The first thing you have to know to be a good point guard is what your role on the team is. No matter how good your basketball skills are, if you don’t know what you’re supposed to do, you won’t be able to help your team.
Your role as a point guard depends on what your coach wants but in general, the point guard plays a certain role on the team. So, if you’re into scoring points and being the center of attention, point guard is probably not the position for you.
The Point Guard’s Role
The main thing the point guard does is ball distribution. The point guard typically brings the ball up the court and begins the play. He makes the first pass and thus decides how the play starts.
So the point guard has to have good decision-making skills. In order to figure out what to do when he brings the ball up the floor, the point guard has to read the defense and consider his options. Sometime there is a set play that the point guard calls out. Other times he just wings it and goes with his instincts. Whether he is calling a play or merely making something happen, the other players on his team are reacting to him. So he is the leader on offense, at least initially, when the ball crosses half court and a play begins.
The point guard usually hangs out above the three-point line, in the middle of the arc. This puts him in position to swing the ball to either wing, or to pass down low. This is not to say that the point guard can’t slash to the basket or set a pick on the wing, but in general the point guard should be in the middle on the perimeter and ready to get the ball to an open player anywhere on the court.
Point Guard Skills
The most obvious skill a point guard needs is dribbling. He’s the one who usually brings the ball up the court so he’s the one doing most of the dribbling. So the point guard needs to be able to dribble through defenders. If he can beat his defender and get into the paint, he may be able to collapse the defense and get one of his guards open on the wing.
In order to beat defenders, good point guards have a series of moves. An experienced defender may not fall for the same trick twice so a point guard has to switch things up. He needs a good crossover, a behind-the-back move, a through-the-legs move, and a spin move.
A point guard’s footwork is important too. A good jab-step can throw a defender off and create space to shoot or make a move to the basket.
As passing is the point guard’s most important job, he better be good at it. The hardest pass to defend is the bounce pass because it can get under the outstretched arms of defenders easier than a chest or overhead pass. But a point guard needs to be able to pass the ball in every way: using a bounce pass, chest pass, overhead pass, baseball pass, no-look pass, and sometimes a behind-the-back pass.
The more tricks a point guard uses, the harder the defense has to work. And that’s the goal, after all. If the point guard can keep the ball moving, and keep the defense guessing, he’s doing his job right.
And don’t forget to bring the ball up with intensity. If you can beat the defense down the floor or start a play before they are fully set, you have a huge advantage. Point guards aren’t typically the biggest stars, but remember, almost every play starts at the point.