Basketball can be a very fun and healthy sport. One does not have to be a professional athlete, nor a division 1 college star to enjoy this game. Regardless of how much one may know about basketball, it can be played as a great way to remain fit and meet new friends.
If you lack experience in basketball and would like to begin playing the game, you should first learn the basic rules and the general basketball positions. This article aims to focus on the positions played.
In general, each basketball team is composed of five different playing positions. Each position has a few basic responsibilities. Although there are exceptions to every rule, this article explains the most basic terms applied to each of the five playing positions. Whereas many coaches and players limit these positions to a player’s size, I would suggest to examine first the duties of each position, assess the characteristics of your team, and afterward, assign each player appropriately.
• Center – this player must be strong enough to endure the physicality of the inside game. Thus, the center is usually the strongest, or more importantly, the player who can best control the area near the basket. Many teams employ the tallest player to control this position. But, history has proven, time after time, that some of the best Centers to have played the game, where not the tallest players. The center should be able to score, rebound and deter the inside game of the challenging team. The center should also be a great passer, who can complement the point guard. As an oval, with two focal points, so too are the center and the point guard the two focal points of a basketball team.
• Forwards – These players can have a variety of duties, depending on the needs of the team and the skills of the players. Basically, there are two types of forwards on a basketball team: Power Forwards and Small Forwards.
• Power forwards – This player is someone who can help support the center with the control of the inside game. Quite often, the power forward is a great rebounder, but can also provide great athleticism to flow from inside to the outside areas. The power forward is an active scorer who can often assist other players by providing great screens outside of the lane, can score inside near the basket, and provide the team with a reliable mid-range shot.
• Small forwards – The small forwards are usually the best athletes on the team and usually provide most of the points for the team. Quite often, the small forward are the “go-to” players on the offensive side. They play throughout the court and can rebound as well as control the dribble and score with consistency from the mid-range to the three-point shot. Some of the best small forwards to play the game of basketball are people like: Larry Bird, Lebron James, and Dr. J. With the responsibilities of a small forward, a team must seek a very versatile player who can handle any aspect of the game.
Guards – as with the forwards, there exist also two general types of guards; The Point Guard and the Shooting Guard.
• Point Guards – this is considered as the most important position. This player is quite often the “coach” on the court. This players must read the formations of the challenging teams and direct his or her team with the proper counter moves. This player is usually the best passer and ball handler on the team. While reading the defense, a good point guard will know where to distribute the ball as well as know how to inspire the involvement of all the players on the team. When playing defense, a good point guard will have to understand when and where to began the pressure needed to create difficulties for the opposing team. And, by doing so, the point guard will often motivate the entire team with the leadership of team spirit to overcome setbacks during the game. Furthermore, for any team to be successful, it remains very important that the point guard and coach have an explicit and clear understanding of the goals and plans of the team.
• The Shooting Guard – The Shooting Guard is focused on providing the team with great outside shooting. With the exception of a fast break or bask door play, most of the scoring of a shooting guard will remain outside of the lane. The shooting guard should be an excellent ball handler, ready to assist the point guard at any time, depending on the defensive pressure faced. Instead of rebounding, like the center or forward, the shooting guard should focus more on preventing outside shots while on defense, and providing scoring shots or assists while on offense.
The great thing about basketball is that it can be played flexibly according to the needs and resources of each team. Therefore, in the end, each coach must decide the duties of each player and the roles of each position. This article hopes to provide a basic outline of basketball player positions and responsibilities with the aim to bring to light various needs that a trainer should consider when assigning duties to his or her team.