Basketball Player Positions

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basketball clip art, basketball player positions, basketball positions, basketball rules, youth basketball rules, basketball coach, basketball player,

There are 5 Basketball Player Positions on the court. Each player is designated a certain position at the start of the practice or game. The five positions can be categorized into three groups: 2 Guards, 2 Forwards and 1 Center.







Before I go any further let me say this. Although players are typically assigned to a position, I feel one of the most important aspects of overall skill development is for players to work on all areas of the game - especially at a young age.

Players, parents and coaches take note of this! Don't restrict a player to only one position and not allow them to work on all areas of their game. This will only hurt their overall development. In other words, let them experiment with all five basketball player positions. Let the centers work on ballhandling skills and the guards work on post moves and rebounding, etc...

Okay, back to the basketball player positions. As I stated earlier, there are five positions on the court broken down into the following categories.

If you need drills to help develop the skills for each of these basketball player positions please visit our Youth Basketball Drills Page!

Basketball Player Positions


1. Point Guard

  • Physical Attributes - Typically one of the shorter, quicker players on the team.

  • Main Skills - Dribbling, passing, outside shooting, and defense. They are usually the best dribbler and passer on the team.

  • Offensive Responsibilities - The point guard dribbles the ball down the court and then initiates the offense with a pass to a teammate. They also drive to the basket to create scoring opportunities for their teammates. Point guards also shoot from the perimeter when they are open.

  • Defensive Responsibilities - The point guard defends the opposing perimeter players. They should prevent them from driving to the basket, and pressure them on outside shots. The point guard is also responsible for dropping back to prevent the fast break.


2. Shooting Guard

  • Physical Attributes - Typically one of the shorter, quicker players on the team. Usually taller than the point guard in order to be able to shoot over the defender.

  • Main Skills - Dribbling, passing, rebounding, outside shooting, and defense. They are usually the team's best outside shooter.

  • Offensive Responsibilities - The shooting guard works to get open to receive a pass from a teammate for an open shot. They also drive to the basket for a shot or to create scoring opportunities for their teammates.

  • Defensive Responsibilities - The shooting guard defends the opposing perimeter players. They should prevent them from driving to the basket, and pressure them on outside shots. The shooting guard is also responsible for dropping back to prevent a fast break, but at times is also responsible for crashing the boards to rebound.


3. Small Forward

  • Physical Attributes - Typically taller than guards and smaller than the power forward.

  • Main Skills - Dribbling, passing, rebounding, inside shooting, outside shooting, and defense. They are usually the most athletic and versatile player on the team.

  • Offensive Responsibilities - The small forward plays on the perimeter as well as in the post area. They work to get open to receive a pass from a teammate for an open shot, usually within 12 feet of the basket. They also look to drive to the basket for a shot or to create a scoring opportunity for a teammate. They are responsible for offensive rebounding.

  • Defensive Responsibilities - The small forward needs to defend the opposing player both on the perimeter and in the post area. They should prevent them from driving to the basket, and pressure them on outside shots, and properly defend them in the post. The small forward also needs to rebound the basketball effectively.


4. Power Forward

  • Physical Attributes - Typically the second tallest player on the team. Big, strong and aggressive.

  • Main Skills - Inside shooting, rebounding, and defense.

  • Offensive Responsibilities - The power forward plays in the post area. They work to get open and take shots anywhere inside the lane. They should have several good post moves. One of their main jobs is offensive rebounding.

  • Defensive Responsibilities - The power forward needs to play good post defense. They should work to deny the opposing player post position and also be ready to help their teammates on drives to the basket. The power forward also needs to rebound the basketball effectively.


5. Center

  • Physical Attributes - Typically the tallest player on the team. Big, strong and aggressive.

  • Main Skills - Inside shooting, rebounding, shot-blocking and defense.

  • Offensive Responsibilities - The center plays in the post area. They work to get open for passes from the guards and forwards and take shots anywhere inside the lane. They should have several good post moves. One of their main jobs is offensive rebounding.

  • Defensive Responsibilities - The center needs to play good post defense. They should work to deny the opposing player post position and also be ready to help their teammates on drives to the basket. They should also be able to block or disrupt the opponent's shots. The center also needs to rebound the basketball effectively.


Again, these are the main basketball player positions. I encourage all players to work on the skills needed to play all positions - especially when they are younger. The player that is 5'8" in seventh grade would be designated as the center. Now what happens if that player only works on center skills and moves for the next 2-3 years? He becomes a good center, right?

But what happens if that player never grows another inch and is now needed as a guard on his JV or varsity team? They won't be that effective and will have to start learning a completely different aspect of the game - when in fact the required skills should have been learned 2-3 years earlier.

This is a typical example of what happens to many players at a young age. Don't let it happen to you or your players! Players need exposure to all five basketball player positions. By developing good all-around basketball skills players become very versatile at the game.

Check out our Youth Basketball Drills Page for some great ideas to help improve your skills at each position!

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I hope you found this information on the Basketball Player Positions to be helpful. Learning and understanding the responsibilities of each position is a great way for players, parents, and coaches to develop their overall knowledge of the game.

If you need more great information on these basketball player positions or other basketball topics, I would suggest you purchase some good basketball books and videos. These will provide you with a wealth of knowledge about the game of basketball.







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