A big part of being a great competitor is handling the emotions that go along with competing. The intensity of competition can make that very difficult, but great competitors have the ability to move on to the next most important thing – the next play – regardless of what just happened.

If you are constantly arguing over foul calls or complaining about something, you aren’t showing that you are a great competitor. You are actually showing the opposite. The guys who spend most of practice locked in a conversation/argument with the guy they are guarding about who is fouling who, or who spend extra time on the floor when they get knocked down to let everyone know they think they got fouled – those guys aren’t great competitors. They are hurting their team.

We often excuse bad behavior by saying someone is just really competitive, and I hate that. Somebody who is arguing over calls or whining because they’re getting fouled isn’t showing his competitive side. He’s showing an immaturity that is hard to win with.

I can’t stand the guy who takes the ball to the hole, ends up on the ground, and takes his time getting up and jogging back because he thought there should have been a whistle. Making it clear to everyone that you think you got fouled, and therefore you aren’t going to hustle back into the play is a sign of your own personal weakness. It’s not a sign of a competitive edge.

Practice and games are intense and emotional. Obviously at times we are all going to get upset. But fighting for calls or showing your displeasure in another way that affects your ability to move on to the next play isn’t showing me how much you want to win. It’s showing me I can’t win with you.

Stop whining. Stop arguing over whether something was a foul or not. Stop bitching to the assistant coaches in practice. And stop with the drama every time you go to the rim, trying to show the world that you feel that you got hit. First of all, it’s annoying as hell to be around. No one likes it. And secondly, it’s likely hurting your team and your actual ability to compete in some way. Great competitors, kids that you can win with – they aren’t doing that.

Handling the emotion that comes with competition is a big part of being a great competitor. Bitching about the stuff that you can’t control doesn’t make you a great competitor. Great competitors fight through the tough stuff – right or wrong – and move on to the next play.

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