If you're like me, football season is over for your respectable team and basketball season is just beginning. Yes, watching basketball on TV is great, but basketball is a sport that anyone can play at any time and is fairly easy to find in the community. I have a local community center that has a gym and people that are constantly playing the game. For everyone else, just find a gym. Gym rats are prevalent. Find a few friends that like to play ball and take yourselves down to the gym. It's great exercise and a great way to take out some aggression and competitiveness on some friends or some punks that you just want to beat up on. That being said, there are some unspoken rules that are applied to pick up basketball. If you are planning on playing (which you should be), here are some things to keep in mind..
1. Call "Next"- If you end up playing in a place with a lot of washed up basketball players like I do, calling next and sticking up for yourself is huge (especially if you don't know anyone in the gym). Call "next" and make sure everyone hears you. If they don't they'll proceed playing and you'll never get on the court. Never let anyone "run it back". If you're next, then make sure you play the next game with your chosen squad.
2. Bring people you know- Sometimes it's hard to pick a team at the local gym if you're a newbie. Basketball players are very cliquish, so it would be best to bring a group of friends that you can play with so you don't have to go through the rigors of choosing a team. Choosing players you don't know can result in a first game loss and you'll find yourself waiting to play games more than you actually play. Bring a squad that you can win with, and you'll never leave the floor.
3. Play smart basketball- A lot pick up basketball players are scrubs. If they aren't scrubs, they're usually selfish because they are playing on a platform that allows them to be that way. Many good basketball players throw all of the discipline and fundamentals they know out the window because they are playing in a pick-up atmosphere. If your squad plays with discipline, you will find yourself winning a lot of games and not leaving the floor.
4. Don't get in fights- It can be frustrating playing with gym rats that don't always understand the rules of basketball. If there are any conflicts during the game, it's usually best to give the other team the ball and laugh it off. Just play good defense and get the ball back. It's like they say, "the ball doesn't lie". You'll usually get a rebound and end up scoring on the other end. The basketball gods are always watching.
5. Don't be lazy: MOVE MOVE MOVE- Sure, pick-up is a lot fun and is a great way to kill a Saturday afternoon, but use it to your advantage! Get some exercise while you're playing the game. A lot pick-up players are lazy and you can get a lot of baskets and defensive stops by simply running. Not only will it help you win some games, but it's also good for you. Play to get in shape. It sure as hell beats working out in the gym.
Pick-up basketball is will never remove itself from our society. It's one game that will always be there and always be competitive. If you can find some friends and a gym to play some ball, DO IT. If you get the chance to play, use these five tips to help yourself stay on the floor. It'll help you stay in shape without having to run on the treadmill and lift those weights!
Boy Meets Sports