Altercations on the court

In a competitive environment, altercations are going to occur. Learn how to deal with them with TBM.

Thanks to our friend, the internet, we are constantly seeing fights at all levels of the game of basketball. Much of them involve trash talking gone wrong, embarrassed players acting out, or players determined to show others up or act tough. Even at the highest level - the NBA has already had some on-court altercations between players despite only being in the preseason.

Basketball is a game, and therefore built around competition. Two teams try their best to outplay each other, so naturally emotion and competitive nature sometimes overflow.

Of course, our best advice is to avoid confrontation completely. If you or your team are rolling, get pumped up and let your swagger infect your squad. However, remember to not taunt opposing players. Also be gracious in defeat, and take out your frustrations by playing hard, not dishing out verbal jabs or frustration fouls.

Basketball is a team sport, so acting out on the court is when something gets under your skin is a selfish action. Even if you keep yourself in check, your teammates or opponents may not be so even-keeled at all times. Know what to do if an altercation boils over on the floor.

When things have gone too far

At all levels of the game (perhaps even more so in the pros), we see players getting in each other’s faces. Shouting matches accomplish nothing positive for your squad. If you see players starting into each other, place yourself between your teammate and the opponent. Do your best to talk them down by reminding him or her that the team needs them to remain cool. A technical free throw can decide a close game and an ejected player can really hurt your team.

If talking your teammate down is not accomplishing anything, attempt to act as a wall and keep your teammate from getting involved with the opposing player physically. Gradually do what you can to get the players moving apart from each other. Once your teammate’s attention gets diverted, the coach can step in and remind them where their priorities lie.

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.
— Michael Jordan

In the event that things do turn physical, keeping the players apart becomes even more important. You can take a bit of a more “hands-on” approach to holding your teammate back, just make sure to not be too aggressive in any of your actions, or they may be misinterpreted.

Wrestling around acting tough is one thing, but if someone starts throwing punches, you have a problem. Not only can players get hurt, even those not involved, but ejections also may turn into lengthy suspensions. Letting your emotions get the best of you in situations like these is one of the most selfish things you can do as a player.

Remember, these things do not apply to bench players. If you are on the bench while an altercation is taking place, stay on the bench. Stand and deliver advice to the players on the court if you must, but if you step onto the court, you are just going to hurt your team.

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