small forward in basketball
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How To Play Small Forward In Basketball: Tips & Best Players

The small forward in basketball is one of the most important positions on the court. They are versatile and can do almost anything. But small forwards generally excel when they take to the outside for a three-point shot or post up near the basket. The position requires intelligence, athleticism, skill, and creativity. Which makes it one of the best positions in all of the sports! This blog will teach you everything you need to know about how to play small forward in basketball.

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What is The Role of a Small Forward in Basketball?

Small forwards are great because they have so many responsibilities. Unlike another basketball player who might play one position and has fewer responsibilities.

It’s important to note that small forwards tend to be versatile. Which means you need high levels of athleticism to compete with other players across the country/world at this position.

small forward in basketball

How are Small Forwards Ranked?

Small forwards are ranked based on their skillset similar to how quarterbacks are ranked in football or pitchers/position players for baseball. this is because small forward requires so much skill and athleticism which makes it difficult for people to succeed when they focus only on one thing during play.

Similarly, pitchers can’t do everything a batter does. And quarterbacks can’t do all the things that wide receivers or running backs do.

What Are The Skills of a Small Forward?

A successful small forward is willing to make sacrifices for their teammates by playing defense and passing the ball around during offensive plays. Instead of trying to score themselves. If you want to succeed as a small forward then you need:


You will be required to play against teams with taller players who might not have your speed; this means that you must be strong enough to keep up with them.


You will need the ability to shoot from outside, post up in the paint, and defend other players on your team or against opposing teams. This means that you cannot limit yourself to just one aspect of basketball; instead, you should work hard at becoming a well-rounded player who excels at many aspects of the game.


Small forward is one of the more physically demanding positions in basketball. Because you will be playing against other teams who are tall, fast, and strong.

If you want to succeed at this position then your athleticism must match up with others on the court. Otherwise, you’ll be forced off the ball or out of bounds by much stronger players.

Leadership Skills

Basketball is a team sport which means people need to work together; if everyone follows their own goals without worrying about what they can do for each other (via passing around and protecting teammates).

Then there won’t be any winners! Because of this, we recommend looking for smaller forwards who have leadership skills. So they help guide their teammates through difficult times.

small forward in basketball

How Do I Train To Be a Small Forward? Small Forward Drills

There are many different small forward drills you can do to help improve your skillset and basketball knowledge. Most of these drills will focus on core areas such as strength, ball handling, shooting from outside the three-point line, defending players across the court/paint, etc.

This is because a successful small forward needs to be able to do all of those things to compete with other players at this position. Otherwise, they’ll be ineffective during play which means their team loses!


there are a few ways that you can make sure you have enough physical strength for playing small forward:

  • Working Out

You should go into the gym several times per week. To lift weights or run around an indoor track until your muscles feel tired.

  • Strength Training

To improve your strength you can lift weights which will help increase muscle size and density; this way you’ll be able to play against players who are bigger than you. Without getting pushed around or thrown over easily!

  • Sprinting/Running

Running is a great activity for small forwards because it increases cardiovascular fitness (which means that you won’t tire out as quickly during games), burns body fat, improves bone health, etc.

When playing basketball sprints should never replace running. Instead, they should be used to remove any lactic acid build-up in the muscles after an intense game or workout session.

Otherwise, there’s no use doing them! Strength Training Tips: The key to up strong muscles is consistency; if you want to bulk up then you need to build muscle by going into the gym several times per week and working out your muscles. Otherwise it won’t work!

small forward in basketball

Ball Handling

There are a few different drills that can help with ball handling:

  • Crossover Drill

This is one of the most popular basketball dribbling drills because it forces players to move from side to side quickly.

To perform this drill, stand in an open area where there’s enough room for two lanes (a lane on either side) and start moving your top hand down towards one knee while you simultaneously bring your bottom hand up past the other shoulder; switch sides as fast as possible so that you’re crossing over every time.

Crossovers should be performed at full speed so that you can work on your agility and quickness.

  • Scissors Drill

This is another popular ball-handling drill because it helps players move their body faster than dribbling just with one hand; to perform this exercise, start by standing in an open area where there’s enough room for two lanes (a lane on either side).

Then use both hands to throw the basketball into each other as fast as possible while moving up/down the court – remember that if someone falls over then they’re out!

As soon as a player drops or touches the floor at any time during the game everyone else must stop immediately making it easier for those who are still able to play without tiring themselves out too quickly.

Shooting From Outside The Three-Point Line

There are a few ways that you can train your shooting:

  • Free Throws and Layups

A great drill for small forwards is to line up at the free-throw line then shoot 100 jump shots from inside the paint. Every time you miss, start over until you successfully make all of them!

This will help build muscle memory so when it comes time to play during real games everything just happens naturally without any thought or hesitation needed.

If there’s not enough time for this type of workout session consider trying something like standing outside the three-point arc with each side being worth two points; aim five balls in a row before taking a quick break (30 seconds) and repeating the process another time.

  • Speed Shooting Drill

This is a really good drill to help players gain some extra speed on their shot because it forces you to shoot as fast as possible. To perform this drill, line up at the free-throw line and shoot 100 shots from inside the paint (again).

Every time you miss start over but instead of shooting with regular form try speeding everything up; use one hand if necessary and don’t worry about making them – just focus on getting your arms used to release the ball faster than normal through muscle memory training!

The Best Small Forwards in Basketball History!

LeBron James

Starting off the list, we have the best small forward of all time – LeBron James. During his career, he has been named as an All-Star 14 times and won four Most Valuable Player awards! LeBron has also been a member of four teams that have won the NBA Playoffs, and he’s got two Olympic Gold Medals under his belt as well!

At the time of writing LeBron is still currently playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and at the top of his game; there’s no doubt that LeBron James will be remembered as one of basketball’s greatest small forwards ever!

Larry Bird

Larry Bird is another small forward we cannot forget about; over his career, Larry was named to 12 All-Star games and three times on the All-NBA first team. He finished second in MVP voting five different seasons which shows how dominating he was during each game.

Lastly, you should know that this Celtic legend holds the record for most points scored during an overtime period (14). That alone shows what kind of talent Larry had towards scoring baskets at will – making him one of our best small forwards ever!

Scottie Pippen

Scottie Pippen is the last small forward we’d like to mention and he’s one of Michael Jordan’s best friends. During his career, Scottie was able to win seven NBA titles as well as being named on six All-Defensive first teams and six times for All-NBA second-team honors.

He also made it into eight straight All-Star games so clearly this man deserved a spot on our list!


We hope you have enjoyed this blog post on small forwards in basketball. If you are interested, we will continue to provide posts with more information on the topic of basketball.

Our pick of small forwards in basketball have all won championships, MVPs, and made All-Star teams so they deserve to be known as some of the best! Do you have any other mentions? Let us know in the comments below.

Here are Some of our Favourite Basketball Sneakers

Here we will be giving more of an opinion, rather than facts. Are the sneakers worth the price that they are being sold at? Should you upgrade from your current sneakers, depending on what boots you own? What features stand out on these sneakers? If any. Does it do the job? Speed, control, stability etc. Depending on your needs/preferences. We can also mention its durability, if we have collected enough data on the specific sneakers.

What did we expect vs. what we got. Is it maybe overrated/underrated?


Here’s our pick from the very best of the bunch.


On your way to the pro leagues? Here’s our pick.


Want something to start with? Have a look at our pick.


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