Training Guide for Basketball: Shooting Guards

Training Guide for Basketball: Shooting Guards

What is a shooting guard? The player that occupies the 2nd position in the basketball court. In this post, we are going to learn more about that position, the features of that kind of player, but specially how they should exercise to reach their best performance. Let’s begin with the Training Guide for Shooting Guards!

Their main roles in the court are…

Physiological determinants of Shooting Guards

  • Supporting the point guard when lifting the ball, specially when the defense of the opposite team pressures a lot.
  • Supporting the offensive actions of the point guard, defensive players, etc.
  • Performing the actions of a player that plays on the outer zone:  penetrating and throwing.

Like the rest of the positions, the determinants of the performance will help us focus on what we have to exercise in order to improve. In this case, shooting guards are an exception. In fact, they are usually grouped in the same category with point guards due to the similarities in their technique/tactics:

“point guard / shooting guard”

Classic categorization of basketball players

Figure I. Example of a classic categorization of basketball

That is the reason why there are barely any studies that distinguishes both positions. Actually, even the training guide for point guards could be perfectly applied to shooting guards.

Wait, you do not know what we are talking about? Click here to find out.

Let’s shed some light on this position, shall we?

NBA Shooting Guard

Point Guard and Shooting Guard, are they exactly the same?

Both the point guard and the shooting guard are interchangeable positions. Both are resistant and fast, they need to have an exceptional control on the ball, apart from a great tactical understanding.

For example, observe the dynamism of the play by Philip Scrubb and the way he passes the ball to Víctor Arteaga in the following video by Movistar Students:

Still, there are small differences between both positions that can tell what would be more interesting to improve our ability as shooting guards:

Cui et al. (2019) analyzed the anthropometric and physiological variables of the selected (and not selected) players for the Draft of the NBA between 2008 and 2018.

The article is a review in depth that would be quite interesting to read for any basketball player. But let’s focus on what we are interested, we can read how the authors claim that:

The shooting guards from the draft are heavier and taller. However, they are equally fast, but they jump lower than the point guards from the Draft.

Then, what is the work of  a shooting guard?

We can make a clear picture of what are the basic roles of a shooting guard:

  • Supporting the point guard during offensive plays. For example, they block and play as a second point guard when necessary. They need to be strong, which is why they also weigh more.
  • However, they jump lower because of their weight. This is a sign that we follow the same workouts for point and shooting guards, which is why they do not develop all their jump potential.
  • Finally, they have to penetrate the area of the opposite team. Therefore, their agility and speed has to be on point (almost like any other basketball player).

Shooting guards are a hybrid between point guards and small forwards. Above all, they need to be balanced and develop their potential in both positions to achieve the best performance.

Shooting guards are some of the most polyvalent players you will find in a basketball court!

Shooting Guard

Training Guide for Shooting Guards

In general, just like a point guard, you have to develop your speed, resistance, reflexes and understanding of the game, as well as the technique with our without a ball.

We already provided a series of exercises in the post about the specific training for point guards that can be used for shooting guards. Still, we want to add one more to this training guide for shooting guards.

In general, we believe it is better to use reduced games in order to prepare basketball players. In fact, they tend to enjoy these games  even more and the result are the same or even better than other traditional approaches.

1st Practical Example

This time, we are going to do a 6-week progression relying on reduced games. Above all, this will help us improve our speed, resistance, strength and technical abilities.

1st practical example

This system lasted for 6 weeks, doing exercise every day with the following features:

  • At the beginning of the workout.
  • After a standard warm-up.
  • 2 vs 2.
  • Full court in length (28m).
  • Half court in width (7.5m).

The control group followed a traditional HIIT system with standardized intensity and the duration was the same as the SSG model.

Even though both groups improved (see 2nd chart in the article), the group that played 2 vs 2 improved the aerobic capacity, defensive speed, throwing abilities and upper body strength.

But if you are interested in working on the game with a lower intensity, go for a 3 vs 3. In fact, this would have probably improved the throwing abilities, which did not improved as much as we expected in the 2 vs 2.

2nd Practical Example

The authors from the previous article suggest using workouts that rely on reduced games systematically. Nevertheless, they also insist on exercising the strength of the players with other system.

There are two profiles of players in our teams: Those who love physical play and those who detest it.

For the first one, gym sessions are the best, a physical trainer can plan individual programs for the players depending on the pre-season evaluations.

Here you have everything you need to know to learn to train at the gym!

When it comes to the players from the second group… We may have to include punctual weightlifting sessions. This will be specially important if we need to reach some level of physical development to avoid being left behind. However, the physical trainer can plan dynamic sessions to motivate these players and they have the potential to be as effective (Hernández et al., 2018).

Kobe Bryant

The authors came up with a training protocol to work with the lower body strength, speed, stability and agility in direction changes. This would be a punctual alternative to the traditional weightlifting workout.

The scheme would be the following:

  • 7 weeks of plyometric workout.
  • 2 sessions per week.
  • Including the following types of jumps: unilateral, bilateral, horizontal, vertical, lateral, diagonal, turn, return, cyclic and acyclic.

You will notice that the exercise selection is quite weird. But it makes sense because they wanted to cover all the possible movement vectors.

  • 10 exercises per session.
  • 1 set per exercise.
  • 5 seconds of rest between acyclic jumps and 60 seconds between exercises.

One of the most complete shooting guards from the history of the NBA was Kobe Bryant. Here is a video with some of his best plays…

This was the sequence:

Exercise sequence

The results were: even though all the groups improves (even the control group that followed the traditional workout while the other did the plyometric sessions), the other group improved even more.


Figure II. Weighted results of the pre-/post- intervention between groups. Adapted from Hernández et al., (2018).

You can see how from the two groups (NRG and RG) the second one improved more than the first.

Well, this is due to the fact that the researchers wanted to see if having random tasks would be better, which seems to be the case. Therefore, as physical trainers, it would be interesting to pick all the exercises and distribute them randomly.

To sum up, this workout examples together with the proposals of the article will be a good primer to start improving!

But before we go, I just want to drop a video with some of the plays by one of the most important Spanish shooting guards in the history of basketball: Juan Carlos Navarro. Enjoy!

Referencias Bibliográficas

Training Guide for Shooting Guards

What is a shooting guard - 100%

Differences between shooting a point guard - 100%

Training routine - 100%

Two practical examples - 100%


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About Alfredo Valdés
Alfredo Valdés
He is a specialist in metabolic physiopathology training and in the biomolecular effects of food and physical exercise.
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