Today I will discuss how to develop a point guard in a daily routine. First off the most important thing in any great point guard is the ability to change speeds. You can’t play at one speed if you want to be successful at the position. One of the most frequent lines that I make working with any position is to set the defender up slow and finish them fast.
Any move that a point guard makes must be set up at 1/2 to 3/4 speed and then when you initiate the move it must be done at full speed. Guards that play at one speed are easier to guard , because they are far less deceptive. If you are a player or a coach just remember that all great point guards play low to the ground and change speeds.
Unlike the other four positions, it’s really hard to develop a point guard by just working out every day. I would suggest watching a lot of film, and playing in as many 3 on 3,4 on 4, and 5 on 5 games. It is important to workout and get as many game shots and situations as possible, but to master the position one must put themselves in live game situations.
Youtube has a great selection of video on many point guards. My favorite point guards to search for on Youtube are Steve Nash, Tony Parker, Rajon Rondo, Jose Calderon, Luke Ridnour, and Kirk Hinrich.
I’ve stated in many prior articles that I am a big believer in simplicity. I don’t do a lot of strange drills with my players. Don’t have them do pushups while they dribble. I don’t have them balance a 50 pound dumb bell while they dribble. I think that stuff can be beneficial, but bottom line good ball handlers need to A.) Dribble the ball B.) develop strong fingers, hands, wrists, and forearms.
I do a lot of stationary dribbling with the ball handling segments of point guard workouts. As a point guard if you can’t handle the ball you can’t play. There are 5 places on the ball that you handle. The spots are the front/back, side/side, and the top of the ball. Most of the stationary work will have the guard handling the ball on all 5 spots throughout the workout and always having their knees bent and hands up. The ball should always be at knee level.
When you are working on different dribble moves remember to work on the moves that you will need in a game. For any guard that I work with we tend to work on the crossover, between the legs, and the behind the back. Those three moves are the most commonly used moves to change direction as well as change your angle (running a play/entering the ball to the post).
Again any move that you work on change speed and change direction. Keep your eyes and head up!! Ball handling takes up about 8-10 minutes maximum in any point guard workout.
There are many passes that you make as a point guard. The simple chest, bounce, and baseball passes come to mind. Make sure you are working on making passes with both your right and left hand.
Make passes on the move. Practice the pocket pass where you dribble off the screen and roll and make that 1 hand bounce pass to the screener rolling/popping after setting the screen. Work on getting in the paint and making the one-two handed over the head pass when you force 2 defenders to guard you and you have the screener/shooter spotting up.
Biggest thing with passing is working on both hands and your accuracy. Work on entering the ball in the post by faking your defender and stepping around them to make the 1 handed bounce pass to the post. 6-8 minutes should be dedicated to passing in some form, even if you practice a dribble move and instead of taking a shot you make a pass somewhere on the basket.
Form shooting is fine to do. Any warm up routine is fine. I like to have player spin the ball out and pivot into their shot shot from 2-3 feet from the basket. Have them do it form the same spot for about a minute or so and then change the angle , but not the length of the shot. I do this for a good 3-4 minutes and emphasize holding their follow through and getting their shooting elbow above their eye brow.
Shooting close in is very important as it works on a lot of the fundamentals of the shot. As far as shooting range for a point guard at any level I like for them to develop a minimum of a 15 foot jump shot. I want to make sure that they are comfortable from that range. The three point shooting is something that will develop in time and if it doesn’t that is fine.
Guards such as Rajon Rondo, Tony Parker, Jason Kidd, Devin Harris, Russell Westbrook, and others have struggled one time of their career or continue to struggle with the long range shot. Don’t worry about long range, just worry about being serviceable from 15 feet.
Shoot a lot of spot shots. Concentrate on getting the shot up quickly at game speed. Get your elbow above your eyebrow on every shot and hold both hands up on your follow through until you land. If you drop your arms quickly in your shot you will weigh your shot down so hold them both up until you land and then you can drop them. Shoot from the 5 spots on the floor from 15 feet(both corners, both elbows, and free throw line.
Work on coming off screens as well. You never know when your coach may want to play with two point guards and have you play some shooting guard. In your spot shooting work on shooting the ball off the back board on both sides from 12-15 feet as well. It doesn’t matter how many you make at each spot, just make sure you shoot plenty of shots.
I usually have players make 8-10 per spot as I want their muscle memory to take over after a period of a few workouts so they get familiar with the spot. Repetition is key.
Shooting Off The Dribble
Once you are comfortable shooting the ball from 15 feet with no dribble, now lets continue to shoot the ball off of the dribble. If you want to add a fake or not it is totally up to you. I like to have point guards just drive with no fake, but it is totally up to you. I’ll have the player shoot from 4 spots on the floor past the three point line.
If I was looking at the basket from half court and working with a player going right one dribble I would start the player in the left corner. Have them catch and take one dribble right. From there they would move to the wing, top of the key, and the right wing. After thew were done we would get to the right corner and work on going one dribble left all the way around.
