Point guards are often described as “coaches on the floor” for a basketball team because they are the ones assigned to run the offense of the team by controlling the ball, similar to a quarterback in American football. They are usually the smallest players on the court with the exception of Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who was a 6’9 hall of famer guard. Here are some of a point guard’s main duties:
- Good dribbling skills – as a point guard, you handle the basketball most of the time. Opposing teams will pressure you a lot, so to avoid turnovers, you must have good dribbling skills.
- Know when to run – as a point guard, you must know how to run the fast break. This includes knowing when to take advantage when you have numbers or making that outlook passes on a teammate that’s ahead of the pack. You must also know when to pull out of a fast break, especially when you don’t have the numbers. Forcing the issue usually creates turnovers.
- Post-Entry Passing - the post entry pass is a pass that goes to a teammate who is posting up a defender that is usually smaller than him/her. If done correctly, the post entry pass can be a consistent source of points for a team since post-up players are usually near the rim when they receive the pass.
- Penetrate and Dish - keeping your head up as you dribble is the key to the "penetrate" and "dish", since you are always a threat to score. When you beat your defender, you could pass off to your teammate at any moment, which can lead to easy baskets and problems for any defending team. Keep in mind that it is always better to pass while you are on the ground, not in the air. If you pass while you’re in the air, chances are an opposing player can jump in front of you for a charge, or could jump into your passing lane. Lots of turnovers are created this way.
- Getting back – a point guard is also a key point on defense. They must be alert and get back immediately after every possession. Being a point guard, you are considered as the team’s leader on the floor. You must communicate with your teammates to avoid defensive lapses and miscommunications. Not doing so can lead to easy baskets for the opponents.
- Pressure the ball – point guards are usually agile and pesky. They take advantage of their speed by keeping constant pressure on the passer or ball handler. Point guards force them off of their designed plays. Pressuring the ball will help your teammates by forcing the offensive team into hard situations. Ball pressure also keeps post players away from their "money spots” on the court because of their weak ball handling skills.
Being a point guard means that you have one of the most crucial positions in the game. It is the position that controls most of the game’s plays. If you have this position, it means that you need to think a couple of steps ahead in order to win your game.