How to Play Shooting Guard in Basketball [The Ultimate Guide]

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Are you trying to find out how to play shooting guard in basketball? A shooting guard is a significant player on a basketball court because of their primary role in the team’s offense and also because of their defensive responsibilities. It is vital to understand what does a shooting guard do if you are trying to play this position. 

In our article today, we will help you understand the roles and purposes of a shooting guard while helping you become a better shooting guard by providing you with better practices that you can follow to improve your skills.

What is the Purpose of a Shooting Guard in BasketballWhat is the Purpose of a Shooting Guard in Basketball?

A shooting guard has a lot of roles and purposes on a basketball court. Let’s take a look at some of these now.

Guard opponents biggest and best scoring guard

When we hear the position shooting guard mentioned, we often automatically start to think about offense. Yes, a shooting guard is an integral part of any team’s offense, but they also play a pivotal role in the defense. Since shooting guards are so dangerous on the offensive end of the court, it is great to have a defender capable of stopping or slowing them down, and who best to do this but another shooting guard. Since a shooting guard is often the bigger of the two guards and sometimes the most athletic, they are often tasked with guarding the next team’s best scoring guard.

Be an additional ball handler.

The ball handler and the decision-maker on most basketball teams is the point guard. This is their primary role, after all. Even though the point guard will be in charge of decision-making, they will need help from time to time. The best functioning teams, and the ones that are most effective offensively, have additional ball handlers that can provide variety to the team’s offense and give a break to the point guard. Frequently, the other ball handler is the shooting guard. A shooting guard is expected to be capable of dribbling the ball without creating turnovers and also make intelligent passes.What is the Purpose of a Shooting Guard in Basketball

Be a safety for an opponent’s fast-break opportunities.

In junior Leagues, players are often taught that there should always be a player at the top of the three-point line to be a safety if the ball gets stolen, and the opposing team starts a fast break. Due to players’ positioning on the basketball court, traditionally, this safety is usually one of the court’s two guards. Since shooting guards usually start their offense from outside of the perimeter, and because they are usually the bigger guard, they end up being the safety in many rotations.

Ideally, be the team’s number one shooting option.

A shooting guard shoots. It’s just what they should do. A shooting guard should knock down open shots and score relatively comfortably even when their shots are contested. This is their maid offensive responsibility. It’s even in their name, shooting guard. If a team has a shooting guard incapable of shooting the ball, they are at a severe disadvantage. A shooting guard should learn how to get open by coming off screens or constantly moving. A team should work on freeing up their shooting guards for open shots.

Provide passes into the post

Passing into the post can be difficult for some undersized guards, but since shooting guards are normally the bigger of the two guards, it should be easier for them to insert the ball into the post from the perimeter. Shooting guards should work on their court vision so they can see open players on the block, and they should also work on their passing capabilities to make intelligent passes into the post.

Attack the rim via dribble penetration.

In addition to shooting the ball from the perimeter or mid-range positions, shooting guards are often very useful on offense if they can attack the rim and score via dribble penetration or make passes after collapsing the defense. Dwyane Wade is one of the best shooting guards to have ever played the game, and he was exceptionally good at attacking the rim. Not every shooting guard possesses this skill, but it is a great one to have. When a shooting guard attacks the rim, they can either score the basket and sometimes draw fouls or they can find cutters or open perimeter shooters when they cause the defense to collapse into the paint.Cut to the basket for open shots and open up other teammates.

Cut to the basket for open shots and open up other teammates.

Many shooting guards are stagnant on offense if they don’t have the ball in their hands, which makes them and the team very easy to guard. Shooting guards that are willing and able to cut quickly to the basket often find themselves open for jumpers or layups. Cutting to the basket can also force mismatches, which would then lead to dribble penetration, and if a team does not cover the cut adequately, this can result in other teammates of the shooting guard getting open.

What Does a Shooting Guard Do in BasketballWhat Does a Shooting Guard Do in Basketball?

A shooting guard often does many things. There are a few different types of shooting guards, but they do more than one thing for the most part. Here are some of the things that a shooting guard does on the basketball court.

Ball handle

While playing a game, a shooting guard sometimes handles the rock so that the point guard can rest and also allow the offense to become more unpredictable. While handling the basketball, a shooting guard can do many things such as pass the ball, create open shots for themselves or their teammates, or drive the ball to the basket. Some shooting guards are pure Shooters, and they aren’t always able to handle the ball, but coaches should try to work with shooting guards to improve their ball-handling skills. If a player wants to become a shooting guard from a young age, they should remember to work on ball handling.


Some shooting guards have a shoot first basketball mentality, but shooting guards that are good passers are great assets to any team. A shooting guard can pass the ball into the post or distributes the ball around the perimeter to either cutters or stagnant open shooters while playing basketball. A shooting guard with the ball may attract a lot of attention from the defense, so it is often easy for their teammates to get into open positions from where they can shoot the ball. Shooting guards should be aware of this and make intelligent passes.What Does a Shooting Guard Do in Basketball


In basketball, a shooting guard should be able to make a shot. Shooting guards are often the primary shooters for their teams because their shooting abilities should be better or equal to the other best shooters on the team. The best shooting guards are usually capable of creating their own shots, and others that cannot create their own shots are usually very active and mobile on offense. Most shooting guards always move a lot on offense so that they can come off screens or outpace their defenders to get to open spots from where they can launch their shots.


