How to become a better wing player in basketball
In basketball, what used to five positions can now be roughly broken down into three – Guards, Wings, and Forwards. The two backcourt positions can often blend into one, as can the wing positions, and the forward positions. In fact, some people even say that the Shooting Guard is a wing, while the Power Forward is, as the name suggests, a Forward. This can be confusing – so if you want to be a better wing player, how do you do that?
What are the essential skills that a wing player needs to have?
You need to be ready to score
If you play the wing, then you are most likely a leading scorer or primary scoring option for your team. Wings who don’t score are often going to make it hard for their team to compete. You get the majority of your team shots, and you are expected to be the beneficiary of plays that are being run for you. With that in mind, are you ready to take command and be willing to score?
Wings are often the player who gets the least criticism for attacking via dribbles and shots – use that to your advantage!
You need to use the ball well
The biggest problem a wing can have is lacking efficiency with the ball. When you are given the ball, you expected to keep turnovers, lost possessions, out of bounds passes, and poor shots to a minimum. You will be expected to dribble smartly, opening up the floor with a crossover or stepback.
The best wings are those who know how to use a 1 to 3-piece dribbling move to make a short moment of space prior to shooting, passing, or driving. If you become a dribbler, then you can become easy to work out for others who might simply guard you and wait for you to take a contested shot at the hoop.
Naturally, you want to avoid being typecast as someone who cannot use the ball well. Playing the wing means making smart plays in a short and decisive moment. The longer you take to finish off a dribble or a shot, the more time is eaten up and the easier you are to defend.
You should therefore look to become more efficient whether it is cutting, passing, or shooting at the right moment with maximum opportunity available.
You cannot expect easy looks
Wings who are any good will soon get used to people shutting them down and stopping them from having a scoring chance. That should worry you, because easy looks are something that wings can become a little too used to having. If you want to be a good wing player, you have to get used to scoring as part of the offence as opposed to being the whole attack on oyur own.
You need to get used to being able to play in isolation as well as you can take a catch-and-shoot moment. You have to keep the opposition guessing. Are you going to pass? Would you be more likely to dribble instead? The sooner you can work out this crucial part of being a basketball player, the more likely it is that you can start to produce meaningful results as a player.
Easy looks do not often arrive when you get a reputation. As a wing, then, get used to either being the final touch before a shot or moving the ball around the court instead of always trying to beat your opponent in a 1v1 duel. Run plays with the team, don’t go hero-ball!
Learn to work with screens
One of the best ways for a wing to get a shot, drive, or dribble off with success is to get a screen set by a stronger teammate. If you are not someone who is used to working on a screen, you need to get used to using a screen for that little half-second it buys you to be decisive. The best wings know how to use a screen as it forces your opponent to have to fight harder to contest your next move.
Getting used to hitting a quick shot off when a screen is called is very important, as is learning to use a screen to open up a driving lane. At the same time, your game will improve if you learn to set a screen, fake its usage, and then reject the screen before doing the other way. This can force the opponent to fall out of position as they become a victim of your smart dummy.
The sooner you can learn about these little skills, the more likely it is that you can put them into meaningful action that produces success. This takes time, skill, and teamwork: all essential attributes for a modern wing!
Pass with precision
The last skill that you need to learn as a wing is when to pass. Many wings can get cocky and start dribbling at anyone that stands in front of them. As any basketball coach in Dubai will show you, though, this is not the best way to open up space and make winning plays. If you want to become a good wing, you have to make the opposition fear your pass as much as your penetrative drives and shots. As such, get used to moving the ball quickly and with variety.
Adding behind-the-back passes, bounced dimes, and simpler passes that are sold with a no-look stance can be very useful to making the opposition respect and even fear your game.
You will be more than a simple scorer, even if as a wing you are a primary scorer. Making sure you can add anything from 3-5+ assists per game to your tally through smart passing and intelligent ball movement is very good.
Sure, some wings are dribble-merchants who can shoot from all angles. To be a proper wing, though, you have to know when to pass, when to dribble with efficiency, and when to use a screen to get an open look.