If your youth basketball coaching sessions have seen your coach imploring you to be more aggressive out there on the court, there are a great number of drills you can do to gain more toughness and therefore more aggressive in your basketball. Let’s take a look at some of the drills you can be teaching to improve today and in the future.
Teaching the Aggressive Defensive Basketball Position Drill
Aggressive play starts with defense. Put your energy into stopping that opposing player from scoring like your life depended on it. Get every rebound and never give up on it. This is a way to play aggressively when playing the fundamentals of basketball. Your teammates will notice and consider you a valuable asset on the court, someone who will always have their back. Your teammates will feed off this energy and you’ll be considered a huge presence on the court, which in turn will give you the confidence you need for aggressive offensive play.
Own the Ball
When the ball is in your hands and you’re on the offense – own it. Cultivate the idea that the ball belongs to you, not the defender. It is your ball, you are holding it. It’s not theirs and never will be. All you have to do it hold on to the ball and keep it from them and the rest will come to you.
Have a Basketball Match with Unknown Players
If you find your aggression changes based on who you are playing that can be a guide for taming your passiveness problem. It’s common for players to play aggressively with their friends and people they know well, as they are comfortable and in their element. For one, they know that if they make a mistake then their friends won’t punish them too badly for it. They also know that if they push aggressively, using their elbows and arms more vigorously, that if they do accidentally hurt someone then it will be forgiven quickly.
When we play against unknown players we’re out of our groove and we don’t know exactly how they will react to aggressive play, which can make us tense, nervous, and timid. The key to getting out of this psychological rut is to play more games with people you don’t know. Play more games with the people that make you nervous, or in settings that push your boundaries. Each time you will get more mentally strong as you’ll be proving to yourself that there’s nothing to fear along with gaining the experience and skills to deal with any kind of teammate or opponent.
Develop Your Skills in Basketball
It’s easy to look at the best players on the team that seem to effortlessly be putting up basket after basket and think ‘well, I’d be confident if I could play as well as them’. The fact is they’ve probably practiced that shot hundreds or thousands of times. If you do the same thing you’ll feel all the more confident when there are three seconds left on the clock and the ball is in your hands.
If you’ve got a weak dribble with the ball in your left hand, for example, work on it every day. Work on your strength, your athleticism, agility, and playing skills. Eat the right food, and get enough sleep every day so you’re always playing at your best and developing your skills as quickly as possible.
Teaching the “Build the Habit Drill”
Consciously start hand-checking and boxing out more often. Much like any habit, aggressive,confident basketball playing comes from forcing yourself to do it time and again until it becomes second nature. This builds your toughness!!
If you find yourself standing around the perimeter it’s time to remind yourself to get in there and work, even it if appears your immediate efforts are unimportant. It’s all about building up those aggressive habits until they become second nature as you become a naturally aggressive player.
One suggestion is to cross-train in football. Football is a highly aggressive contact youth sport, even more that basketball, so you’ll be learning how to play aggressively every day and you’ll get more used to the rough and tumble of competitive sports.
Never Fear to Fail
If you’re often benched, you might build a mental block where you fear that any on-court failure will have you back on the bench. You prefer to play it safe, which is a dangerous thing to do in basketball. Just try to remember that fear is just a state of mind – you have the power to tell yourself ‘no, I’m not afraid!’ Taking more risks will make you a better player and your coach will ultimately not want to bench the player that’s always ready to go in for that loose ball.
Aggressiveness and mental toughness comes from confidence. The less confident we are, the more fearful we are of making mistakes. The more fearful we are of making mistakes, the more we fear failure. The more we fear failure, the more we fear our coaches. Ultimately, this is can result in a loss of passion for the game, which again feeds into a lack of aggression on the court. Love the game first, and you’ll want to be getting in there and winning it all for your cherished teammates.
The Mental Toughness Academy has a program designed specifically to improve your ability on the court. Our Basketball Mental Toughness program can teach you how to overcome negativity and doubt by instilling confidence and mental fortitude.