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Helpful Point Guard Tips

June 17, 2013 | Mike Meister

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Do you like being the center of attention and making important decisions? Then point guard is for you.

Your exact role depends on you, your coach and the system your team uses. Some point guards, like Thunder standout Russell Westbrook, look to shoot first. Others, such as Celtics sparkplug Rajon Rondo, look to penetrate and pass to an open teammate. (See How to Become a Better Point Guard.)

Some coaches want their point guards to be a coach on the floor, while others just need a ball handler to start the offense. Some systems rely heavily on the point guard; others use more of a shared role system.

Here are some point guard tips to get better on the court.

Point Guard Tips

Communicate

To keep the whole team on the same page, a point guard must have great communication skills. This requires telling teammates what is going on and where they need to be, but also listening, especially on defense, when most of the action is behind you.

Communication needs to be short and to the point to prevent distraction. At Thunder Sports Institute, we hold our point guards responsible when things go wrong, regardless of who is at fault. (See How JJ and His Buckle Can Help You Become a Stronger Leader.)

Know Your Personnel

True leadership is not a title but an action, and true leaders have followers no matter what. People will follow someone whom they know cares about them. Point guards must be trusted by their teammates. So they need to know when, where and how to deliver the ball to a teammate, and when to cut, screen, shoot, or help on defense.

Knowing how a teammate shoots makes it easier to hit him or her with a pass in rhythm. If a teammate is not great at catching on the cut, a good point guard will not make that pass. Each player is unique, and it's important to know each one's habits and tendencies.

See the Floor

If you think "seeing the floor" simply means dribbling with your head up, think again. I am talking about the ability to read the defense and run plays that take advantage of your team's strengths. Instead of waiting to pass until a teammate is open, make the pass in anticipation, as soon as you know s/he will be open. The higher the level, the more difficult it is to connect on a pass. (Train to be game ready with Point Guard Game Simulation Drills.)

Manage the Game and Yourself

How you manage the game depends on the system your team runs. But regardless of the system, it's important to manage yourself. Great point guards remain calm and keep their composure at all times on the court. If you show frustration, panic, or lack of focus, it can spread like wildfire through your team. Lead by example. It's much easier to prod a teammate to do something if s/he knows you would do it yourself. (See Point Guard Drills for Ball Handling and Court Vision.)

Get into Attack Mode

Stay hungry. On defense, this means pressuring the opposing point guard whenever you can. If you are successful, you will disrupt the other team's offensive rhythm.

On offense, always be looking to score. For example, in a pick and roll situation, the first option is for the ball handler to score. Most point guards come off the pick thinking pass to the roller or to another shooter. Those options open up because you are attacking, and the defense is late to adjust.

Mike Meister
- Founder of Thunder Sports Institute (Irving, Tex.), Mike Meister has coached players and teams from the youth recreation level up to the professional ranks across...
Mike Meister
- Founder of Thunder Sports Institute (Irving, Tex.), Mike Meister has coached players and teams from the youth recreation level up to the professional ranks across...
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