On-Court Attitude

Jun 7th, 2013

Category: Coaching

On-Court Attitude

Before reading this blog post, I want you to ask yourself a few questions and answer them honestly.  How would your coach classify your attitude on the court? How would the person guarding you classify your attitude?

Are you timid? Maybe you come off a bit cocky? Maybe you’re emotional and on edge throughout the game? Whatever your attitude may be, become aware of it and think about it from a few different points of view.

The other day I began thinking of what the ideal attitude is for a basketball player. I thought about it from a coach’s point of view; What type of player tends to succeed in my programs? Next, I examined it from an athlete’s point of view; What type player do I hate going up against?

I came up with a list of three types of attitudes and I ranked them in order of best to worst. Here we go..

1. Confident but Humble

Players who are confident and humble are the absolute best teammates. As a coach, you have 100% trust in this type of player. This player has put in hours of work when no one is watching and he/she is so confident in their preparation that they don’t need to talk. They are sure that they put in more work than their opponent, so they don’t feel the need to boast about how hard they work or how good they are. This player let’s their game talk for them. Deep down this player may truly believe they are the best thing since sliced bread, but they will never admit it.

As a player you hate going against this guy. He will embarrass you with a crossover and go dunk on your big man without showing signs of emotion after the play. You have no idea what’s going on in their head. Their ability to not get too high, and not get too low, makes them an unstoppable player and an even better closer.

As a Strength and Conditioning coach, these are the types of players who tend to get astounding results no matter what. They improve their strength on every exercise, jump higher on every vertical jump assessment, and make it through every metabolic burnout while finding a way to hide their exhaustion. Players praise him and continuously talk about how he’s the best player in the city but he will always turn the attention onto the team instead of himself.

2. Slightly Cocky

This type of player usually isn’t the best teammate. Don’t get me wrong, they are good players, but they feel the need to talk about their success too often. When people talk about their successes and purposely show how confident they are, it becomes hard to cheer for them. At some point your own teammates will be hoping you miss the game winning shot just so that they wont have to hear your blabbering mouth on the bus ride home. It becomes tough to build a team around this player because nobody really wants him to succeed. By the way, this player will always hashtag #NBABound and ridiculous things on twitter to show that he has big goals.

However, as a player you don’t like going up against the slightly cocky guy. While their not as intimidating as the “confident/humble player”, they are usually the best at getting you out of your zone.  They are screaming after big blocks and dancing after every three-point shots. If you are the “confident/humble” player, you wont have a problem with his flashy ways. In fact, you will enjoy stepping on his throat. But, if you’re an “under confident” player, the “slightly cocky” player will absolutely destroy you. You will be out of your zone, play horrible, and yell at your mom after the game and tell her that she pushed you into playing basketball and you never even liked it in the first place.

Ok, maybe not all that… but you get the point.

As a Strength and Conditioning coach, the “slightly cocky” players are the ones who will argue with you about their need to get stronger. They will believe that their skill is enough for them to be great and they will never put in much effort to improve strength. They will love biceps curls/crunches and hate power cleans. If they feel like the exercise is going to make them look good for their next instagram pic, they will probably do it.

This player is usually naturally athletic and if they buy into your program they will turn to super athletes. To get them to buy into your program you may need to serve them a big warm glass of get the heck over yourself.

 3. Low Self-Esteem

If you step on the court and say to yourself, “confidence, confidence, confidence, I need to stay confident”, your probably not that confident. Side note- confidence comes from proper preparation. Players who put in the work become confident in their abilities. You cannot fake confidence by reading “how-to” books and constant affirmations.

This player is tough to play with because you just can’t trust them. If there is one player on the court that you don’t trust 100% your whole team will fail. If you can’t trust that he will step up and play help-side defense, you need to get him off the court.

As a Strength and Conditioning coach, this player won’t trust in their abilities enough to make improvements. This is the player that will be doing a back squat, and as soon as it gets hard they will spaz out and ditch the bar instead of pushing through it. As soon as things get hard they will fake an injury because they don’t believe in their ability to push through fatigue.


So there you have it, the three main types of players.  Of course, many players don’t fit perfectly into one of these categories and could be a combination of several. If you’re a player, be sure to categorize yourself and make changes if your not satisfied with your on-court attitude. The beautiful thing is that with conscious effort and careful repetition, we can change our attitudes and become the type of player that coaches want and player would like to play with!

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