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Defining the Positions

  • Date:
    Apr 7, 2015

In each of the last five weeks, USAB.com has focused on a different position, offering successful traits for players at that position and specific skills and training that will help players at that position. Here's a rundown of all five positions on the floor:

The Point Guard

The point guard runs the offense and watches the backcourt. His role is so important to the team that he really is an extension of the coach on the floor. He must have the following qualities, but above all, his ego must not be so inflated that it interferes with his basketball judgment:

  • Instinctive knowledge of the game
  • A good ball handler and passer
  • Possess speed and quickness of foot
  • Ability to read defenses and play good hard-nosed defense
  • Ability to hit the outside shot when left open

Coaches Network: Role of the Point Guard

The Shooting Guard

The shooting guard is also referred to as the No. 2 guard, or off-guard. He is generally the better shooter of the two guards. Normally, the off-guard's job is to put points on the board while not letting his ego get so inflated that it interferes with his basketball judgment. Additional qualities that he needs are:

  • Instinctive knowledge of the game
  • A good ball handler and passer
  • Possess speed and quickness of foot
  • Ability to read defenses and play good hard-nosed defense
  • Ability to hit the 15- to 20-foot shot with consistency
  • Ability to penetrate and dish off and move without the ball
  • Must be a student of the offense to step-in if the point guard is being overplayed

Ultimate Guide to Playing Point Guard

Coaches Network: Role of the Shooting Guard

The Center

The center, along with the point guard, is easily the most important player on the team, he is the tallest player on the floor. The center is allowed to be a little arrogant in order to be the king of the paint; he must prove by his manor and actions that this territory is his. He must be the defensive leader, always talking to his teammates. Additional qualities he must possess are:

  • Quickness
  • An aggressive rebounder and lead the way in blocked shots
  • A dependable scorer at short and mid-range
  • Adept at the power lay-up from both sides of the basket
  • Develop a short hook and jump shot
  • Ability to read the floor and hit the open man if his shot isn't there
  • Must have strong hands, good upper body strength and jumping ability

Ultimate Guide to Playing Center

Coaches Network: Role of the Center

The Small Forward

The small forward is generally the most gifted player on the team. He should be a good scorer -- able to score from the wings, around the key, and under the boards. The best small forwards can score at will and simply take control of the game their exceptional athletic abilities. He should also be:

  • Quick and fast
  • An adequate rebounder
  • A good passer
  • Able to play defense anywhere on the floor
  • Able to quickly run the floor on fast breaks

• Ultimate Guide to Playing Small Forward

• Coaches Network: Role of the Small Forward

The Power Forward

The power, or strong, forward does not receive much recognition; usually he's known as the player doing the "dirty work" and is often taken for granted. Along with the center, the power forward controls the area inside the key. He must stand up the opposition at both ends of the court; often he's known as the "enforcer." Therefore, qualities that he must possess are as follows:

  • Must be a solid offensive and defensive rebounder
  • An adequate passer and scorer
  • A "gutsy" dribbler and hard driver
  • A good runner for the fast break

Ultimate Guide to Playing Power Forward

Coaches Network: Role of the Power Forward

The Role Player

At all levels of basketball, the role player, or sixth man has become something of an elite figure. He is the one who sets aside ego to come off the bench at a moment's notice and fall right into the flow. He's able to do whatever is necessary to help the team win -- score, play exceptional defense, or combine the two. He's also meant to add rebounding strength.


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