basketball

Here are a few general bits of information to keep in mind:

- You can block a shot anywhere on the court, but keep in mind that it's usually done at the low post since not only is this where most tall players are, but the probability of making a shot is higher.
- Tall players often have an easier time blocking due to their long arms and tall stature.
- To block a shot, simply put your hand in the way of the basketball's path, either with one or both hands and with a static hold or a swat. If you can push it in the direction of your team.

When it comes to blocking a shot, you should always think to yourself, "Is this worth it?"Considering that shooting percentages get lower the farther a shooter is from the rim, a shot from within the post is usually worth going for, while far away shots are debatable depending on the shooter.

It can be a lot safer to just contest a shot, so be sure to assess the situation properly before doing anything abruptly. Also yes, tall players do way better than everyone else in defense, and naturally, that includes the ability to negate a shot.

You could however circumvent this by working on your vertical jump; especially if you're short, a high jump can benefit you. Since your closer to the ground, you're a lot quicker than someone tall, and a high leap gives you a stronger air game to combine with your speed.

Blocking Shots - The Bad

If you aren't aware of these issues, then you're liable to mess up big time.

Contact fouls are a common problem amongst players when trying to block. This is when you make contact with the shooter when defending, and results in the offense being granted free throw attempts. The best way to avoid this is to keep your distance and wait for the ball to be released.

Only then do you raise your hands; be careful when reaching. There's also a thing called "incidental contact" but I wouldn't rely on it. The only way that gets called is if contact is made on the way down after jumping, so it doesn't include an action like reaching in or swatting someone's hand.

Another error that players make, often unknowingly, is goaltending. This is when you in any way alter the basketball's trajectory while it's on the way down relative to the shot's arc. This is really only an issue for absolute beginners to the game, but it's still a good idea to watch out for it.

The final problem that players have when blocking is rushing into it, and this can even apply to when you're contesting a shot. All it takes is a simple pump-fake to trick you into jumping and allow the offense to easily get past you.

The only way around this is to rely on your in-game experience. You could also mimic the person you're guarding so that when they pull out a trick you'll not only be there to deal with it, but you'll ready to anticipate the next move.

Blocking Shots - The Good

Let's go over some of the benefits when it comes to blocking shots:

- You cut into the other team's morale and confidence
- Your team now holds possession of the basketball (if you move it towards them)
- You become a better defender all around

Let me not give off the impression that shot-blocking is anything more than it really is: a nice tool to have for once and a while occasions. Just having it though is powerful so that when you do carry out a block, it lands with impact and acts as a real game-changer.

I don't know about you but, if someone were to smack the ball out of my hands and in the process give their team a chance to score, I'd feel pretty bad about it. Not that it's used much in this manner, but one of the uses for shot-blocking is to give the other team a strong impression.

Of course, if you block the ball and direct it back to your team, that's a pretty important moment (although today players make so many three's that it isn't all that hard to catch up). That being said, it's still something neat to perform, even if it is a once in a blue moon occasion.

Finally, working on any part of your defensive capabilities is gonna make you a better defender, and blocking is no exception. By developing your ability to stay on your target, match their movements, and provide defense while avoiding fouls, you effectively improve upon yourself all around.

Blocking Shots - The Ugly

Unfortunately, while we may herald Kareem as an all-time great when it comes to shot-blocking, that part of the game simply isn't focused on much. Blocking a shot can hold some pretty serious drawbacks, which is why it's most often a better option to simply contest a shot.

Blocking takes some strategy to carry out successfully, making it both difficult to perform, but all the more impressive to see done well.

Author's Bio: 

Ball Amazingly is a basketball blog that covers various topics on becoming a better basketball player, information regarding basketball and training, and content made to entertain.