Friday, 28 March 2014

Controlling Tempo - Talking the Point Guard Position

I want to shift gears for a moment and go from talking about our motion offense and, instead, talk about that key position in making any offense run smoothly - the point guard position.  

The Hurricane Basketball Program is fortunate to operate from a position of strength at point guard.  Our middle school and high school divisions are loaded with the islands most talented point guards.  We have high expectations for those playing the point.  We ask a lot of them, even in the early stages of their development.   We are constantly in our point guards ears, instructing them on the need to be leaders on the floor; sharing the importance of controlling game tempo and knowing player personnel;as well as wanting them to have the ability to call plays on their own without always looking to us coaches on the sideline.

I am very fortunate to work along side knowledgeable coaches who enjoy teaching this great game to young people.  One such coach is Kent Tacklyn, who is a former member of Bermuda's National Basketball Team and who played college basketball at Morris Brown.  I want to share some insights that he recently passed on to the point guards of our team:

5 Common Qualities Of Elite Guards -- Which Ones Do You have?  By  (Breakthrough Basketball)

1. Great Ball Handlers
You might be thinking, DUH! But the truth is that I don't think that many players and even some coaches understand the difference between dribbling and ball handling. I know that I didn't at first.

You can be a great dribbler, but a terrible ball handler. You can also be a great ball handler and a good dribbler.

For example, you might always catch and dribble. You overdribble the ball and the offense stagnates. It takes you 7 dribbles and 4 moves for you to get to the basket from the 3-point line. These are examples of somebody who may be a great dribbler, but a very poor ball handler.

Steve Nash - a great ball handler

Great ball handling encompasses the skill of dribbling, passing, and the ability to make good decisions on the court. Things like...
·         Dribbling when necessary. Not just catching and pounding the ball.
·         Dribbling effectively. Getting to the basket from anywhere in the half court in 1 to 2 dribbles.
·         Making great decisions in game-like situations such as the fast break, off of ball screens, finding the open man, passing out of traps, etc.

Don't be a great dribbler. Be a great ball handler.

2. Good Shooters
If you want to be a threat on the floor as a point guard, you absolutely need to work on your shot. Being a good shooter will open driving lanes, passing lanes, and so much more for your team.

Kyrie Irving - a sweet shooting point guard

If you can shoot the ball and the defense does not close out on you fast enough, you hit the jumper. If they take away the shot, it's time to take it to the hoop, create havoc on the defense, finish at the basket, and create easy scoring opportunities for your teammates.

Now if you don't shoot the ball well, you will have difficulty getting to the basket because the defense doesn't have to rush out on you. You go from multi-threat to a no threat.

Point guards that can shoot and handle the ball are the best in the business.

3. Play With Composure
Great point guards have the same mentality when they're down by 20, up by 20, have 4 defenders blitzing them, or playing against sagging zone defense. For these point guards, it's just time to stay composed, execute, and go to work.

If you get too high or too low, this can affect your play and decision-making. By staying composed and alert, this will dramatically improve your decisions and lead to better team play.

4. Great Finishers
Point guards develop great finishing moves to finish over taller, more athletic players. Each level that you go up in the game of basketball, your goal is to get the ball to the backboard or the rim as quickly as possible as athletic defenders rotating from the weakside make a living blocking the shots off of dipsy-do finishers.

Develop finishing moves like a quick lay in, Floater, side step, the quick stop.

Pick 1 or 2 moves and become great at them. Personally, I like my players on the quick stop to change pace and direction to keep the defense off balance and then I'll add one of the moves above based on strengths. Once you become great at those two moves, you can look to add a third.

5. Communicate Effectively
There is a difference between communicating and communicating effectively. Being able to communicate your message in a clear, concise manner to your teammates and coaches is critical. Going on a 30 second rant isn't feasible and effective during games.

Chris Paul - great communicator
Say things like…
·         Get your butt down on the box out.
·         Seal him on the backside.
·         Sprint back on D.
·         Finish through the defense.
·         Kick it out when they collapse.

Also being able to communicate in a positive way that your teammates respect you is crucial. If you're going to correct a teammate when they do something wrong, you better be the first one there when they do something right.

* * *

As Coach Tacklyn shared with our players, there are certainly other things that point guards do well, but it is his hope and mine that this helps them in the process into becoming a great point guard/basketball player.

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