Teamwork & Grit
BASKETBALL & EDUCATION
Basketball is a remarkable fluid sport that prioritizes teamwork, effort, coordination, and hustle. The game is like a symphony needing each player to contribute his component to make the team better. Simultaneously, every individual player needs to be giving their entire effort for the team to succeed. Contrary to popular opinion, it isn’t only the tallest, or most athletically gifted individuals that succeed, but those that can lay everything on the line for the success of the team. Sprinting, endurance, hand-eye coordination, and intellectual awareness are all necessary parts of playing basketball well.
History of Basketball
Inventor & YMCA
Choosing a Name
First Game Score
Naismith Ball vs Basketball
In early December 1891, the Canadian James Naismith, a physical education instructor at the International Young Men's Christian Association Training School (YMCA) in Massachusetts, was trying to keep his gym class active during a rainy day. Naismith sought a vigorous indoor game to keep his students entertained and at a proper fitness level during a long New England winter. After rejecting other ideas Naismith wrote the basic rules and nailed a peach basket onto a 10-foot elevated track.
Frank Mahan, one of the original players who played in the first game, approached Naismith after the Christmas season, in 1892, asking him what he intended to call the new game. Naismith response stated that he hadn't thought of it because he had been focused on getting the game started. Mahan made a suggestion, that the game be called "Naismith ball," at which he laughed. Naismith said that a name like that would kill any game before it ever got started. Mahan then said, "Why not call it basketball?" Naismith replied, "We have a basket and a ball, and it seems to me that would be a good name for it.” The first official basketball game was played in the YMCA gymnasium in Albany, New York, on January 20, 1892, with nine players. The game ended at 1–0; the shot was made from 25 feet on a court just half the size of a present-day Streetball or National Basketball Association (NBA) court.
Health Benefits - Basketball players need to be able to combine the best elements of speed, strength, and endurance. Quick lateral side to side movements improves hand-eye coordination and footwork. There are four quarters to a game, and very few timeouts, so players need to be able to have the cardiovascular endurance to persevere.
Discipline & Growth - The rhythm of a basketball game imitates life. Dizzying periods are running up and down till you feel like your lungs are going to explode. Then there are entire possessions where you work for a minute or two just trying to find the best shot for your team. Players have to grow in their ability to interpret what defenses are giving them and take advantage of the best opportunities to score. Poor decisions can cost your whole team, while patience and right decisions can yield great success.
Work Ethic - Basketball is a game of managing failure. Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player ever, mentioned that he has “missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed” You are going to miss more shots than you make in a game, and so is the rest of your team. Unless you as a team are prepared for that adversity when it comes, it will overwhelm. On the other hand, if you can learn to use failure as an opportunity to grow it can be a tremendous tool.
Teamwork - Hall of Fame Coach Larry Brown once said: “All the successful teams I’ve ever seen have three characteristics: They play unselfish, they play together, and they play hard.“ Five guys are working together out of one mind. Five guys are anticipating reactions and reading each other. People speak of a “basketball IQ” but what that boils down to is how good of a teammate are you? Are you willing to miss a moment of individual glory/brilliance for the sake of your teammate getting a better chance? Are you willing to do the grunt-work of grabbing loose balls and encouraging teammates when they struggle? Those are what make basketball both unique and a great team sport.
Physical Strength - Basketball players need to be tough and strong to succeed, but it isn’t the brute strength that other sports require. It is a disciplined strength. A player needs to know how to use their physical strength in ways that are helpful but not reckless, like fouling the other team. They need to be fast, but also need to know when to slow down and set up an offense. They need to hustle to press other teams on defense, but also when to catch their breath.
Mental Strength - Basketball, like so many other sports, boils down to the establishment of practice fundamentals. If you can do the simple things well (dribble, footwork, spacing, defense, hustle) than you can succeed at a high level. There is a certain sense of monotony of running the same play over and over, but it is in that discipline of practice that true mental strength is derived. Players will begin to see the long-term benefits of their mental toughness, only after practicing at length as a team.