On the 1 dribble drills i is important that you stay low on the dribble and only come up when you shoot. Continue to hold yourself accountable on elevating as high as you can on the shot and get your elbow above your eyebrow on your shot. Hold both hands up on the follow through until you land. Set the amount of makes as many as you want.
Continue the same movements from the same spots going 2 dribbles in both directions. Make sure when you go right off the dribble that the last foot to hit the ground is your right foot and the same with the left foot when ever going left. It is very important to stay low until you shoot the ball.
All of these shots should be started from stationary meaning you don’t dribble and make a move or anything just catch and go. This works on the fundamentals of the move
Moves off of the dribble should be practiced going both ways. Start your dribble from half court and make your move and practice making 2 dribbles after it. Continue to stay low until you elevate for your shot.
Envision your defender about 2 feet outside the three point line and make your move at them. I suggest being very good at in and out, crossover, between the legs, and the hesitation. You can combine these moves as well, but by mastering those above moves will put you ahead of the game. Don’t worry about putting the ball through your legs with and catching it with the same hand or pull backs. Master the important simple ones first and then move on.
Work on making these moves and finishing at the rim as well as pulling up from 12-15 feet. It is very important to develop the ability to finish at the rim/floater from 5 feet or a pull-up jumper off of the dribble. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO CHANGE YOUR SPEED WHEN YOU MAKE THE MOVE!!
The three spots to use these moves are the two wings and the top of the key (2 feet back from the 3 point line on all 3 of these spots). Your kill spots(spots you should pull-up from off of the dribble are the two elbows, short corners, and free throw line area).
Screen & Roll
Like it or not the screen and roll is taking the game over at all levels. You need to be able to convert on the screen and roll for both finishes and pull up jump shots from the kill spot areas. I can be here all day explaining the different screen and rolls as well as shots associated, but I want to keep things simple and that is what we will do.
Here are some coverages and what shots to take in your workout
1.) Your defender gets held up in the screen and the screeners man does not hedge out or show.
In this coverage you work on taking the two dribble jumper at the elbow.
2.) Your defender gets held up in the screen and the screeners man comes out at too wide of an angle.
In this coverage work on splitting the defender and finishing with a lay-up floater or pull up jump shot
3.) Your defender goes under the screen.
Work on shooting the 3 point shot behind the screen.
Transition Pull Up Jumpers
Work on taking 2 dribbles straight in as fast as you can to three spots. Use either or both hands.
1.) Left Elbow
2.) Right Elbow
3.) Free Throw Line
After you work on the transition pull ups work on the transition pull- up from the three point line. Left top of the key, right top of the key, and straight on.
To be a very good guard at any level you’ll need to be able to finish at the basket with both hands. I like for guards to work on layups on both sides finishing with the outside and inside hand.
The floater is an important move for finishing as well. You can work on shooting the floater join both ways from both wings and up top. Just make sure you release the ball no closer than the block when going baseline and the dotted FT line when going middle. You can shoot it going off of either your right or left foot.
Work on just coming in from a dribble move and finish both sides using both hands.
Most workouts don’t include much in the way of defense, but you should incorporate defense into your routine. Work on slides to keep your matchup in front of you. Lane slides as well as closeouts are also key. Being able to rotate from your man to the paint to be in position for help side defense and then close to the wing.
As a point guard your job will be to shut down the other team’s point guard. Keeping them out of the paint is essential and forcing them side to side will make you a serviceable defender.
There is no perfect way to develop a point guard. This is a pretty good way to start to develop a workout plan. First thing you have to do is develop a list of skills great point guards have and use in games.
Once you have a list then develop a workout regiment that challenges you to develop those skills. My workouts are very basic working on game shots that fit the player’s age, skill level, size, and athletic ability.
Make sure you touch on the most important aspect of the position of point guard in your workouts. There are no short cuts in developing this position. Don’t get caught up in a million of these “NBA Moves” that you see on youtube. Most of those moves are useless and should only be used by elite players. Master the simple aspects of the game and it will make your life easier. Don’t complicate things by trying to be a circus character and mastering the art of the between the legs 7 times , 4 spin, stepback jumpshot.
Develop the skills that will get you in a game and keep you in the lineup. Be as efficient as possible that is the key to being a great point guard. A great point guard will have a 4 to 1 assist to turnover ratio. Scoring points is not necessarily the way to evaluate a point guard.
I want a point guard that can continuously get in the lane on offense to force two or more defenders to try to guard them. Point guards should be able to set the table on offense and get your teammates easy shots. A point guard’s job is to get their team in the offense and make it easier for their team to be efficient on offense. Nineteen dribble 18 second isolation moves to take a contested fade away is not what coaches want out of their point guard. If you want to be a clown join the circus.
This is the free version of what a workout would be. To order a full workout for a point guard you can click on the link below for our paid version of a point guard workout which contains diagramed drills and explanation.