Growing up as a shooting guard I had a very rude awakening when I transitioned to the point guard position. Based on my size I knew I wouldn't be able to play shooting guard if I were to play in college so I requested to learn to play the spot as a sophomore in High School. What I thought would be an easy switch was one of the toughest things I've ever done in my basketball career but something that I'm very glad I did.
Probably the hardest part of making the transition was getting use to how different I had to think. As a shooting guard my thoughts focused around getting myself open and that was about it. As a point guard it was a whole different world. I was overwhelmed with all the new things I was responsible for and what my coach expected of me. This article is about the mentality of a point guard and what anyone who plays that position should be aware of.
1. Be a Leader:
Point guards are the quarterbacks and shortstops of the team and as such need to lead the team. As I write this I remember that this took me years to develop and is one thing I regret when I look back at my basketball career. Being a leader means a player that leads by example.
Someone who works as hard as anyone else on the team and knows every responsibility of every player on every play. The point should be the player who isn't afraid to demand that every player go hard and isn't afraid to get in a teammates faces when the situation demands it. Every coach wants this is in a point guard.
Great point guards are prepared for every situation. As I mentioned in number point 1, the point guard needs to be the coach on the floor. When an adjustment needs to be made the point guard needs to be prepared enough to make that change. For example, just as quarterbacks need to study film point guards should study the opposition to know the other team's strengths vs. weaknesses so they can effectively lead when the game is played.
When film study isn't available it is taking time prior to the game to watch the opposition and look for what areas of the opposition you can attack. When during warm ups a player on your team isn't preparing correctly it is the point guards duty as the team leader to talk with that player to find out what is going on and to get him right.
Preparation is a key to being a good leader and one guard. This was another hard thing for me to get use to. I was use to just showing up for the game and wanting to score points as a shooting guard. Point guards don't have it so easy and if you play the position that's something you should honor and appreciate. Your team and coach count on you.
3. Be cool under pressure:
Point guards will have to weather every storm that is thrown at them. When a press is quickly put on the team needs someone who can calm them down and maintain composure. When an opposing team is on a run who will calm the team down and make a play? Great point guards always maintain composure under any circumstance and that shows through to the rest of the team. When the team senses panic from the point guard they tend to lose a lot of confidence and a lot of games.
4. Know the strengths and weaknesses of your teammates:
As a young point guard I was just happy if I called a play and passed the ball without turning it over. Once I got over that I was able to really see what I should be focusing on... GET THE BEST SHOT POSSIBLE BY THE BEST PLAYER ON THE FLOOR.
That's the focus of every offense so I was able to really survey the floor and call a play based on mismatches or getting the ball to the right player at the right time. That includes feeding the hot player no matter who is guarding him or taking advantage of a certain defensive scheme. It's about truly seeing the big picture and being able to take advantage of it.
Point guard is the most important position in the game growing up, not as much on the pro level but junior high, high school and college teams rarely win without solid point guard leadership and play. Develop these traits now and you'll immediately see more minutes and more wins.