Pickup Basketball Personality Types—And How To Handle Them

AdamContributor IDecember 31, 2008

Usually, wherever you live there’s going to be some sort of basketball court. Whether it’s at a recreational center, the local park, your driveway, you’ll find somewhere to play.


For the most part, long days spent sweating gallons trying to show off your skills on the court are fun filled and enjoyable. As you probably already know, you’ll meet some, well, interesting people on the court.

You don’t really know how to describe some of these so-called athletes, which is why I’ve come up with a new classification system.


Now, this system will contain three types of players you’ll find in a pickup game, how they act, and how to handle them. Please don’t feel offended if you fall under one of these categories, but it’ll probably more funny then upsetting if you do.



Superstar, Ball Hog, AKA the “I Can Win by Myself” Player


This semi-talented athlete is probably shooting every single time he comes close to the basket.


After a miss or a bricked-layup, they’ll complain about the foul they should have called but decided not to because they don’t want to seem like a baby (believe me, they’ll give you some absurd reason why they didn’t call it).


On a fast-break, this player will make an effort to complete a fancy pass, but fail blatantly and throw the ball no where near his target. He’ll then make a crazy excuse and either say:


A) My hands are too sweaty.


B) You weren’t in the right spot and it’s your fault.


After making one of these excuses, he’ll vent by muttering something wrong and hurtful about his teammates under his breath.



How Do I Handle This Type of Player?


At first, ignore him and see if he keeps talking. Eventually, he might realize everyone on the team is turning on him and begin to pass the ball.


Another way can be confronting him, which means you’d have to speak up for your teammates, and tell him to pass the ball or he won’t get it anymore.


Option three is my personal favorite, which is to just stop passing him the ball completely. No matter how much he begs and promises he’ll start to pass the ball, ignore him. Hopefully, he’ll end up leaving and you can actually have a decent game.



The “I’m Not Bad, but Not Good” Player


When someone gives you this old line its pretty much means they’ve never had any real basketball experience.


When someone without any legit knowledge of the game steps on the court, it’s extremely easy to recognize them. They’ll probably be wearing some type of NBA Jersey, thinking it looks cool but really making the other players stare awkwardly.


They won’t yell, probably won’t demand the ball, so they're usually not the biggest nuisances.



How Do I Handle This Type of Player?


Before or during the game, whenever you begin to realize his/her lack of basketball IQ, try to make up some fake game-plan and give them a specific role on the team. You need to make them feel as important as possible, so they don’t think they need to be the number one scorer.


You can possibly tell them that he/she is your team’s big rebounder and they need to come up big on the boards, or how their a great defender and that they’ll need a couple of steals in order for your team to come out with a victory.


If you don’t acknowledge them, they’ll feel unwanted and unneeded, so whenever they touch the ball they’ll try to come up with a big play and take a wild shot.




The Trash-Talking, Demanding, Point Guard-No-Matter-How-Big Player


This type of players is probably the hardest to deal with.


Instead of describing this type of player, I’ll give you an example of a pickup game I played in two weeks ago.


I was picked up by some college kid who looked like he’d been sniffing the sanitizing spray in the bathroom. Let’s call him Steve.


Even though Steve was 6’2 or 6’3, he’d have to bring the ball up each time our opponents scored. He wasn’t too much of a ball hog, but this kid thought he was our coach.


Steve ordered everyone around, telling them what to do, where to stand, what shots to take, etc. These players are pretty easy to recognize, they usually talk in some sort of slang, and over-using foul language.



How Do I Handle This Type of Player?


During the game, in the midst of all the chaos, Steve started messing with a 14-year-old kid on our team. Now, usually a kid that young would take it and just let it go, but this kid got right back at him and threatened to hit him.


Steve shut up and didn’t say another word for the rest of the game. You can’t back down against court bullies like this; if you stick up for yourself they might have enough sense in them to not say anything else, just like Steve did.


I’m not saying threaten to punch him the throat, just say enough to back him off.


There isn’t a real possible way to avoid these players, but if you follow exactly what I said and notice which type of player you’re dealing with early on, you might be able to avoid them.


Now get off your couch, get away from your computer desk, and go play some basketball.