September 13, 2002, Newsletter Issue #75: POINT GUARD PLAY

Tip of the Week

Here are some of the basic things that can be done with a point guard, regardless of skill level to improve his ability to get the ball from point A to point B without turning the ball over.
1. Working on dribbling. Point guards should utilize the more necessary dribble moves like the cross over and the behind the back and staying away from others like the multiple between the legs dribbles that really take you no where and make it easier for the defense to pick your pocket, trap you and or just apply more pressure. Another dribble that is vital, but really should only be used in the backcourt and not near the sidelines is the spin dribble. The key with this dribble, as with most dribbles is keeping the ball low and protecting it with your body. With the spin dribble the object is to pull the ball through and come off of the defender as tight as possible. The cross over`s key is in crossing over low and when coming out of crossing it over going somewhere other than horizontally with the ball.
One of the problems that many point guards have these days is the inability to understand that if you dribble without purpose and or use a dribble that takes you no where you are playing into the hands of the defense.

2. Maintain Balance. A lot of folks are not aware of how much the head plays into a player being on or off balance. I see points out there who get themselves way to strung out horizontally because of leaning their head out over the ball when they dribble and or drive. The head is always over the midpoint of your two feet, which is your center of gravity. Point guards need to be constantly drilled in this facet of the game. Balance, balance, balance must be constantly preached. From the "basketball position" a player becomes much quicker, more responsive and ready.

3. Leadership. Now this is a rather large topic but you will hear it said often, and it is true, that you as a coach would like your point guard to be a tough minded leader on the court. An extension of the coach is what is often said. These are things that can be learned and taught in practice by running certain controlled drills and stopping practice and scrimmages when needed to constantly ask your point guard why he did something. Challenging your point to think is one of the biggest keys in developing a top notch point guard.

4. Time and Score. One of the next facets of his game that a point must really come to understand is that scoring is his third priority. His first one is game and offensive tempo and flow. The second is defensive pressure. When it comes to flow of a game a point guard needs to be cognizant of getting certain players touches and in places he knows they have the best chance to be successful scoring.

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