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What Basketball Position Should I Play: A Look at the Five Main Positions

If you’re interested in playing basketball, have all the right gear, and you’re eager to play, before you join a team or play a game on the court with some friends, you may be wondering “what basketball position should I play?” and what you can do to determine which position would be right for you. Finding your place on the court can define how you play and what areas you need to work on such as perfecting your rebounding skills or jump shots. There are several positions to choose from, each of which can be very demanding. I’ll take a closer look at each of these positions and point out some of the most important characteristics required in order to help you narrow down the position that will meet your skill set and what your role on the court would be like.

What basketball position should I play? The position you choose should be based on which one you feel the most comfortable playing in. There are five main positions to choose from:

  • Small forward
  • Power forward
  • Center
  • Point guard
  • Shooting guard

Each position will require a certain skill set, whether it’s height, pure power, or shooting accuracy. If you’re not sure which position is right for you, try playing in each position during your next practice and go with the position you feel the most comfortable and confident in.

Read on to learn about the requirements for each of these positions and what you can do to determine which position will be the right fit for you.

Choosing Your Place On the Court

Choosing Your Place On the Court

Every player will have their own preference on the court. Some players may prefer to hang out in the corner and wait for their opportunity to shoot, while others want to handle the ball as much as they can or set team members up for a shot. Before you can determine which position will work for you, first you need to assess how comfortable you are with the ball, how confident you are in your ability to make a shot, and whether or not you want to hang back or take control when you’re on the court.

Once you’ve assessed your skills and weak spots, then you’re ready to choose a position.

The Five Main Positions on the Court

There are five main positions you can choose from:

  • Center
  • Power forward
  • Small forward
  • Shooting guard
  • Point guard

Each of these positions will require a different skill set and different team roles.

Point Guard

Playing point guard is a very demanding role. Essentially, you’re an extension of the coach when you’re on the court. As a point guard, you must stay in constant communication with your team. You may have to yell at other players, motivate them, and correct them. You can also expect to run around a lot since you’re the one who is creating plays. You must be both a quick thinker and fast on your feet.

Shooting Guard

In this position, the main objective for the shooting guard is to shoot the ball from any part of the court. Scoring for your team is your main goal.  This specific position will require more size and strength than the point guard position since you must fight through stronger and bigger players to make it to the basket. You will also be responsible for participating in team rebounding. For the shooting guard, good ball handling skills will be a must. The ball will usually be in your hands just as much as the point guard’s, typically during very intense moments of the game. If you’re comfortable making last-second shots and playing under pressure, then this demanding position may be perfect for you.

Small Forward

The small forward will always be in the thick of it. They often take part in protecting the ball and rebounding, but they can also find themselves in the corner, just waiting to land a three-pointer. The small forward must be a very versatile player. This position requires you to be a solid defender that’s able to guard every position on the court.

Power Forward

If you’re incredibly tall, over six feet, eight inches, then you’re automatically going to be a power forward. This is one of the most challenging positions and it requires an aggressive player who can take on any demands on the court. If you want to play as a power forward, then you better brush up on your rebound game. Protecting the ball is just one of the priorities of the power forward. On the court, you’ll heavily participate in setting screens for your teammates, which will open up plenty of scoring opportunities for your team.

The power forward must also be strong enough to guard the opposing team’s strongest players and also able to challenge players from the perimeter. If you’re strong and comfortable sticking close to the basket, then you’ll be a great power forward. This position shares many of the same characteristics of the center and can usually play in the center position.

Center

Center

Are you usually the tallest and strongest guy on the court? Are you able to grab a rebound or block a shot whenever you want? If scoring is easy for you, then the center position is a perfect fit. The center is usually the tallest player in the lineup, which is why it’s their job to protect the ball while also serving as the last strike of defense. This position will require you to fight off offensive rebounds and dominate the opposing team’s players. Most of the time you’ll find yourself facing the opposite direction of the hoop. The center will spend the least amount of time around the basket and must play under heavy contact.

Related Questions

What Size Base On a Portable Basketball Hoop is Big Enough to Support Dunking?

For adults, I wouldn’t go with a base that was smaller than fifty gallons. However, if you’re looking for the best portable basketball hoop for the kids, then you can easily get by with a base that’s twenty-five gallons and up. If you’re on a budget and looking for a kid-friendly model, I recommend the Lifetime 1529 Courtside Height Portable Basketball System. It features a twenty-seven-gallon base, which is more than enough for younger players. The solid construction, portable design, and reasonable price also give you every reason to buy.

How Can I Get Better at Handling the Ball?

This will depend on the position you play in and where you’re struggling the most. If you’re constantly getting the ball stolen, have a difficult time moving down the court, and feel like the ball is controlling you instead of the other way around, then you may need to focus on how to get better at dribbling. Dribbling correctly can help you fly down the court and can teach you how to move and control the ball in a manner that will make you less vulnerable on the court and can prevent another player from swooping in for the steal. But again, this will also depend on your position and any other areas you’re weak in. If you need more help than what you’re getting at practice after school, then practice at home, practice on the weekends, and work on becoming a better player. Basketball takes patience, skill, and dedication. Don’t expect to become a pro overnight. Practice is key.

How Tall Do You Have to Be to Dunk?

If you have an average arm length, you’ll need to jump at least two feet to touch the rim of the basketball hoop and jump a total of thirty inches to dunk a ball using a regulation sized hoop. Most players agree that you must be at least six feet tall to dunk a ball, although shorter players around five feet, ten inches have been able to do so. If you’re on the shorter side, training and working on your vertical jump can help you achieve your goal of dunking, but generally, players that are six feet tall and up will have a much easier time making a slam dunk compared to players that are just a few inches shorter.

Final Thoughts

After reading my guide, I hope I’ve helped to answer your question of “what basketball position should I play?” As you know by now, selecting the right position and studying it will really define you as a player. It will control your success on the court, how much game time you get, and even how often you get the ball. Because of this, choosing the correct position is of the utmost importance. If you’re still not certain which position would be the best fit, try practicing in each of these positions and choose the position you feel the most at home with. You don’t have to have all the moves in the beginning, just go with a position that you’re comfortable with. Once you have determined which position suits you, then you can begin studying the pros and the way they move on the court. You can also perfect their moves and make them your own, for more of an edge on the court.