The dictionary definition of a hog is "one that uses too much of something." Translating that into sports terms, a ball hog is "one that uses too much of the ball." Or in simpler terms, "does not pass."
One of the hardest situations to deal with when coaching a player is convincing that player that he is one of many on a team. At no age should one person ever dominate a game to the point that he eliminates the involvement of his teammates, whether he can score every time or not.
Players of all ages know when a player is hogging the ball, and they never like it. If you ask a player if he would rather never touch the ball and win, or take shots, make passes and lose, most would honestly tell you they would rather feel like part of the team in a losing effort instead of knowing they had nothing to do with a win.
The dictionary definition of share is "to partake equally." Translated in sports terms it means "pass the ball." So, how do you get one who uses too much of something to partake equally? How do you get a ball hog to pass the ball?
Talking with the player might help. However, you will find it is very difficult to explain to a young player, especially a talented one, why he should not get the ball, shoot, and score every time down the court. After all, isn't scoring the purpose of the game?
Try changing his position or role in the game. Position selfish players so they can participate in meaningful, but not dominating, roles. In soccer or hockey, play the dominating scorer on defense or in goal. In basketball, let a variety of players bring the ball up the court. There is always a position for a player in every sport to keep him from hogging the ball or dominating play.
Sometimes that position is next to the coach on the bench. If neither of the previous suggestions work, time on the bench is often the best way to get across the message you don't want one player doing everything.
Remember, youth sports should be a positive learning experience for everyone regardless of ability level. Therefore, simply put, the sports definition of a ball hog is "unacceptable."
Jon Buzby's columns appear in newspapers and magazines around the country as well as numerous websites. Email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jonbuzby.