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Guards are the playmakers on a basketball team. Frequently, they drive fast breaks and are the court generals in charge of running the offense. Even the most experienced guards need to practice important drills that improve their skills.

Guards set the tone on both ends of the floor, especially the point guard. That is the “head of the monster.” They must command the ball on the offensive end, and pressure the ball on the defensive end. Also, they must be very vocal. A quiet team is a losing team.

Here are three excellent drills for those players to enhance the skills they need to help their team win.

Court Vision

Every player on the court benefits from improving their court vision. None more so than a guard, though. Being able to instantly locate open teammates or avoid situations where the defense is ready to cut off a passing lane are critical. Practicing repetitive drills that improve court vision are the first steps in becoming a better all-around basketball player.

Ball Handling Skills

By design, most basketball plays are coordinated by the guards. Point guards are the floor generals, but even shooting guards spend most of their time playing on the perimeter. Good ball handling skills are critical, especially in the fast paced transition game.

When possible, guards run the fast breaks and call plays in the half court offense. Having the skill to dribble a basketball with expert control is essential. Guards must be able to dribble and advance the ball by beating their defender, all the while keeping their eyes on the court.

This skill takes years of practice. However, practicing crossovers, dribbling with both hands, speed dribbling and gaining confidence in ball control are honed by hours of repetitive ball-handling drills.

Defense Wins Basketball Games

The lost art of playing defense is witnessed on many basketball courts. While the guards need to have court vision and ball-handling skills, they also must defend well. If the other guards cannot successfully ignite fast breaks or run their own offense, it makes it hard for the opposition to score.

All players need to improve their defensive skills, but the guard position is the most exposed. They are most often trying to guard their opponent in the open court. Foot speed is important and can only be developed by practicing repetitive drills, such as sprints.

Fast break drills are not only an excellent way to improve ball-handling, but they are great for teaching players how to defend on the run. There are other defensive drills that teach good defensive spacing, playing help side defense, and how to successfully defend against the screen.

Basketball skills are improved with hours of dedicated practice. The abilities necessary to be a successful guard are similar to the skills of other positions, but there are specific drills that focus on the guard’s skill set. These are three excellent tips to help even the most experienced guard improve his or her game.