Loading... Please wait...

Learning to Play the Point Guard Position in Basketball

Posted by

As a young player I could score in a variety of ways. I was a great shooter, driver and finisher when I was given or created the opportunity for myself.

I was a shooting guard in a point guard body and I knew that if I wanted to play major college basketball I would need to truly become a point guard. This transition was not an easy one.

As a shooting guard, I had it easy. The other team would score and I would run down to the other end and try to get the ball. I didn't call the plays or even have to look and see what they were.

That changed the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of high school. I was learning to play point guard and I learned something about myself. I hated to be pressured 85 feet from the basket. With my limited skills at the time I thought that must be a full court press. I would dribble past my guy as fast as I could and get the ball up the floor.

I was so focused on beating him that I forgot about everything else that needed to happen. I'm a basketball junkie and in my life I've watched thousands of games and can throw out the most meaningless stats you can imagine, but I'd never really watched a point guard and studied what they went through until I was thrown into the fire.

That was very trying for me to learn that position but very important. I knew one thing I liked about it and that was the fact that I got the ball each time down the court.

Many young point guards simply lose focus of what is important with each possession. Their minds tend to get jumbled up with too many thoughts and it screws them up. This causes hesitancy and many of you are reading this agreeing as I type it. Understand that the position comes very natural and easy to some and others not so much.

The point guard runs the show, directs the offense with the prime objective of creating the best shot possible or giving the team their best chance to score. You'll hear me bring this up a lot and it is because many great coaches preach it no matter how ridiculous it sounds. Get the best shot. Let me go through my mindset as I'm dribbling the ball up the floor.

First, don't be too fancy. Can I dribble between my legs and around my back? Yes, I can and who cares. Just get the ball up the court and only use a between the legs or behind the back if you have to. If I'm being pressured then remember to use the court that you have. Don't just go in a straight line and don't go the same speed. Accelerate when you have to and don't shy away from the challenge.

Something I use is a move called backing the ball off. When I'm being closely guarded, I will take two hard dribbles straight back to create space. These need to be quick hard dribbles so that the defense won't follow you. It isn't easy for a defender to come forward in the defensive position like this. They don't practice that move very often. This will give you the ability to use a change of pace to get past the defender.

Second, let's recognize the defense. Assuming you are being pressured, this is easy. They are in a man to man defense. If you aren't being pressured come down the floor and see what happens. If a man picks you up call a play and make a pass and cut through the defense.

If nobody follows you then it is a zone. Go back up top and get the ball and run your zone offense. If a player follows you then you are fine because you've already called a play and are in your offense. Defenses will try to disguise what they are in and the best way to identify it is to run a cutter through the defense and see what happens.

Third, identify strengths and weaknesses. Who are my best players or better yet which player has the best match up right now and how can I get him the ball. I was fortunate to play with some great players growing up and I loved being able to call a play for them when they were hot or had a mismatch. It just made it fun for me. As the point guard these were as much my successes as an assist or a point. I wanted to call a good game.

If any of you watched the Colts/Bears 2007 Super Bowl you noticed Peyton Manning calling running plays and short passing plays all day long. This was his finest moment because he called a great game and that's what your job is as a point guard. Get the best players the ball with the best chance to score and you'll win. That's how you're judged.

I love basketball with all my heart. I love playing the game and competing. I love when I get my guys the ball in good position and they score. I love being in control and making sure each player feels involved and that I am going to do everything in my power to help us win. Can these skills be learned? Of course they can. They can be learned through experience and watching a lot of basketball. Preparation gets rid of all fear so go prepare and plan to be successful at this great game.

Please feel free to comment:

comments powered by Disqus