How To Be A Better Point Guard In Basketball

The leader, flag bearer, quarterback, engine and heart of a basketball team is the point guard. If anyone ever tells you that in an NBA court there are more important standing positions than a point guard, then I must say he knows hardly anything regarding the game let alone play on the court. This is a no-brainer that a good point guard nba should have great ball handling skills, exceptional scoring ability, expertness to find teammates and pass the ball. So, how to be a better point guard? Pro point guards in basketball are known for their skill and athleticism. A point guard is responsible to perform many things compared to other four positions on the court and so he needs to be a versatile player. Without any hesitation a point guard faces very strong defense due to the fact that he is gonna have the opportunity to touch the ball more than anyone else in the team. So, playing good solid defense, ability to make quick judgement and a thorough understanding of team’s strategy is not less important. There will be immense pressure on your shoulder, opposition will throw everything possible at you. So, that’s your take how you are gonna react and keep your composure. No doubt being a point guard is of huge responsibility and hard work but this is also one of the most demanding positions for a basketball player

So many players ask “How to become a great point guard? And what I have to do to achieve that greatness?” So, here are some tips for you to become what you really want to be:

  1.  Bring the ball into the action center:

The primary job of a point guard is to move the ball up the court, keep holding the team’s possession and ultimately set it up for an offensive display. You need to do the both- pass the ball to teammates and when the opportunity comes, score on your own. At the start of an offensive play, point guard usually gets his hands first on ball. Infact he also plays a role in terms of defense, stay around the perimeter, near the three point line and does all these sorts of things to trick the opponent. When it comes to take care of the ball, one way to pick up your game is to get better at ball handling skills and right call making ability.

In case if opponent team players are guarding very tightly on the half way mark line then surely you won’t have that freedom to bring the ball up on court by yourself. At this juncture of the game, you may need to pass the ball quickly to one of your teammates

  2.  Practice ball handling:

A point guard’s hands are always on the ball so having great ball handling skills is a basic requirement. You should practice dribbling skills to reach to the half court before 8 second limit by avoiding traps set up by opponent team. Whenever, there is a fast break , you should apply a high dribble. In case your opponent is taller, a low dribble will be a much better option to prevent him from reaching in and stealing the ball. You should also develop the ability to dribble with both hands without even looking at the ball. Also be aware of the fact that where your oppositions are on the court. Be mindful of the fact that you can’t give away the possession. If there is no possibility of a clear cut pass or shooting, picking up the ball may lead to turnovers or bad plays. If you have better ball handling skills, you need to focus less on your dribbling skills. So, decision making gets much easier on those crucial moments where point guards must react fairly quickly

  3.  Keep The Team’s Possession:

A point guard usually keeps doing dribbling to move the ball up the court. As he is getting nearer to the basket, he will be under huge pressure from the defense. At the three point line one defender shall be guarding you. And against heavy defensive pressure you must be careful not to give way the possession of the ball. Therefore it is important not to present the opponents with any opportunities to steal the ball

You can’t move and run without dribbling the ball. If you do so, there will be a penalty awarded to your opposition team. This brings to an important point that if you stop dribbling then defense just needs to guard against your passing and shooting, minimizing your threat to a great extent. So this will be such an inappropriate idea to stop dribbling before you actually need to

  4.  Pass The Ball At A Comfortable Position To An Open Teammate:

Ask any point guard about an aspect of basketball that must be an inevitable strength for them, they will say passing. Make sure you serve passes perfectly to teammates who have the best chance of scoring without any turnovers. Can’t say if a point guard has even more important duties to do than this. If a point guard sees his teammate standing near the basket with almost no one to defend him, he should pass the ball to him without any hesitation. Because he has got the most probability to score the point with none tackling him

    a.  Pass the ball right to a player’s chest so they can easily get the shot

  b. If your teammate is a tall guy, try to deliver a perfect bounce pass, so he doesn’t need to bend too low for it

