Hedge Basketball

Basketball Hedging A Screen

Guarding against pick-and-rolls in basketball can be extremely hard for defenses. However, teams practice against these situations while training, and use certain techniques to evade the pick and prevent baskets. One of these techniques, called “hedging,” is a way to successfully defend against the pick-and-roll. Read on to learn more about hedging in basketball.


Hedging is a common defensive concept used when guarding against pick-and-rolls and screens. The defender who is guarding the offensive player who sets the screen jumps out higher than his man or “hedges” the ball-handling offensive player, giving their defender time to recover and stay with them. This is commonplace amongst teams using man-to-man defense and when executed well, can effectively eliminate the offensive gain that comes from a screen being set.

Offensive Options

If the ball handler realizes that the other defender is hedging, they have a couple of counter moves they can make. They can try and dribble around the hedge quickly before it arrives and draw a foul. They can also split the screener and the hedging defender giving themselves an easy lane to the rim. They could also reject the screen, catching the defense off guard, which would allow for an easy pass to the screener whose defender is now on his back from the strong hedge.

Defensive Options

Going along with a hedging defender, the primary defender of the ball handler has two choices to make: either to go over following the ball handler or under the screen to meet them around the other side. The choice depends on the strength of the offensive player, because if they are a good shooter, then their defender should attempt to block the shot. However, if they aren’t a strong shooter then going under is the best bet to keep the offense in check.


What is hedging in basketball?

Hedging in basketball is a defensive tactic used to guard against pick-and-rolls. In a typical hedge, the player guarding the screen-setting player will jump up higher than the pick, allowing their teammate to continue guarding the ball-handling player. If done correctly, all players will be in the correct defensive position and the pick-and-roll threat will be eliminated.

What is the difference between soft and hard hedging in basketball?

Soft and hard hedges are two different types of hedging in basketball which describe how much pressure a defender puts on the offensive player setting a screen. In a soft hedge, the defender will look to contain the ball, whereas in a hard hedge, they will actively leap above the screen being set to exert pressure on the dribbler.