Man-to-man is the most basic defensive strategy in the game of basketball, yet the most misunderstood. To have a good man-to-man defense, a player must do much more than follow his man around the court.
In man-to-man, each defender is assigned to a specific offensive player. While this is a one-on-one style of defense, it does allow for switches and double teams. Pressure on the ball handler is the key - your goal is to stop him from passing or shooting. Many team turnovers occur due to a strong man-to-man defense.
Man-to-man defenders need to put pressure on the ball handler. Pressure the dribble, block his shots and always box out when the shot is made. This last point is imperative if you plan on getting the rebound, which of course, you want to do!
Remember, though, that the man-to-man is also a foul prone defense. A good player will learn quickly how to challenge the dribbler without fouling him; how to block the shot without coming into physical contact with the shooter. A good man-to-man defensive player knows where his man is at all times, and anticipates the play before it happens.