The point guard is arguably the most important position, especially in today’s guard centric play but very few players understand what it means to be a point guard and what it means to be an extension of the coach.
Coach Don Showalter has coached many talented point guards with Team USA and here are 10 points you should share with your point guard to become a true “floor general”:
1. Vocal Leadership
If your PG isn’t vocal, they can’t command the team. It’s not enough to just “lead by example” on the court; the PG must be able to control the game and keep their team organized (calling out sets, etc)…
2. Lead by Example
We all expect our PG’s to be leaders, so they must lead by example on and off the floor. They have to have leadership qualities to be able to run a team. One good “on-the court” example would be their defensive stance and on-ball pressure as the ball moves up the floor. If they are a ball-hawk and showing extreme pressure to the ball, there is a good chance the rest of the team will also buy in to being in a stance.
3. Have a good relationship with the coach.
We all say that the PG must be an extension of the coaching staff on the court, so there must be a solid relationship between the coach and PG so they can always feel comfortable communicating with each other.
4. Not a “Shoot-first” player .
They don’t necessarily need to always be a pass-first PG, especially in high school where the PG might also be the best scorer, but they can not be a player that typically will bring the ball up the floor looking to go one-on-one and creating shots just for themselves. The offense will become stagnant and other players will shut down, because they know their chances of being involved offensively are low.
5. Have a high IQ for the game / feel for the game
They have to understand special situations, the flow of the game, the time & score, when to attack, when to pull it out, etc.
6. Have a high conditioning threshold
If the PG isn’t in shape and is expected to play big minutes and minutes at the end of the game, they will break down mentally once their body breaks down, so it is huge for them to be in great shape.
7. Make the easy pass, and not always the “assist” pass
Sometimes PG’s make foolish passes because they know the ball will be in their hand much of the time. Have them keep it simple. The reason Steve Nash can make the passes he can make is because he works on it every day and he is the best in the world. There aren’t a lot of Steve Nashes out there, so use the KISS principle – “Keep It Simple, Stupid”.
8. Be able to knock down the open shot
I couldn’t shoot, and I played a lot of minutes, and it definitely hurt my team at times. The PG typically won’t get a ton of shots off of set plays or screens because he or she is setting up others, but the PG must be able to hit the open shot in transition, on post-feed kick-outs, etc.
9. Have “Gears”
I’m talking about a change of pace in their game. The toughest PG’s aren’t the ones who are extremely fast, but the ones that are always playing at different speeds. They have deception in their game.
10. Have a “Motor”
Summarizes a lot of the points already made, but the PG has to play extremely hard, and be eager to do all of the dirty jobs. The PG must be willing to guard the full length of the court, push the ball in transition, be vocal, and play with a tremendous amount of energy.
I got an great response from Coach Rider who sent this through email I’d like to share:
“Decision making – be it shot, drive, pass, mismatch recognition & taking advantage, whatever the case. Decision making at speed.
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