I’m not a big fan of fake hustle. Fake hustle is really taking the easy way out – making it look you are doing something to help the team, when you are really taking a play off or catching your breath.
There are a lot of ways to show fake hustle on the basketball court. Ultimately you aren’t hustling or making an extra effort, you are putting your team in a bad spot.
Running through a passing lane – Diving through a passing lane to make it look like you are trying hard defensively might be the most popular form of fake hustle. Great defenders don’t take themselves out of the play. Running through a lane and getting out of position isn’t a hustle play – it’s a soft play.
Swipe and fly-by in transition – Soft players love to fly-by and take themselves out of the play. Getting back ahead of the ball in transition, and getting your body in front of it, is a tough play. Running past the ball and swinging at it almost always ends up with an uncontested lay-up. This is another example of “I almost got a steal – I really tried.” It’s a false effort that puts your team at a disadvantage.
Hanging on a screen – Tough players don’t get screened. Tough teams don’t get screened. Players that find screens to run into are generally soft players looking to take a play off. They make it obvious that they ran into the screen, trying to make it look like there was nothing more they could do. Soft players look at a screen as an excuse to take a play off.
Run and jump in transition – Running up on the ball and trying to get a steal in transition is a low-percentage play that puts your team in a bad spot. You’ll see a lot of players do it – rather than sprint ahead of the ball and find someone to guard, they’ll take the easy way out and run up on the ball to try and get a steal.
Crowding the rebounder – Once your opponent gets the ball, it takes great discipline to immediately sprint back in transition. It’s easy to stay up on the rebounder and make it look like you are making it hard for them. In reality all they have to do is pitch it out of the trap and now they’ve got an advantage break. Another example of making it look like your trying to help when you are really just catching your breath.
Digging down into the post – It takes discipline to stay home when the ball goes into the post. It’s easy to float towards the ball and try and get a steal. Digging down when you aren’t supposed to puts your team in a bad spot – another example of making it look like you are trying to help when you are putting your team at a disadvantage.
If you find yourself making these plays in games, I’ve got bad news for you. You aren’t hustling to help your team. You are putting your team in a bad spot by taking the easy way out, and making it look like you are trying to hustle. These are plays that soft players make.