"Fierce fun" "be fierce": phrases that have stuck in my head since my very first session with Tina Gordon (SDS and Basketball Scotland coach), and a skill that I have found quite challenging and to balance in my game.
Fierceness is a mindset, it's a state of mind that brings a psychological barrier up in your head, overpowering nerves and self-doubt to have a single tunnel vision on getting your 'focus face' on.
It's a state of mind that makes you never give up, it makes you want to achieve your best every time, pushing your limits and boundaries while still enjoying the game and having fun!
The difference between fierceness and aggression is that aggression makes you make mistakes, it means you take unsafe risks that result in fouls or make poor decisions that are unskillful due to having a sole focus that overtakes your mindset of rational thought and decision making.
I've seen aggressive players on court, genuinely they are in it purely for the win and usually from a selfish point of view that powers their aggressiveness to not play with their team mates but as a single man game creating weaknesses within their team.
I think that fierceness is taking pride in your game, using your team mates and being humble in both your strengths and weaknesses while not showing face to your opposition. Being Scottish I have definitely been brought up with a strong sense of pride even when times are tough and hard, which I believe is where the Scots are renowned for this 'never give up' attitude, the strong characteristics of battling to the end regardless, which is where I can see how Scottish players in most sports are able to or should be educated in how to adjust into the 'fierce face' 'fierce fun' mask in our play.
When I play 'fierce' I want people to see me as a player not to be messed with, one that they will have to play 100% until the end because they know I'll never give up or give in, someone they can't take their eyes off because they are uneasy about what's going to happen next and someone that they can't mentally put off, as if coming across a brick wall.
Fierceness is about the mask you put on, unlike aggression where I believe the aggression is in the person and part of their characteristics I believe that fierceness is a mask that can be put on and taken off before and after games, where you as a player have to get into a mindset and get your head in the game through your own pre-game methods. Equally off court I think the fierceness is really shown because it gets taken away and you can be known for the person you are as an individual, showing your strength, focus and determination as a player.
I believe that fierceness is a forming of a barrier surrounding a player's head, holding in all the player's emotion and thoughts to give a blank mask of fierceness allowing accurate decision-making and skills to still be used through the mask of fierceness, whereas I think aggression is developed from the core of a player's head making it overpower decision-making and skill as the aggression will always come first and travel though any decisions the player makes, making the core of all decisions based on aggression as opposed to the player's decisions being made through the mask of fierce fun.
Fierceness is putting on a mask, a mask that never ever gives up, a mask that always gives 100% until the very end, a mask that cannot be read by other players, a mask that makes the player unpredictable and a mask that is always having focused fun on their ultimate goal.