You do not require to be flashy and cool with your passing skills. Keep it simple with accurate, solid passes. By avoiding mistakes, a good point guard should have lots of assists by the time he finishes each game. That is also a definite sign that you are passing the ball to the right guy to contribute in your team’s winning strategy

  Pro Tips: Throw the lead pass and allow your teammates to attack. Do not hesitate

  5.  Use Jump Shot/ Lay Up To Become A Scoring Threat:

Yeah as a point guard your job is setting up your teammates to score points but that doesn’t mean you should be standing behind lazily. Infact you should know that setting your team up for the best scoring opportunity sometimes means taking it by yourself. If the opportunity arrives, you also need to grab with both hands. In case all your teammates are tied up with defenders but you have the chance to get a clean shot then you must swish it.

How this is gonna affect the team if you are a point guard who can’t score?

If the defense finds out you don’t possess any potential scoring threat, the defenders shall leave you unguarded and concentrate on their men totally. That means your teammates won’t be getting any opportunities to score anytime soon, as the defenders will always stay closer to them. That shall make it even more harder for your team to score

A point guard having an excellent three point and jump is a legitimate scoring threat as he has the ability to gain points from virtually anywhere in the court. That should also open up the game for other people. So, defenders have to account for both a point guard and remaining other guys to help their team. This also plays a keys role in creating good scoring opportunities. For e.g some of the best point guards of all time such as Steph Curry, Russel Westbrook, Majic Johnson, Gary Payton are all lethal scorers in NBA.

  6.  Collapse The Defense:

Try to master shots like runners and floaters to become a threat in the lane and ultimately collapse the defense there. Great point guards usually have the capability to collapse the defense

  7.  Be prepare to defend after shot:

It does not matter if your team’s shot have made it’s way to the hoop or not, as a point guard whenever ball changes the hands you should be ready to play defense. If someone other than a point guard has played the shot then probably he is standing somewhere at the top of the key or along three pointer. So he is the best positioned player to give a block because he is usually standing at the greatest distance from the hoop. In case of a fast break, if anyone blows past you to your team’s corner, try to block the shot by following him. Because you have got the best chance to prevent him from scoring easy points

  8.  Stay At The Perimeter:

A point guard must take position at or somewhere near the three point line infront of the hoop to get a good view of both team’s players . why this stance is so important? Because you need to spot where your scoring opportunities are and how you can expose your opponents. However a point guard should be versatile and feel free to play anywhere in the court, if the situation demands. Infact he should never feel limited to this zone.

  9.  Great Communication:

On the court a point guard often requires to communicate with his teammates to set up an attack, scoring opportunities, execute plays and others. He needs to use both his voice and body to engineer them. But what will happen if you are a point guard who can’t communicate well with teammates? Ultimately, you become an Achilles heel in the way of your team’s progress

The point guard can use certain signals, code words and so on to keep his team’s winning formula a secret on the court. for example by standing at the top of the key if a point guard raises a fist for the small forward, that indicates he is telling the forward to cut back the three point line and get ready for pass. Also you need to put in a lot of practice as a team because everybody needs to know when what sorts of signals to expect and how an individual conducts

  10.  Become A Leader:

You might have seen this before too. A point guard making eye contact with his teammate and gesturing towards the defender infront of him. What can be the purpose of his directions? Yeah you got that absolutely right, he is setting up a screen. Basketball point guards constantly use hand signals, verbal commands, code words, screams and even give non-verbal cues to his teammates to govern the play. He starts off with the ball, stays at the perimeter and acts as leader of the pack. Sometimes he uses a fake name of a play that they have practiced before the game as part of their team’s strategy. If he is not passing the ball to any teammates that means he wants someone to find an open space to create a potential scoring chance. By watching a basketball game closely you can definitely get ideas of what sort of directions a good point guard displays

