The Positions of Basketball Players

The Positions of Basketball Players

Each basketball team can have a minimum of five players on the court at a time. Five positions are available on the court. Each player has the responsibility of scoring and preventing the opponent from scoring. However, each player will excel at a specific skill, such as shooting, playmaking and defense.

These are the principal positions in basketball

  • Shooting guard
  • Small forward
  • Centre
  • Power forward

The guards are the smallest of the players on the team. They spend most of their time away from basket in offensive and defensive situations. The point guard is an excellent ball-handler, and will run most of the side’s attacking plays. They can also be known as the “lead guard” or “one guard”.

Shooting guard

The long-range shooter is skilled and can share duties with the pointguard in attack or defense. But, they can also play with the small forward in a broad offensive role. They are also known as the two guard’ and off guard’.

Small forward

This position is usually the more agile and often produces many of the attacking moves. It is important to be able to score with medium range shots. However, the small forward will need to be able to rebound and also cover defensive duties. They are also known by the name ‘point forward’.

Power forward

The larger of both forwards, the power forward focuses on defense and rebounding. The power forward will play on the wing, just like the small forward. However, he will often move in the direction of the basket to support his centre.


The centre is the most likely to be the tallest and spend the majority of their time underneath the basket. The centre will typically position himself underneath the basket and face it when attacking. This is to either receive the pass or protect another player. These situations tend to draw the attention of other players around the centre. In defense, the centre will assume shot blocking and rebound duties. They are also known as the ‘big man or ‘post player’.

Basketball substitutions

Substitutes can be any team member who isn’t actually playing on the court. A sub is a player when an official allows them to enter court in the place of another player (be substituted).

Basketball Kit To Get You Going

General clothing

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get ready for basketball. The majority of female players wear a polo or t shirt with a shorter pleated skirt and a polo or t shirt. While the men wear a shirt or t shirt with a polo style and a pair if shorts,

The clothing at higher levels is more high-tech. Some teams choose to have all-in-one bodysuits, or other special kit. But, if you’re just starting out in basketball, you don’t need such expensive items.

Training shoes

Comfortable, well-gripped shoes for training that are both outdoor and indoor will be enough to keep you from slipping and sliding when you’re first learning. The trainers you choose should support your middle foot and offer cushioning when you land with the ball.

It is worthwhile to invest in basketball-specific shoes as you move up the ladder. There are many options depending on your position. This video from Mizuno will show you how important shoes can be for your performance as well as injury prevention.

Sport socks

Sports socks provide more bounce and support for players. Sports socks should provide more padding than regular socks for daily leisure wear.

Basketball bibs

After you’ve determined your best position in the basketball game, you’ll need to get a bib with letters on the front or back that shows where you play. For example, WD is Wing Defence while GA is Goal Attack. Most bibs have elastic sides that can be pulled on and taken off easily. Many clubs offer bibs.

The ball

The basketball ball is very similar to a netball. However, it is lighter and smaller in size, slightly softer and often whiter in color. To improve grip, balls have a ‘dimpling effect’. You’ll normally use a size 5 ball. However, it is recommended that children younger than 10 years old use a size 4 ball.

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