What is a Ball Hog?

A football player who actively seeks to get sole possession of the ball might be considered a ball hog.
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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 July 2014
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There are a number of team sports, such as basketball or football, which rely heavily on true team play, as opposed to a few players working as individual scorers. A player who routinely seeks out sole possession of the game ball, even to the exclusion of other teammates, is known in the sports world as a ball hog, and it is not unusual for coaches or other players to use that description whenever it applies.

A ball hog may be an exceptionally talented player, but when playing team sports the emphasis tends to be on the execution of a carefully planned play, not the glorification of a single player. An ambitious player may choose to be a ball hog because he or she doesn't trust other teammates to execute their part of the play, or else believe the best way to score is to take control and work independently.

Many coaches and trainers work diligently during practice to break a ball hog of the habit, but some players may not even be aware of their ball hogging tendencies. A ball hog tends to prefer offensive positions with more opportunities to score points, so he or she may feel entitled to maintain control over the ball even when a passing opportunity presents itself. It can be very difficult for a ball hog to give up possession of the ball unless there are few other options.


There are times when being a ball hog can hurt the entire team's ability to defend itself or get into a scoring position. The opposing team often targets the players who seem to handle the ball most often, so a ball hog essentially draws a target on his or her uniform while selfishly holding onto the ball. A ball hog during a basketball game, for instance, might miss an opportunity to pass to an open player for an easy score. Instead, he or she may find themselves trapped between two defenders with no opportunity to shoot.

Being an unrepentant ball hog can also hurt the team's overall morale, as other players soon learn it is futile to expect an aggressive player to ever pass the ball or allow other teammates to make a scoring play. A ball hog may rack up impressive individual scoring numbers during a season, but this type of personal success does not always sit well with coaches, teammates and fans.


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