Posts Tagged ‘youth basketball’

I’ve always been a fan of All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum because of the simplicity of his insights. Part of what he says is that it is never too late to start learning what we should have learned in kindergarten!

This last Saturday, I spent part of the day going to two basketball games: Carter (6) played at 9:00 in a league tournament, and Kellan (8) played his final season game against a team that had not lost in two years—according to him!

Youth basketball has some different rules which help the kids not only enjoy playing more, but gives them a chance to learn parts of the game that they otherwise might be tempted to ignore or leap over for the sake of a quick win, but at the expense of developing proper techniques and skills.

I was just thinking this morning that we could all learn something from youth basketball’s adaptation of the these rules.

  1. Youth players must pass at least once before anyone on the team attempts a shot. I’m sure the intent is to keep one dominant player from “hotdogging,” that is, taking the ball from one end of the court to the other and not using the other team members. For us grownup players, however, it is a good reminder that team play is a better strategy. A player who won’t pass the ball thinks too highly of himself.
  2. No more than one defensive player is allowed to guard the opponent with the ball. There is no worse feeling than being outnumbered and surrounded by opponents! That threatening sense of impending loss that makes your stomach churn when called to account before a panel or when two or three scowling colleagues enter your office at the same time—our experiences are bad if cornered!  Few people survive being ganged up on without feeling the need to fight back—fairly or unfairly!
  3. Defensive players may not guard the offensive players as long as the ball is in the backcourt. For young players who don’t dribble well, who can’t run and dribble at the same time, they need a chance to get started before they face the opposition, so this rule awards them half the court without interference. Young people, young Christians, young marrieds, young students, young employees often need the same kind of gracious allowance. Give them a chance to learn to run and dribble at the same time.
  4. Referees are not required to blow the whistle on every foul or penalty. Especially in the six-year-old league, the boys sometimes run five or six steps with the ball before they dribble; they start and stop their dribble, they commit backcourt violations—just all kinds of rules are flagrantly broken—most to which the boys are quite oblivious!  The referees see the violations, but they do not call them every time; in fact, really only the most flagrant violations get the whistle.

This drives the parents crazy! The parents are screaming “double dribble,” three-second violation,” “illegal screen,” – I haven’t heard “goaltending” yet, but almost everything else. The referees who graciously overlook the violations of the kids have to put up with parents who did not learn anything in kindergarten, I’m afraid!!


So, I spent a couple of hours with the grandkids and learned to be gracious, to pass the ball and be a team player, but not to gang up on people and not to blow the whistle every time someone commits an offense.

Even granddads can be schooled!

By the way, Carter lost his game pretty badly, but afterwards he really didn’t even remember the score. Kellan’s team beat the previously undefeated team with a long shot in the last ten seconds of the game.

They both got trophies!


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