Sins of the Recreational Ball Player (1st in a series)
Posted by Steve Bzomowski on May 3, 2012
I’ve played a lot of pickup ball. And I’ve watched a lot of recreational level players play in the Never Too Late Basketball clinics and camps over the past twenty years. I like to think of myself as a tolerant person, one who can accept a mistake or an occasional lapse in judgment (though I’m guessing there are those who might disagree). Still, there are certain transgressions that occur on a regular basis on a basketball court during recreational level play that I simply cannot abide. To me they are sins (Definition: an immoral act against the divine laws of basketball). I’m quite certain the basketball gods (don’t ask me to prove the existence of the basketball gods because if you ask me to prove the existence of the basketball gods then you are saying you have not ever played or paid attention to the game) are on my side. Here’s sin number one:
Not Running the Floor
Basketball is a running game. James Naismith said that. And if he didn’t, he should have. If you play the game, please run the floor. It’s one of the things that you must do to keep your basketball soul pure. I mean, why are you out there? Partly, one would assume, to get in better shape (or stay in shape or some shape thing). Then run the floor. Not running the floor doesn’t help you get better wind or build muscle or do anything. Too tired? Sub out.
What does “running the floor” mean? A teammate steals the ball, chased by a defender, you run hard to trail the play. Ever see anyone miss a layup? Pros miss layups. You are not playing with pros. Your teammate misses, you put it back. Teammate is relieved; you can strut. Opponent steals the ball (or gets ahead); you run the floor. Ever see the other team miss a layup? You don’t run and they miss? They rebound and score. They miss? You rebound and turn up court, marking you as someone who knows how to play the game.
Run the floor to turn a 2-on-2 into a 3-on-2 for your team. All you have to do is outrun the defender who is loping along next to you. Usually a matter of 3 or 4 hard sprinting strides. Sprint to turn their 2-on-1 into a 2-on-2. What you’ve done there is a numerical windfall; you’ve busted them up. They’re not scoring now.
And what happens when you run, run hard, to turn a 2-on-2 into a 3-on-2 but the defender next to you sprints, too? Well, too bad, in a way, but good, too, because now you’ve got competition, motivation – a game!. And suddenly, through some simple effort and respect for the game, it becomes a game that’s worth playing. And you, a basketball soul worth saving.