July 25, 2024

Guards and forwards: who has the tougher job?

This archived article was written by: Jada Clark

In the game of basketball, there are two-main positions: guards and forwards. But who has the tougher job? The guards, who are constantly pressuring the ball, and running all over the place? Or is it the forwards, the big post players, who are constantly getting physical, battling it out in the post?
Obviously guards are going to think they have the toughest job in the game, while post players think that they are doing more work, however, maybe if both sides take a glimpse at what the other has to endure, they will all have a better understanding of each other, and furthermore appreciate each other’s positions more.
Guards are typically the smaller players in the game, but what they lack in size, they make up with speed. The guards are usually the first ones up the court.
Offensively, they get a lot of touches on the ball, whether they are the point guard, dribbling down the court and initiating a play, or the shooting guard, always ready to hit a three pointer.
Defensively, the guards are always up in the ball handler’s face, constantly pressuring the ball to make it more difficult for the ball-handler to get the ball to other players on their team.
The guards have the hardest job when it comes to pressing teams, because they constantly have to run from side to side to try to pressure the team enough that they turn the ball over. Being a guard, you have to be quick on your feet, you need to handle the ball, especially under pressure, and you need to have a good jump shot.
Let’s take a look at the inside game of basketball, where the post players live. Generally, the forwards, as known as posts, are the taller players on the court. The forwards usually are not quicker than guards, however they are stronger due to the physicality of their position.
Both offensively and defensively, post players are constantly trying to get position. This is where the paint becomes a battlefield.
Offensively, as a post, you try to use your body to get in a good enough position to set yourself up to score. It is not as easy as it sounds because your defender is literally trying to push you out of position, and get in the way of any possible passes that try to come inside. Even if a post player does get a catch inside, it’s a rare occasion that they get a wide open, easy lay-up. Forwards are constantly getting contact, so when they get a catch inside, they have to be strong and bully their way closer to the basket and go up for the shot expecting contact. Post players are taught to go into the contact, not away, so they can draw a foul and get an extra shot. While guards are quicker on their feet, post players are stronger and able to play through more contact.
Guards need to have more endurance, whilst forwards need to have more strength. However, these two work wonderfully together. Since forwards are usually the lowest on the court, they can see what is happening all around them and help communicate what they see to the guards so they know what to expect and how to defend what is coming.
On the other hand, guards are help-defense if a post player has to go out and defend someone else.
Guards and forwards may always disagree about who has the harder job, and who has to do the most work, but one side won’t truly understand where the other is coming from unless they switch roles and see singlehandedly how difficult it is to play each other’s positions.