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Hustle Your Way Into The Scorebook!

Have you ever found yourself exhausted during a game and you can’t get your shot to go in? We all have. In my early days, like many other basketball players, I underestimated the power of hustling and being in top physical condition. I’ve seen it's usually the more talented and skilled players that overlook this important aspect of the game because they can score. What happens is these players get use to dominating everyone at a young age and because they didn't condition a lot then they have this idea in the back of their mind that all the conditioning isn’t really necessary. They eventually get to a level (usually High School) where they are matched up with equally skilled players and they get schooled because they have never focused on getting their bodies in top physical condition. Reality is, whatever level of play you are at, you need to understand the importance of hustling and conditioning. If you want to dominate get in shape! It has a gigantic impact on your level of play and it especially has a lot to do with your ability to score. It doesn’t matter how well you can shoot, how well you can dribble or how fast you are. If you are out-hustled you are going to end up looking like a very average player that has no legs or energy to score. And coaches who do not get their teams in shape to perform at a high level are just a guilty of cheating themselves.

A body in shape that hustles also creates a lot of opportunities to get easy baskets. If you have the energy to put some intense pressure on the players you are defending then you are going to cause some turnovers, get some steals and have some easy fast break lay-ups. Some players that are obsessed about scoring try and preserve their energy while on defense so they can have energy on offense. We’ve all watched game were some kids never hustle unless on offense. This is not only against everything the game of basketball is about, it's flat out wrong. You are more likely to increase your scoring average if you have more high percentage shots during games and lay-ups are as high percentage as they get. It's the hard defensive hustle players that always get the loose balls and those almost always turn out to be transition scoring opportunities. You can easily add points to your scoring average by hustling, but it doesn’t come without a cost. Being in shape!

If you are in better physical condition you are going to perform better on the court. Your legs won't get tired in the 4th quarter, you won't get winded and you'll be able to beat your defender off the dribble. It's a sad thing when I see really talented players gasping for air with their hands on their thigh simply because they are too tired to move. Don't be the player that thinks your talent and skill can carry you all the way to the top. It will not. You will find yourself being out scored by someone who isn’t as good a shooter as you because they have lots of energy left for the 4th quarter.

It doesn't take special skill or natural born talent to hustle. It takes sheer will, determination and lots of hard work. Hustling and conditioning go hand in hand because you can't hustle for very long if you aren't in really good condition. There is nothing but good things that will come from you getting yourself in top physical condition and deciding that you are going to be known as the player that is constantly hustling. Players will hate defending you, fans will love you and you'll be presented with a lot more scoring opportunities than you ever have.

How bad do you want to score? Back on the line for another conditioning workout.

Good luck with your game,

Coach O


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