How to Become the Best Shooting Guard
By John Shea
The most fundamental aspect of becoming a good shooting guard in basketball is the ability score points, especially from the perimeter. The shooting guard is typically the most efficient pure-shooter on the team. The ability to score on long and mid-range jump-shots clears the paint for additional scoring chances because it forces the defense to play more aggressively on the perimeter. In addition, shooting guards also need to play strong defense and sustain athletic, ball-handling skills. The best shooting guards maximize a team’s opportunity to score by showcasing explosive ability in nearly all facets of the game.
Practice a couple key principles, like mastering the mid-range jump-shot and learning how to read the defense to create open looks. Shooting guards that can accurately shoot from the 12 to 15 foot range are difficult to defend. This is because pull-up jump-shots from mid-range force defenders to close-out, potentially creating chances for big men to score easy buckets underneath the hoop.
Learn how to score without dribbling as this forces added pressure on the defense. Defenders are taught not to surrender points in the paint because short-range shots are considered high percentage scoring opportunities. Most defenses will relinquish the mid-range jump-shot because it’s a lower percentage scoring chance, unless a shooting guard is lights-out from that distance. Simplifying shot attempts will grant shooting guards added scoring opportunities. This can be achieved by learning how to score without dribbling. A strong pure-shooter can catch-and-shoot in less than one second. This decreases a defender’s chance to react in time.
Learn how to play tough perimeter defense. When a shooting guard isn’t scoring, he needs to be deflecting potential scoring chances in the face of the opposition on defense. Agility and quickness are the keys to becoming a strong defensive player, which can be accomplished in team practice drills, and strength and conditioning exercises. A combination of upper body and lower body workouts can help players increase their explosiveness, which consequently increases performance on both offense and defense.
Practice ball-handling technique to become a better scoring threat. In addition, learn how to anticipate a defender’s next move to develop into a strong passer. Moving the ball in the half-court offense wears down the defense and often generates an open shot attempt. Strong anticipation of how a defender is going to react to ball movement, whether it be a pass or dribble-drive penetration, enables a guard to make the best decision possible on offense. The best shooting guards display high aptitude for awareness, especially coming off screens. The pick and roll is virtually unstoppable when a shooting guard can come off a screen to either drill a mid-range jump-shot, or deliver a quick pass to a big man in the paint for an easy layup.