Has your child ever played on a team with a ball hog?
It’s frustrating to play with one, and really irritating to watch one from the bleachers.
I watched one kid play who was so bad that parents would start yelling to him from the stands, “Pass the ball!!” Even the local paper mentioned his selfish play.
What do you tell your child when they face this?
“Lead by Example.” I know this is hard if your child doesn’t get the ball much, and when he does he probably wants to shoot, but encourage him to lead by example. His teammates need to see that good things can happen when you pass. My two high school basketball players were really good at this. They refused to take selfish shots and kept their eyes open for others who were open on the court.
“Your job is to make your team look good.” Be bigger than your teammates. Remember that your job as a team member is to help the team be successful, whatever that looks like. One of the hard things about basketball is that even though it is a team sports, there is still a lot of focus on the individual who scores a lot. Fed, of course, by the local newspaper and TV sports shows.
“Play your game, regardless.” Ball hogs are a part of basketball. You can’t control them and you probably won’t change them. Being on a team teaches you that you can’t control other people. But you can change your own point of view and strengthen your own skills so that when you do get the ball, you are either ready to shoot or make the smart pass.
“Leave the coach out of it.” Complaining to the coach will most likely be perceived as whining and probably won’t accomplish anything. Even though you may wonder if the coach is blind because he can’t see the selfishness of players, it’s best just to leave him out of this discussion and hope that he opens his eyes and sees the problem.
“Sometimes, there is a difference between a ball hog and a talented athlete.” Not all ball hogs are good athletes and not all skilled athletes are ball hogs. Sometimes good players are just being aggressive and trying to make things happen. They play with passion. They want to win. That does not make them ball hogs. And what really makes them talented is that they see other players who are open too and can make good passes to them.
“Forget the points; how about assists?” We watched one high school point guard who led the league in assists. Not points. She was a pure joy to watch because she had a great view of the court and saw the open player. When my daughter played in middle school and high school, we’d always point out her good passes and assists and sometimes even reward her for them in an effort to keep the focus off “how many points did I score” and on “how did I help my team?”
Ball hogs are inevitable in basketball, just like bad refs and loud fans. How has your child handled them?