Playing the point guard position in basketball comes with a lot of responsibilities. The position comes with an added role of leadership and being able to get the team organized on the offensive and defensive end, as well as being a skilled player. A lot of point guards are considered the coach on the floor or the general of the team. If you look at the elite point guards like Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo you will see that they lead their team and look to make every player around them better.
Since being a basketball point guard requires so much of the player, it can become a very challenging position. That is why I have created a list of things that every point guard should know about playing this position. So whether you have just started playing point guard, or have been playing it for a while and are looking for ways to be a better player, this article is for you.
Take Care of the Ball
As a point guard you must be able to take care of the basketball. If you are throwing the ball around the gym and turning it over frequently your team is going to struggle, and you will most likely end up on the bench. So you need to make sure that you are making good basketball passes and staying out of situations that have a high turnover probability. Stay out of spots on the floor where you can get trapped and where there is a lot of congestion, and don’t force the action. A good point guard is able to see the floor and stay out of situations where there are a lot of hands and people. Just being able to recognize these types of places on the floor will help you limit your turnovers drastically.
Be a Leader on the Floor
Some players are more naturally outspoken than others and it is easier for them to be leaders. With the point guard position though you are going to need to get out of your comfort zone and be a leader, whether you are natural leader or not. It is your job to be able to get the team organized on offense and defense. You are an extension of the coach on the floor and you need to know the offense and the game plan better than anyone else out there on the floor. This will require more time on your part studying the plays, learning the defense, etc. but if you want to be a great point guard than this is necessary.
Make your Teammates Better
You will have the basketball in your hands more than anyone else on the floor and you will be running the offense. One of your jobs from this position is being able to help your teammates get great scoring opportunities. Great point guards are able to set their teammates up for good shots in places where they are comfortable with the ball. So whether it is driving the paint to kick out to a down ready shooter for an open shot, or running a play to get the ball into the post player, you need to make sure that you are helping your teammates out.
If you see that one of the better scorers on your team is struggling to get going then you need to be able to run a play that gets them a high quality shot. You must be able to keep your finger on the pulse of your team and know your teammates.
Pressure the Ball
As a point guard bringing the ball up the floor you know how annoying it is to get pressured and not be able to get into the offense as easily as you would like. Well the same thing goes for the ball handler on the other team. If you can provide good ball pressure (especially in high school and college basketball where there is a 5 second closely guarded call) you can add a lot of value to your team. The other team’s point guard will be so nervous about the pressure that they won’t be able to get their team into the offense.
Pressuring the ball does not mean reaching, gambling, and getting out of defensive position (unless that is your team’s game plan). You must be able to keep your man in front of you, because if not they will just get into the paint and carve up your defense. Be able to pressure, while also being able to contain the ball.
Play at Different Speeds
A player with the ball that plays at the same speed the whole time is easy to guard, but a player that mixes up their speeds and is unpredictable becomes a lot harder to guard. It is not always about being lightning quick with the ball, but you do need to be able to go from slow to fast and fast to slow while handling the basketball. This will keep the defender guessing and off balance when they try to pressure you on defense, or when they are trying to keep you out of the paint.
The harder you are to guard off the dribble the more value you bring to your team. If you are able to get into the paint to kick the ball out for a shot, or dump it off for a layup, etc. you add a lot to your team on the offensive end. You need to be able to get into the paint though within the offense, not by using 10 dribbles to try and break your man down.