What is toughness on the basketball court?

Jun 18, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan (21) reacts during the third quarter of game six in the 2013 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

What does it mean to be tough in the game of basketball? People often mistake being tough for someone who’s intimidating. A guy that’s in your face or is ready to throw fists if the time comes is often looked at as tough but that’s a huge misunderstanding.

Toughness on the basketball court is hard work, dedication, and attention to detail. Doing every little thing that it takes to be victorious when that final buzzer sounds. When a coach says he wants tough players, he means guys that will dive for loose balls, set hard screens, and boxes out whether he’s 7’1 or 5’9.

Toughness is someone willing to risk anything to win whether that’s giving up points to get others involved or sitting on the bench, supporting your teammates. The first one in the gym and the last one to leave, are you that dedicated?

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

But toughness is not just a physical thing, it has it’s mental attributes as well. A player that attains mental toughness is in a different realm of elite players. Mental toughness is communicating on both sides of the ball, studying film, and knowing every position’s job of each play. Being a leader, not a follower. Taking accountability whether you do right or do wrong.

All coaches want tough players because they have the will to win. It takes a different type of desire and dedication to be great, that’s why very few are. Well all have dreams and we all have goals but are you willing to act on them?

Next time you go out on the court, keep these things in mind. Anyone can act tough but when you work hard, sacrifice, and dedicate yourself, true toughness is revealed…


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