Positions of Basketball Players


Positions of Basketball Players

Each team can choose between 10 Basketball Players, and a maximum of five players per game. Each player is responsible for scoring and stopping the opposing team from scoring. There are five positions in basketball. Each player is better at one skill, whether that’s shooting, playmaking, or defense.

These are the main positions in basketball:

  • Shooting guard
  • Small forward
  • Centre
  • Power forward

Guards are often the smallest members of the team. They play most of their games away from the basket, in both offensive as defensive situations. The point guard is a skilled ball-handler who will also be the “playmaker” behind most of the attacking plays. They may also be called the ‘leadguard’ or ‘one-guard’.

Shooting guard

This player is a skilled long range shooter and shares duties with the point guard in attack and defense. However, they can also play alongside the’small forward in an offensive role. These players are sometimes called the ‘two guards’ or ‘off guards’.

Small forward

This position is often the more agile of both forwards. Many attacking moves originate here. The ability to score from medium range is a key skill, but small forwards will be expected to also get rebounds and cover defensive duties. They are also known as ‘point forward’.

Power forward

The power forward is the larger of the two forwards and specializes in defense and rebounding. This player will be on the wing just like the small forward, but will move towards the basket to assist the centre.


The centre will be the tallest player, and they will likely spend most of their time under basket. The centre will often position himself under the basket during an attack to protect his teammate or receive the pass. In these situations, the centre is often the focal point of attention for all other players. The centre is responsible for rebound and shot blocking duties. They are sometimes called the “big man” or “post player”.

Basketball substitutions

Substitutes are team members who are not performing on the court. Substitutes are players when the official allows them to enter the court as a substitute for another player (be substituted).

Basketball Kit to Get You Started

General clothing

It doesn’t have to cost a lot to get kitted up for basketball. Female players will wear a polo shirt or tshirt with a short, pleated skirt. Men wear a polo shirt or shirt and a pair or shorts.

Higher levels of the game require more sophisticated clothing. Some teams will opt for all-in one bodysuits and other custom-designed kit. You won’t have to purchase such specialized items of kit if you are just starting in basketball.

Shoes for training

When you first start out, a pair of comfortable training shoes that have good grip and are suitable for indoor and outdoor use will be sufficient. When you’re landing with the ball, your trainers will support the center of your foot.

As you get better, it’s worth getting a pair of basketball shoes that are tailored to your position. Watch this video by Mizuno to see how important shoes are for injury prevention and performance.

Sports socks

A good pair of socks for sports will provide additional bounce and support on the court. You should look for socks that provide extra padding, not just regular socks you might wear for leisure.

Basketball bibs

After you have established your best position in basketball you will need a bib that has lettering on both the front and back. This will show where you play. For example, WD stands for Wing Defence and GA stands for Goal Attack. The elastic sides of a bib make it easier to pull on and take off. Many clubs can supply bibs.

The ball

Basketball is similar to netball but it is lighter, smaller, and slightly softer than a netball. It is usually white in color. To aid in grip, basketballs have a “dimpling” effect. A size 5 ball is the most common, but it is best to play with a smaller size.

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