Way too many basketball players underestimate the power of hustling and being in top physical condition. It seems like a no-brainer but that's not the case at all. It's usually the more talented and skilled players that overlook this important aspect of the game too.
What happens is these players get use to dominating their peers at a young age and because they didn't condition a lot then they have this idea in the back of their mind that it's over-rated.
They eventually get to a level (usually High School or College) where they are matched up with equally skilled players and they get their lunch eaten because they have never had a true belief in getting their bodies in top physical condition. Don't ever let this happen to you.
The fact of the matter is, whatever level of play you are at, you need to understand the importance of hustling and conditioning.
It has a gigantic impact on your level of play and it especially has a lot to do with your ability to score points. I don't care 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.
Why You Will Score More Points
Hustling 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. I know some players that are obsessed about scoring points so they try and preserve their energy while on defense so they can be explosive on offense. This is not only against everything the game of basketball is about, it's flat out stupid.
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. And we haven't even talked about loose balls. It's the scrappy hustle players that always get the loose balls and those almost always turn out to be transition scoring opportunities. You can easily add 6-10 more points to your scoring average by hustling because of the added scoring opportunities you'll be presented with.
Then there's the common sense factor. If you are in better condition you are going to perform better on the court. It's a given. 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 not be able to score on their opponents simply because they are too tired to make their move.
Don't be the player that thinks your talent and skill can carry you all the way to the top. If you ever start to think that it's only about how well you can shoot or dribble go research how much the Harlem Globetrotters get paid vs. players in the NBA and then breakdown the difference in their game.
How Bad Do You Want It?
Hustling and conditioning go hand in hand because you can't hustle for very long if you aren't in really good condition. It doesn't take special skill or natural born talent to hustle. It takes sheer will and determination. It takes the type of self-discipline that guys like US Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps has. He isn't known for having some secret talent that not very many other swimmers have. He is known as a man who works his guts out and wants to be a winner more than one could possibly imagine.
Do yourself a favor and take a lesson from his book. 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 and you'll be presented with a lot more scoring opportunities than you ever have.