  11.  Set A Benchmark:

You are holding one of the most unique and rewardable position of basketball. Toughest job to do in a basketball court is to serve as a point guard. So, you should definitely try to lead by and set the tine through hard work, dedication and practices. Teammates see their point guard taking the game seriously, he never misses out on a practice session, working hard continuously to improve his game. So your teammates and especially inexperienced ones should feel encouraged to do the same. This is how a point guard earns the mutual respect from his teammates and helps to develop a bonding and improves communication level, which is so crucial in basketball

  12.  Serve your teammates with efficient passes:

A point guard is the captain of your team on the floor. If you see our teammate is in an unprotected area and has the opportunity to score, you must give him the pass as soon as possible. Because a little fraction of delay may cost your team a vital point. This is why point guards need to feed their teammates with quick effective passes

In NBA you may have seen point guards use various signature moves such as no look pass, elbow pass, behind the back pass, complicated pump fakes to the advantage of the team. Unless you have done enough practices or experienced with these sort of moves, it will be better not to employ them during a game. If there is a scope for a simple pass before your eyes then why you need to go for a flashy one?

  Pro Tips: To avoid turnovers or interception with the ball, be aware of passing the ball through the crowd

  13.  Shooting:

If you’re scoring regularly as a point guard, the opponent will definitely fear you. Even they may send couple of defenders around you to guard. What they are doing is unconsciously freeing up your teammates so there is a bigger opportunity to earn points by feeding your teammates with the correct pass. Whenever there is an opening for you, you must punish them by scoring on your own

  a. Let’s assume you pass the ball to a teammate who was momentarily unguarded but he is quickly covered now and therefore can’t shoot. If he is the same defender who was guarding you, follows the ball then you should expect your teammate pass the ball back to you as quick as possible to get into a shooting mood. It will be absolutely great if he can pass the ball faster than the defender can make his way back to you. Great court awareness and good communication skills are needed to fox the defender

  b.   If there is a defender guarding you when you’re trying to get a shot, you can throw himself off the court by using pump fakes, one handed fakes even the fadeaways won’t be that of a bad idea either.

  14.  Have Control over the rhythm of your possession:

A point guard can indeed control the pace of the game because he is usually the guy on the court who gets his hands on the ball more than anyone else. He can either slow the game down by taking time to get the ball up the court or drive the game into a higher tempo by immediate sprinting and passing. You need to understand when to apply one of these two choices. Both can be a part of your team’s winning strategy given the situation of the game. Here are few examples for you when to speed the game up and slow down the play

  a.  After a few successful fast breaks if your teammates are tired, you need to slow the game down to give them some extra time to rejuvenate themselves before going with all guns blazing again

   b.  If you see your opponents are tired then you should look to speed up the game and earn some easy points. Always remember-The offense always decides the tempo of the game

    c.   If you start a fast break and the defense has come ridiculously fast to guard their hoop, then wait for your teammates at the perimeter. In the meantime, they are expected to catch up and take their positions on the court

  15.  Guard your opposite number:

It does not matter whether you’re playing offense or defense, as a point guard you should always try to stay at the perimeter of the key or near the three point of line. You should be there to prevent him from simply driving towards the hoop or shooting whenever he gets up to the court. This shall put him under a lot of pressure, so chances of doing mistakes are pretty much inevitable

However, depending on what the offense is doing, you may need to move from your default position. In case if you see the point guard moving towards the hoop after giving the ball to a teammate, do not leave him. Stay with him because he is probably trying to get the ball back for a lay up. Alternatively you can even stand right between him and hoop

  16.  Stance is crucial:

Your strong defensive stance can contribute to your team’s winning cause by making a big stop. Thus the physical ability is such a crucial factor in basketball that so often people say defense is about 90% of heart and 10% skill. A solid defensive player is very much well aware of the way he is using his body to guard the opponent. Here are some tips through which you can be an effective defensive player

  a.  You can easily react to your opponent’s movement by staying low means keeping your shoulder low and hips back

  b.   You will see in NBA at times many defensive players keep their one hand up during the passage of play. Some keep their one hand low. These are due to two reasons. If the opponent is within the shooting range, their shots can be blocked and they can also make an attempt to steal the ball

  c.    Do not get too close or too far away from your opponent. Too much distance shall enable him to get a shot before you block him. Standing too close means they can easily blow you. Keep an arm’s length distance from your opponent

 d. Brisk footwork shall make you react quickly to an opponent’s change in direction

