Basketball – the fast-paced team sport you love to watch, play, and talk about.  The sport has come a long way since James Naismith nailed a peach basket to the wall in order to give his restless students something vigorous to do on a rainy day in 1891. The sport has evolved from the peach basket to the backboard, net, and hoop we use today.  Basketball is now everywhere across the globe in many forms:

  • Professional Basketball (NBA, FIBA, Olympics)
  • Semi-Pro  (ABA)
  • High-school and College Basketball
  • Disabled Basketball (IWBF)
  • Prison Basketball
  • Show Basketball
  • Pickup Basketball

Bringing it down to you and your sphere – pickup basketball is most likely where you are at.  It doesn’t require you to join any organizations, no long term obligations, and you can create a game on your own terms.

Where Do You Start?

So how is it done?  How do you go from shooting hoops in your driveway to playing for real with teammates, opponents, and the feeling of sweet victory (or agony of defeat)? A good start is to go where the action is.  You can ride the bench and watch some of the games at a park, gym, or fitness center.  Being a spectator is ok, for a while.  You can get to know some of the regulars, watch the game in action, and learn some of the unwritten rules.  Take some of these ideas back to your driveway and get your boys together for some no-pressure games.

When You’re Ready, Be Bold and Ask For a Game

Once you’ve beaten all your buddies and they don’t wanna play with you anymore, you might be ready for the next level.  Go back to the courts where you rode the pine.  Hopefully, you’ve met a few of the regulars, and feel confident you can at least provide some competition.

Ways to get in a game:

  • Look for a time when they are short on player – step up
  • Ask one of your acquaintances “Hey man can I play?”
  • Bring some of your boys and play like you did in your driveway – eventually you may get invitations to play as a team
  • Use the UBALLN app to find a nearby pickup game that suits your skill level

You’re in a Game – Now What?

First, know your limitations.  Stay in your lane for now. Great at inside shots?  Stay near the net and take small risks. The more those risks payoff, the better your game.  Second, don’t use this game to practice your 3-pointer.  Save that for when you aren’t in the game. Stick to what you know. Finally, call your own fouls.  No one will call them for you, but don’t be a flopper.  Remember, slight bumping is not necessarily a foul, so don’t be the guy calling foul all the time.  If it’s a true foul, the opponent should own up.  But if not, don’t lose your head.  Adjust your game and move on.

Trash Talk – Should I Do It?

The answer is simple, trash talk is not just allowed, it’s expected.  Miss a few shots or passes?  You’re gonna hear about it from your own team or the other. But don’t just take it, dish it out as well.  But keep it civil, don’t make it personal.  At the end of the day, none of it should be taken to heart.  After all, it is just a game.

Don’t Be a Hog

If you’re draining all your shots, your team might be ok with you having the ball all the time, but be mindful that others want the rock.  Be generous. Be the person who makes everyone around you better.  Make up for being a ball hog with good defense, blocking and rebounding.

Good luck! The UBALLN team is here to help. Reach out here or on our Instagram page.