You will often hear basketball coaches refer to their point guard as the “coach on the floor” or the “quarterback” of the team. You will also hear coaches talk about their basketball point guard play being the reason their team was so successful. Point guards have more responsibility than any other player on the floor. A good point guard should account for many jobs that statistics just do not cover.
Away from the obligatory basketball skills that point guards must perfect, there are many other skills pertinent for this position. This basketball article for players will breakdown some of these different skills and will allow you to better be able to master the position of a point guard in basketball.
Great Point Guards Plays Under Control
A good point guard plays at a steady pace, never getting out-of-control. They know when to turn up the pace and run as well as slow things down. The pace is generally dictated by the time and score of the game and that particular coach’s basketball philosophy. As simple as this sounds, too many times, you will see a guy push the basketball and run when it is simply not needed, or they will get out of control and make bad decisions because they don’t have a proper feel for the pace of the game. As a point guard in basketball, you need to read the flow of the game and know when to be aggressive and when to slow it down.
Another big part of playing under control is being able to handle the basketball. If a point guard is confident with dribbling the basketball, it will be easier for them to navigate the other areas of the game. Make sure that you are spending time doing different basketball drills that will allow you to work on your ball handling and being a confident ball-handler.
Great Point Guards Understand Time and Score
It is equally important for a point guard to always know the time and score of the game. If there are two minutes left in the game and your team is down ten, the point guard must recognize this and push the pace looking to get quick scores. On the flip side, if you are up 4 with two minutes to go, the point guard must recognize this and set up a play to burn some clock and get a quality shot. Too many times, young point guards lose track of this.
Great Point Guards Know the Offense
On offense, a point guard should know every spot of every play within the team’s offense. A basketball play cannot be initiated or ran correctly if every player is not in the correct spot. Point guards have to recognize this and get their teammates in the correct spots. They should also know who the basketball play is being run for and what the action is trying to accomplish.
Great Point Guards Know Their Teammate’s Strengths
Does my center feel more comfortable from the left or right block? Does my shooting guard shoot the ball better coming off screens going right or going left? The point guard should also have a feel for the opposing player’s foul trouble or where there are defensive mismatches and be able to exploit them without the coach having to say that. The more a point guard can understand offensive strengths and the other team’s defensive weaknesses, the easier it will be to manufacture quality scoring opportunities.
Great Point Guards Are Team Leaders
Leadership is another quality that is a must for a good point guard. Between plays, are you huddling your teammates up to let them know what defense you’re in or what play your coach wants to run? Are you encouraging your teammates or reprimanding them? If your big guy has been running the floor but yet to receive the ball in the post, keep encouraging him and let him know you will be getting him the ball. Are you telling guys who they need to be matched up with, or are you confused yourself? Through scouting, do you know tendencies for all the opposing players or just the guys you are guarding? To truly be a “coach on the floor,” you must know the intricacies of your team and the opponent.
Great Point Guards Are Great Decision Makers
Decision making is another component that a point guard cannot overlook. Turnovers can be a detriment to a team’s success. The point guard has the ball in his hands more than anyone and is looked upon to make sound decisions. A good point guard in basketball must value the ball, and each possession for their team to succeed. It goes deeper than turnovers, but into shot selection and knowing personnel. Know the difference between a good shot and a bad shot. Not knowing the difference can essentially be the same as a turnover, as can not knowing your own personnel.
Point Guard Play in Basketball Conclusion
Many of these traits come with experience through playing the game, but many can also come through film and studying. A good point guard or basketball player, in general, can never study too much. You can never know all of your basketball plays too much or find enough instances through watching film where you did not lead as you should. Invest in being the best point guard you can be both mentally and physically, and your team will benefit greatly because of it.