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Why Aggressive Players Are Key to Basketball Success

During the summer, we talk to a number of parents at basketball camp with really nice kids but who struggle being good players because they are not aggressive.  Great players on the court need to be aggressive.  Aggression is not disrespectful. It is actually a fight for respect.

In nature, animals who are the most docile and least aggressive are also the ones who do not form intimate friendships and relationships.   Animals who are aggressive within their species often have the most loyal ties and commitment to the group. You can learn to be nice as well as aggressive on the court and in fact, gain greater respect by your aggression.  Stephen Curry is aggressive and also a good person.  He understands there are certain times in the game and in life which demand an aggressive response.  Teams, coaches, players will disrespect you if you are not aggressive such as if you let others push you around, if you don’t establish position for a rebound, if you are easily directed by the defense, or if you defer to the other team at the expense of your own team. 

Appropriate aggressive behavior commands respect. A grizzly bear is going to get much more respect than a mouse.  Both are valuable but one is very formidable and as a great player, you want to be formidable.  

If you struggle with being too nice on the court, here are a few ways to elevate aggression and improve respect.

  • Aggression is connected with passion. You have to love the game and love serving your teammates enough to fight for them, to dive on the court, to give of yourself.
  • Aggressive play has an element of chaos.  Nice people tend to hate to make mistakes and be out of control. They want everything to be clean, happy, and peaceful.  Creation isn’t like this.  If you want to be a serious player, you have to enter risk, struggle, elements of chaos and difficulty.
  • Aggression is loyalty to your team. Your team deserves you to fight for them. If you let the other team dominate you, you are letting everyone down. Basketball is a very physical sport. Taking command, dictating when you are on defense, where your man will go, attacking the basket, dominating the rebounds are your responsibility to your team.
  • Aggression isn’t the same as bad sportsmanship.  You can be aggressive without being cheap and dirty.  Dirty play is where a player intentionally attempts to hurt or injure the other team. Dirty players lie, cut corners and foul in ways that are abusive or intentionally cheap. Aggressive players earn respect. Cheap players earn disrespect.
  • Aggressive players hold their ground. Don’t let the other team push you around. Get tough, be mentally strong, get physically strong, and be smart.  What advantage do you have? Are you fast? Are you bigger? Are you more skilled?  Use your abilities to hold your ground.

At NBC Camps we believe that respect generates respect. We also believed respect should be an expected quality of a team, family, or school.  When campers come to our gym, we expect respect for the coaches, for the team, for the facility, for the mission.  Respect is an attribute of a great leader.

NBC Basketball Camps

Founded in 1971, Northwest Basketball Camp at Silver Lake, Washington worked to create a program based on the philosophy that talent is a choice. Not everyone is talented but everyone has the opportunity to improve and develop talent through passion, self-discipline, positive attitude, skill work and wisdom. Northwest Basketball Camps has now become NBC Camps offering camp training in many cities and countries. If you love basketball enough to work hard, you are going to love NBC.  Find out more at

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