Point Guard: Being The Court Distributor
Although every position on the basketball court is important, much of the responsibility falls on the point guard. It's their job to not only be a leader off the court, but also to direct the team on it, and, most importantly, distribute the ball to teammates. In order to do this, the point guard needs to have great vision -- both in the sense of the physical court and metaphorical vision of the game. A player filling this role has to be able to see where his or her teammates are and then visualize the potential next play. This way, they'll know exactly where and how to distribute the ball. The point guard has to be able to read the actions of the play unfolding in front of them, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of their teammates to ensure that the next decision will accomplish whatever the team’s goal is at any given moment.
There are a variety of ways that a point guard can work on the way they distribute the ball, but it all starts with court visualization. First and foremost, the key to seeing the entire court is learning how to dribble with your eyes up so that you can see everything unfolding at once. Remember, you can't throw a pinpoint pass if you're looking down at the ball! The point guard is responsible for knowing the role of each position and how they piece together as a team. These game instincts are all-important to being a great distributor, but there are also a few specific things that a point guard can work on to develop these habits:
- Handling the Ball: Work on dribbling drills every day as you focus on keeping your eyes up. Use two balls and work on separate movements with each hand to develop better coordination and quick movements. Do stationary drills as well as full-court, full-speed workouts. Don't forget that it's OK, and truthfully a good thing, if you make mistakes while learning -- it means you’re working hard.
- Making Reads: Passing and seeing the whole court while playing 5-on-5 is vital in becoming a better distributor. Work on developing court visualization and making reads before the opportunity even presents itself. Just learn from your mistakes and limit your turnovers. Eventually, the reads you make and the passes you throw will become instinctual -- even mid-game!
- Training at Game Speed: Learning new things and pushing yourself will result in making a few mistakes, that is certain. When learning how to distribute the ball, you have to practice at game speed to teach yourself the muscle memory of the process. You can do walkthroughs at half-speed all day, but when faced with a tough defender in the final quarter, will you make the right decision? Practice at game speed and you'll see the results when they matter most. The longer and harder you work at developing your skills, the fewer mistakes you will make and the more success you will achieve.
Understandably, the role of point guard is vital to a basketball team. Without a solid point guard, the entire team can crumble. Who will run the offense? Who will make sure the forwards get the ball in their sweet spots? Who else can find the center posting up at just the right opportunity? The point guard plays such a large part in keeping the team on track and engaged with the game plan. Often enough, the coach trusts the point guard to execute their on-court plan -- whether that's a certain play, opportunity, or late-game situation, your number will probably be called. This often means making last-second decisions, especially when it comes to make a game-changing shot or pass. Therefore, it's extremely important to develop the skills associated with court visualization and distribution of the basketball. Honing these aforementioned skills will make your pursuit of point guard perfection a little bit easier in the long run -- so what are you waiting for?
Be prepared for the biggest moments by mastering the small ones off the court.