Basketball on the Edge – 10 Tips for Playing More Aggressive Basketball

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Coaches in every sport say it, “Be aggressive out there!”  What does that mean exactly?   You know your coach wants you to “be more aggressive” but what specifically can you do to play more aggressively?  Here are some suggestions of what you can do right now to play more aggressively and some suggestions that can help over the long term.

Play more aggressively today.

1.  Go after loose balls.

Every coach loves a player who will get on the floor for a loose ball.  Possessions are valuable, they give your team another opportunity to score.  Be the player that gets after (AND GETS) every loose ball.

2.  Develop an “Every rebound is mine.” mentality.

What stops you from going after every rebound?  Unless it is your responsibility to get back on defense why not go hard after the rebound?  I watch players in every game just stand and watch as the shot goes up.  If you think “Every rebound is mine.”  You’ll play more aggressively.

3.  Don’t hesitate.  Make a decision and go.

Catch the ball and make a quick basketball.  Are you open?  Take a shot.  Defender rushing at you?  Head fake and drive.  Teammate open?  Make a quick pass.  As your skill level improves (See #1 in the long term section) you’ll get better at eliminating hesitation from your game

4.  Set physical screens.

Make contact with defenders when you screen.  Too many players set phantom screens with little or no contact.  It doesn’t take great talent to set a hard screen.  Make setting physical screens part of your identity as a player.

5.  Play with high energy.

Run the floor harder than your opponent.  Don’t rest while you are playing help-side defense.  Make hard cuts to the basket on offense.  Think of all the little ways you can bring more energy to the game.

6.  Communicate

If you want to play more aggressively become a better communicator.  Talk more out on the floor.  Remind teammates where to go, what to do, or about specific game situations.  Your coach will perceive you as a more aggressive player when you are out there communicating and talking the game.

Ways to improve your aggressiveness for the long term.

7.  Develop your basketball skills.

The better your basketball skill set the more likely you are to be aggressive.  If you can’t dribble well with your weak hand, you probably won’t be very aggressive driving that direction in a game.  As you develop your skills you’ll become more aggressive because you know you can do certain out on the court.  You know you’ve put the time to become a better player that can “be more aggressive”.

8.  Be confident.

Skill building is confidence building.  When you are confident you feel you can do almost anything out on the court.  You’ll be more relaxed, knowing you’ve put the time in working on your game.  How much more confident and aggressive would you be shooting a game winning jump shot in a tie game with 2 seconds left if you had practiced 100 of those shots every day in the off-season?  Confident players are aggressive players.

9.  Get your body right.

Work on your strength, agility, cardio, and athleticism.  Eat right, Get enough sleep.  You can’t be aggressive if you’re worn down, injured, or tired.

10.  Don’t fear failure.

When you play scared you often play trying to avoid mistakes.  That is a sure way to avoid playing aggressively.  Fear often grips players who are bench players.  They check in the game feeling that one mistake will have them on the bench.  Try to remember that fear really only exists in your mind.  Play the way you are capable of playing and good things will happen.

Follow these ten tips and you can start being a more aggressive player today.  Show your coach that you know how to “Be more aggressive!”

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