The Most Basic Youth Basketball Positions

All basketball players must have proper knowledge of youth basketball positions so they can take the place of another player if the need arises.

There are 5 basic youth basketball positions, but what exactly helps a coach decide what position should be played by which of his players?

In this guide, we shall look at youth basketball positions and tips that can help a coach define defensive and offensive positions and promote youth development. Let’s get going!

Overview Of Youth Basketball Positions

In the past, youth basketball positions were primarily based on each player’s ball handling skills and height. It was easy to pick the right player using a chart and skill checklist.

However, these different basketball positions have become less defined in the last five years as the NBA has become increasingly popular. Lebron James, for example, plays at various positions during a basketball game. Other basketball players participating in NBA games follow this pattern, too, and the audience has quickly started appreciating this change.

Therefore, every coach should be aware of positionless basketball so they can train youth basketball players correctly. Awareness is necessary as this new change requires team members to be all-rounders and skilled at switching positions. 

What Are The Positions On A Basketball Team?

Even though positionless basketball seems to be the game of the future, learning about basketball positions in youth basketball is still essential. This allows players to understand the game better and identify different locations as well as various positions.

There are five junior basketball positions assigned to the five players who play on the court at any given time during the match. Youth basketball positions include:

Player 1: Point Guard (PG)

The point guard position is one of the major youth basketball offense positions. This player is responsible for calling a play, gearing the team’s offense, and is supposed to stay close to the court’s perimeter. 

Point guards are leaders that must be good at:

  • Directing offense
  • Dribbling
  • Basketball handling
  • Passing 
  • Ability to create scoring situations
  • Must be the first player that defends
  • Versatile player

Player 2: Shooting Guard (Wing/SG/Off-Guard)

A shooting guard is very similar to a point guard in leading the team and has a strong skillset. The only thing that sets this player apart from the PG is the ability to play strong perimeter shots.

Notable shooting guards accept open shots and are excellent shooters. They can dribble/handle the ball perfectly. They are goal scorers that can perform:

  • Long jumpers
  • Dribble-penetrations
  • Mid-range shots

Player 3: Small Forward (SF/Wing)

Small forwards are allowed to move all over the court. They can play a shot from either inside or outside the court perimeter. 

Small forwards are all-rounders that should be able to shoot the ball from varying distances. Therefore, only a player that can handle short-range shots, mid-range shots, long jumpers, and offensive rebounds must be allowed this position.

Other youth baseball position responsibilities for small forwards include fast movement and agility for fast breaks.

Player 4: Post-Forward/Power Player (PF/Post)

A post-forward or power forwards player plays near the basketball court rim and scores the most points for the team.

Power forwards are the second tallest and must be all-rounders with good strength and shot skills.

In more recent games, a power forward plays midrange shots from the short corner. Team players that have mastered this skill are known as the “stretch four.” Other skills include:

  • Driving the basket
  • Playing three-point shots
  • Playing a shot for a score
  • Defending for quick passing
  • Rebounding

Player 5: Post/Center Player (Post/C)

Post players are usually taller players and strongest team members. They stay near the basket to defend it, flash the lane, or post near the block.

These players assume youth basketball defense positions and help grab opportunities to play longer shots.

Other skills that they must have include:

  • Ability to set the screens
  • Offensive rebound
  • Attempt short jumpers
  • Accept short passes
  • Have a strong knowledge of basketball

Teaching Youth Basketball Positions

If you are wondering how to teach youth basketball positions to students, game lovers, or basketball players, a youth basketball positions diagram can help you.

The diagram below is an excellent example of what a coach’s basketball diagram should look like. Clear labeling and marked positions can help students learn and understand what each position means. This also helps them understand what players can and cannot do, including what areas they cover.

Using a diagram can also help decide what positions can you play in basketball. This can channel you to train for a position that suits you best.

Related: Kindergarten Basketball 101 (Detailed Parents Guide)

Youth Basketball Positions Checklist

Youth basketball positions should always be picked after reviewing the skillset of each player and after ensuring they understand what each position means with the help of a diagram.

Below is a checklist you can use to pick each player based on skillset:

Player 1: Point Guard (PG)

  • Can be a short player.
  • Strong leadership skills.
  • Must be able to take the ball to the hoop.
  • Must have offense skills.
  • Must be an excellent dribbler.
  • Calculated approach.
  • Vast basketball knowledge.
  • Aware of team members’ strengths and weaknesses.
  • Aware of the opponent team’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Ability to penetrate and pass the ball.
  • Open an outside shot.
  • Guarding and court defense skills.

Player 2: Shooting Guard (Wing/SG/Off-Guard)

  • Can be a shorter player.
  • Should be able to handle outside shooting, short shots, mid-range shots, long jumpers, euro steps, floaters, and even reverse layups.
  • Must be able to back up the point guard.
  • Can help advance the ball to the basket.
  • Is able to avoid screens.
  • Offer defense.

Player 3: Small Forward (SF/Wing)

  • Must be athletic, agile, and quick.
  • Must be able to jump.
  • Should be able to handle and pass the ball to the post.
  • Must be a good rebounder.
  • Must create score opportunities frequently. 
  • Should be able to cut.
  • Must be able to use screens.
  • Strong runner.
  • All-rounder that can play from anywhere on the court.

Player 4: Post-Forward/Power Player (PF/Post)

  • Must be the tallest or second tallest player on the team. 
  • Should be able to cut the lane.
  • Must be able to handle a variety of post moves.
  • Must be able to play with both hands.
  • Play shots facing the basket.
  • Use post moves to play shots with the back facing the hoop.
  • Must guard and pass the ball with strong hands.
  • Endure physical contact with other players.
  • Able to pass the ball to another player or player 5 when defense fails.
  • Strong rebounder and a good screener.

Player 5: Post/Center Player (Post/C)

  • Must be the tallest player on the team.
  • Should be able to play close shots.
  • Should be able to perform all post moves.
  • Must use both hands.
  • Physical strength and endurance to pass the ball are necessary. 
  • Good screener.
  • Should be able to help the offense reverse the ball.
  • Strong rebounder.

People Also Ask

How Do You Teach Kids Basketball Positions?

You can teach kids about basketball positions using a youth basketball positions diagram.

What Are The 5 Basic Positions In Basketball?

The 5 basic positions in basketball ball are:

  • Point Guard 
  • Shooting Guard
  • Small Forward
  • Power Forward
  • Center 

What Is The Easiest Basketball Position?

Although all players need to be skilled to play basketball, becoming a centre player is deemed the easiest.

What Are The 12345 Positions In Basketball?

The 12345 positions are as follows:

  • Player 1:  Point Guard 
  • Player 2: Shooting Guard
  • Player 3: Small Forward 
  • Player 4: Power Forward
  • Player 5: Center


Whether you are a coach, a future/current player, or simply a rookie, it is a must to know about these positions to form the right team. Proper knowledge of the youth basketball positions can make or break a game and put your opponents in a difficult situation. Use them to your advantage to win your matches and train players during basketball drills!

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