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Perimeter Skills: Expanding the Power Forward’s Game

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    Sports Tips

Perimeter Skills: Expanding the Power Forward’s Game


In the current era of basketball, the role of the power forward has evolved significantly. Gone are the days when a power forward was strictly confined to the paint, focusing solely on rebounding and low-post scoring. Today's power forwards are expected to possess a versatile skill set, especially including perimeter skills such as ball handling and shooting.

The Modern Power Forward

Stretching the Floor

One of the primary reasons perimeter skills are crucial for modern power forwards is the need to stretch the floor. By effectively shooting from the perimeter, power forwards can:

  1. Open up driving lanes for guards and other teammates.
  2. Draw the opposing big man away from the basket, creating mismatches.
  3. Increase overall team spacing, allowing for better ball movement.

Key Objectives:

  • Three-point shooting: A must-have skill to keep defenders honest.
  • Mid-range game: Useful when defenders close out hard on the three-point line.

Ball Handling: The Unsung Hero

Breaking Down Defenses

Effective ball handling allows power forwards to:

  1. Drive to the basket: Creating scoring opportunities either for themselves or for teammates.
  2. Handle defensive pressure: Reducing turnovers and maintaining possession.
  3. Improve passing angles: For better playmaking and assists.

Essential Drills:

Drill NameDescriptionFrequency
Cone DribblingNavigate through cones at varying speeds to improve control.Daily (15 mins)
Two-Ball DrillsDribble two basketballs simultaneously to improve coordination.Daily (10 mins)
1-on-1 Full CourtExercise to enhance ball handling under pressure.Weekly (20 mins)

Shooting: From Paint to Perimeter

Beyond the Arc

Power forwards must be proficient shooters not just in the post but also beyond the arc. Shooting consistency adds a critical dimension to a power forward's game.


  • Catch-and-Shoot: Quick release and readiness to shoot immediately upon receiving the ball.
  • Pick-and-Pop: Setting a screen and then stepping out to receive a pass for an open shot.

Practice Regimen:

  • Form Shooting: Focus on mechanics close to the basket before moving out.
  • Spot Shooting: Shoot from designated spots around the arc to build range and consistency.
  • Shooting off the Dribble: Work on pulling up for a shot after a dribble move or a step-back.

Integrating Skills into Game Play

Game Scenarios


  • Role: As the screener, the power forward can either roll to the basket or pop out for a three-point shot, adding unpredictability to the play.

Isolation Plays:

  • Role: With improved ball-handling, power forwards can create their own shot opportunities by driving past bigger, slower defenders or shooting over smaller, quicker ones.

Coaches' Tips:

  1. Read the Defender: Recognize if the defender is sagging off or playing tight to choose between driving or shooting.
  2. Practice Under Pressure: Simulate game scenarios where every shot matters to build mental toughness.


For power forwards aspiring to thrive in modern basketball, refining perimeter skills such as ball handling and shooting is imperative. Coaches and players should integrate these competencies into their regular training routines to stay competitive. Embrace the evolution of the position and expand your game to make a significant impact on the court.

By incorporating these perimeter skills into your repertoire, you'll not only elevate your own game but also contribute significantly to your Teams success. Whether you're a player aiming to enhance your capabilities or a coach tailoring development plans, understanding and mastering these areas will be pivotal. So, lace up and get to work—your expanded skill set awaits!