Tuesday, March 10, 2015

First Brush with Community Basketball

We didn't sign up for community basketball this year because it was the "learn to play" format where a bunch of kids practice in a gym one night a week for like 6 months for about $250. We decided instead to do church-run Biddy-Ball for 2 months for free, since it was about the same thing and both kids could attend. However, we know a guy who pretty much runs community basketball and he has a Tuesday-night learn to play group that was wrapping up. He offered to let Scott come out and benchmark his skills to figure out if he was ready to play 1 year above his age level to be on a legit team next year. We were told to show up 10 minutes early with a t-shirt, shorts & shoes.

Scott didn't want to wear his old shoes (with grip) because his new ones are cooler. They are no-name skater hightops that he wears outside to school. He was so excited when he first got them that he wore them around the house for a week until the snow melted and he could wear them outside.

After a few minutes of shooting around, practice started with wind sprints. Scott lined up on the end line with everyone else, and then tried to figure out what they were doing. Everyone touched a spot on the foul line, so he ran over to touch the same spot, which was out of his way and put him a bit behind the pack. When turning around at the end line, his "cool" shoes were quite slippery and he fell further behind. However, he quickly caught on to the idea that you just have to touch the lines (or slide over them), and not a specific spot on the floor, so he made up the distance, eventually catching up to the front pack.

You could tell it was a bit awkward at times because he didn't know what was going on. A stray ball got him in the back during a dribbling drill and he projected all the awkwardness onto the "injury", resulting in tears. He eventually got over it.

Sharks & Minnows. They called the parents up to be part of the game. I caused a collision that sent some poor lady crashing to the floor. Whoops.

Scrimmage at the end. Scott scored, which was nice. He likes to pass the ball, which works against you in the world where dribble-and-shoot is the dominant strategy. When he subbed off I reminded him of the advice I had given him before: There are some kids on your team who are going to shoot EVERY time they get the ball. If you see one of those kids get the ball, stop calling for a pass and just get under the hoop for a rebound. The time he scored he scooped up someone's air-ball shot that ended up being sort of a sweet pass to him under the net.

After the scrimmage there was another game with the kids against the parents. No subs. So it was like 16 on 16. Madness. What I thought was strange was that the parents were so aggressive on defense. They intercepted every pass and even stole the ball away from kids while they were holding it. I am not to blame, because I only played offense. The first time we got the ball I ran down the court and took a pass for the lefty dunk (parents could not dribble and had to shoot with weak hand). I actually missed the first attempt -- the tiny little ball flew out of my hand as I tried to figure out how to cradle it lefty. I nailed it on the second attempt, with Scott hanging from my shirt-tail.

They handed out rice krispie squares at the end and Scott got to keep his ball. He left very happy, and anxious to come back next year and play on a team. I may or may not end up being his coach. It depends whether we are ready to commit to be there EVERY week, given that we are also heading into our first year of weekly Cub Scouts.

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