A shooting guard should be mobile on offense to lose their defenders or that they won’t be great passing options for passers. When a shooting guard is mobile and continually cuts to the basket, it does a few things. First, it can tire out the opposing defender and affect their performance on offense, so a shooting guard that is well conditioned will always have an advantage over his opponent if he continually moves. Another thing is that cutters are often open when they come off screens, making it easier for them to take and make shots. Finally, when players cut and come off screens, it often opens up other teammates if the defense does not play the offensive move properly.

Dribble Penetrate

Shooting guards dribble ball quite often throughout a basketball game, and it is expected that they should break down the opposing defense by dribble penetration. When a shooting guard is capable of dribble penetration, players will be left open on the perimeter, or cutters will be unguarded when the defense collapses. The shooting guard should then be able to make a pass to these players for easy scoring opportunities.

Defend other guards

Frequently, the defensive responsibilities of shooting guards are disregarded because of the importance that we place on offense in today’s game. Throughout the game, a shooting guard is often tasked with guarding the best scoring guard of the opposing team. Shooting guards that excel at defense are great assets to their teams because they can slow down some of the team’s best scorers that the team will play against, and this will help their teams win games these games. If a shooting guard cannot defend properly, the team will have to spend resources trying to cover for that shooting guard, and this will affect the defense the team will be able to play.

What Should a Shooting Guard Be Good AtWhat Should a Shooting Guard Be Good At?

What Should a Shooting Guard Be Good AtGood shooting guards are good at a few things such as shooting, defending, dribbling, and others. For a shooting guard to be useful to their team, they should be good at the following things.

Shoot Jumpers

Whether it’s shooting the ball from mid-range or long-range, a shooting guard should be able to knock down a jumper more often than not. Shooting guards that can shoot the ball command extra attention and get other teammates open. If you have a shooting guard on your team that can shoot the ball well, this is good as these players can be dependable, especially in the clutch, to make a shot. If shooting guards cannot shoot the ball, they may find their offense bogged down and reliant on dribble penetration alone.

Shoot Free Throws

In addition to shooting jumpers, a shooting guard should shoot free throws at a high clip. Shooting guards, especially those that attack the rim a lot, will frequently be sent to the free-throw line. As we all know, games can be won and lost at the free-throw line. The shooting guard should be shooting above 80% minimum at the free-throw line, with the best shooting guards shooting above 90% at the free-throw line. A few shooting guards can’t shoot free-throws, and because of this, they are often targeted for fouls. This means they are a liability to their team.


A shooting guard should be willing and able to make cuts from the perimeter to the basket. Agility and speed will play a part in effectively cutting to the rim, and so will intelligence. Shooting guards should know when and how to cut and have the physical capabilities to match this. A lot of shooting guards will get to a spot and just stand there expecting to get the ball to shoot, but oftentimes the defense reads this, so a pass will not be possible, so continually moving and coming off screens is the next best way for them to get open for their shots.


Shooting guard players are expected to be able to dribble the ball reasonably well. Shooting guards are often the first pass in the offense, and in many cases, if they cannot score, some amount of dribbling is required. If a player cannot put the ball on the floor without instantly causing a turnover, their game is seriously lacking. A shooting guard capable of dribbling the basketball can also help set up the team’s offense and create their own shots a lot easier. Certain shooting guards love to attack the basket from the perimeter, and for them to do this, they need to make sure they have tight handles.

Shooting Guard vs. Point Guard What's the DifferenceShooting Guard vs. Point Guard: What’s the Difference?

A point guard is usually the primary ball-handler on a team, while the shooting guard is often the secondary ball-handler. True point guards usually think pass first, while true shooting guards think score first, and finally, point guards usually dictate the offense, and the shooting guards benefit from that.

How to Be a Successful Shooting Guard 3 Tips & DrillsHow to Be a Successful Shooting Guard: 3 Tips & Drills

Here are some tips and shooting guard exercises to help your game.

1. Work on your shooting.

Here is the video that will show you how you can improve your shooting by improving your technique.

2. Work on your ball handling.

This next video will demonstrate ball handling drills that you can use to tighten up your handles.

3. Work on your perimeter defense.

Improve your defense by watching this video to learn useful techniques.

3 Best Shooting Guards in the NBA3 Best Shooting Guards in the NBA

In our opinion, the three best shooting guards in the NBA are James Harden, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal. These three shooting guards averaged over 25pts and 6ast per game last season.

Wrapping Things Up: How to Play Shooting Guard in Basketball

To play the shooting guard position in basketball, you will need to learn how to shoot the ball efficiently, defend against other guards, dribble the ball fairly well, and pass properly. There are different types of shooting guards, but those who can master various skills are considered better than mono skill shooting guards.

If you found this post helpful, you’re definitely going to like our other FAQ articles here.

> How to Play Power Forward in Basketball

> How to Play Small Forward in Basketball

> How to Play Point Guard in Basketball

Hoops Addict
Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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