  17.  Keep an eye on the passing lanes:

You can’t block every pass, that’s almost impossible to do. You need to be well conscious of the positions of offensive players, where they are and what they are intending to do. Because you want to make the interception. A point guard who is terrific in defense brings a great value on the team

So when you’re defending-this is usually a bit difficult to know what’s happening behind your back on the court. because you have been given a duty to guard an opponent infront of you. therefore you can’t take your eyes off of him. So, what you can do is take a quick look behind and see the offense’s positioning

  18.  Stop fast breaks:

As mentioned above, a point guard’s position in the court makes him eligible to be the only player who can defend an opponent’s fast break. Try to follow the ball carrier all the way to the basket as most often fast breaks end up with a lay up. Do not let the offense player get ahead of you or he will get a free scoring opportunity

If two players are coming towards you at the same time, you need to keep a balance of your attention between both the players. Try to stay ahead of them or between them and hoop. In the mean time your teammates should be able to come to the rescue of the team. Don’t give up even if you are alone. Remember LeBron James’s chase down blocks?

  19.  Figure out your coach’s plan:

A point guard is someone who always shares a special bond with his coach. He must understand his coach’s plan inside out, most importantly his role because he is the guy who will run the coach’s strategic plays on the field. He needs to have a better understanding of what his coach is thinking about the game and then should execute those instructions quite effectively. A point guard is a multi tasker because he is the person responsible for calling a time out. When to call for these strategic plays requires awareness of both coach and your game plan

  20.  Follow the footprints:

If you are an amateur point guard who is still looking to find his feet on the most demanding position of the basketball game then closely have a look at some of the greatest point guards of NBA. Because by watching this legends play you can definitely improve your game as a point guard and motivate yourself. There is absolutely no harm to learn from the NBA’s greatest point guards. Few names do come up when you talk about best point guards in NBA history such Jason Kidd, Russell Westbrook, Gary Payton, Isiah Thomas, John Stockton etc

  Must Have Requirements Of A Great Point Guard:

  a. You should be both mentally tough and confident. Stay focus, study opponents and challenge your teammates. Also need to have the mindset of accepting the criticism from others. Furthermore you should analyze your game each and everyday. If you don’t have that mental toughness, you will be easily distracted or panic in a tight situation

    b.    High Basketball IQ is a must for point guard. Because on the floor you’re the coach who is gonna control the tempo of the game and giving voice in the huddle. You’re gonna dictate everything therefore should know time, score and possession of the match

    c.     Solid defense is a great asset to a point guard’s game

    d.     You must be physically tough because you need to play out the full quota of the game, can’t leave your teammates there on the court. Two pass, two on three, three dribble one on one, two man game, lay in drill etc are known to be some of the elite point guard’s workouts. To be better equipped with the fast pace of the game, you can practice this drills

    e.     You should be an excellent ball handler and strategic passer

    f.      Master a go to move

   g.     You must develop a team first attitude. Because your team’s win loss ratio is more important to you than your own shots. It does not matter who scores

  h.   You must have knowledge over your teammate’s strength and weakness. Must be acquainted with your teammate’s game

    i.     You should be able to collapse the defense and defend your own position at the same time

    j.     You need to give up the habit of showing off such as over dribbling or do not try to be too cute with fancy passes

We think now you have got the answer of how to become a good point guard. A point guard, undoubtedly is the toughest position to handle. But if you can commit to these simple instructions we have given to you, surely you may become the best point guard you can be. Even You may be able to give some tips if anyone ask you how to be a better point guard. Now it’s just a matter of getting into the court with your coach and teammates and putting everything into the work 

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