Winning Hoops

November/December 2013

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November/December 2013 Coaching Advice to Help You Build a Winning Program Vol. 28, No. 2 12 Attributes of an Elite Point Guard By Brian Roper, Lynden High School, Lynden, Wash. GREAT POINT GUARD PLAY is easy to recognize but can be difficult to define. You could bring up the names John Stockton, Magic Johnson and Chris Paul, and everyone would agree they're all great point guards. However, if you asked coaches what they want most in a point guard, you would get many different answers. In reflecting on what we want here at Lynden High School (Wash.), I have come up with specific qualities I hope to foster in our point guard. The first three are essential, the next four are necessary and the last five are important. In other words, I really want all these qualities, but feel we must have the first few. A desire to win. The point guard must radiate a competitive toughness and a find-a-way-to-getthe-job-done mindset. They are unconcerned about glory stats and only focused on things that impact the final score. This mindset can become contagious and should be contagious. 1 I think of a guy like former Duke point guard Steve Wojokowski, who had average ability but a great will to win that carried over to his teammates. Focus on others. Now I don't believe the point guard necessarily has to be a team leader, but they cannot be a selfish, highmaintenance athlete or it will be a long season for everyone. Not only does a teammate-first mindset breed good team chemistry, but athletes who are like this tend to be emotionally consistent and balanced. The opposite also is true. If your point guard is a "me first" type of player, it will be hard for your team to reach its potential and you will not sleep very well. This has little to do with how much a point guard scores. There are many high-scoring combo guards today at all levels. Teammates know the difference between a point guard who is a capable scorer taking quality shots and one that heaves shots and wants to lead the team in the box score. Ball-handling skills. The point guard is under control and sees 2 3 the nine other players with soft vision because he or she can handle the ball. They can effectively dribble, pass, pivot and fake while getting the team into its offense. This player cannot be bullied due to lack of skill. If they can't dribble well, other teams can make you change everything you do. If you cut off a snake's head, its body helplessly flails around. We don't want our offense to look like that. Value every possession. A quality point guard hates turnovers and poor shots, and they model that in their play. They understand that a careless turnover is a felony and that poor shot selection can become plague-like. These things start with the point guard and they must take responsibility for that. They never want the team to look like noon ball at the local YMCA. Team coordinator. An effective point guard can communicate calls and changes, making sure that every player on the court understands what is happening. They can reload 4 5 Continued on page 4 Check out our website at winninghoops.com PLAY OF THE DAY! Want to improve your team's performance at the free-throw line? Turn to page 15 for some helpful practice drills! —KEVIN HOFFMAN, Managing Editor

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