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Characteristics of a Point Guard in Women's Basketball

The point guard in basketball is often referred to as "the 1" or "the 1 guard," or even "the quarterback" of her team. Whatever label you choose, the point guard is undeniably the catalyst for her team, particularly on offense. She brings the ball up court and usually is the one to call the play. As the player who usually starts the offense and picks up the opposing team's point guard on defense, the point guard has a lot of responsibilities and needs several positive characteristics to be a success and to help her team succeed.

Quick Decision-Making
When the point guard brings the ball up court, she has to decide quickly whether to set up a play, drive to the basket, shoot, take advantage of a lapse in the defense and pass to an open player, or some combination of these options. A good point guard will trust her instincts and her skills to make the right decision when the ball is in her hands.

Ball Handling
While being a solid scorer is certainly part of a point guard's game, the most obvious skills for a point guard are dribbling and passing, otherwise known as "ball-handling" skills. As noted in, "The better you handle the ball, the easier it is to keep your head up and spot your teammates for that critical pass." To be a great point guard, a point guard must work on her dribbling and passing skills as much as possible.

Good Under Pressure
While it's never good for any player on the court to get rattled, it's particularly important that the point guard stays cool, particularly when there's a scramble for the ball or when time is running out. Point guards should know how many timeouts their team has, how much time is left, the score, and what offensive and defensive plays should be run based on what happens on the court.

Because point guards tend to be among the smaller players on the court, it takes guts to drive to the basket amid the bigger, taller players on the other team. Point guards often wind up on their backs after driving for a layup, but the best point guards are brave enough to take on any other player out there.

Because the offense usually starts with the ball in the point guard's hands, she needs to know what to do when her teammates are trying to get open or set picks for her--especially when her teammates aren't being active enough. A point guard needs to step up and, using words or hand signals, get her teammates moving. As points out, a point guard needs to be ready to do the "drive and kick," in which she starts to drive to the basket, drawing defenders toward her, and then kicks the ball out to a teammate who might suddenly be open for a shot.