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Basketball and Jesus

A church sports program can be helpful in building Godly character traits in the players.

church, sports, basketball, Chrisitanity

Our church has an organized basketball program managed and coached by Doug White (not to be confused by our pastor who also has the same name). Recently, I asked Doug why he was so passionate about the sport of basketball, and what does basketball have to do with Christianity. I thought his philosophy may be helpful to others who desire to build a church sports program. He expounded that organized basketball can be a great Christian training ground. Doug believed it starts with the right goal in mind: building up believers for their Christian walk. Coach White adheres to the following eight principles:

1. The program leader and coaches must remember the program goal in every activity they undertake. The core to a successful basketball program is conditioning and fundamentals. Those are two things most kids will like the least because they’re infected by television sports; where the focus is on the individual player to look as good as possible. By focusing on conditioning and fundamentals, coaches can begin to wean their kids off of the glory-seeking mentality inherent in today’s professional sports and develop a TEAM.

2. Every practice must begin and end with a prayer and those prayers should be led by players as soon as possible. The last 15 minutes of every practice should be a Bible study lesson where the players MUST bring a lesson or verse and be prepared to give its meaning and an application to basketball or their daily lives. Every player is required to have their Bible in hand and a lesson written down inside.

3. The Bible study lesson will be one of the most emotionally challenging tasks the players will face. Not only do they have to read and understand, but they also have to speak in front of their peers. To demonstrate how simple the task really is, Coach White will lead the first 2 or 3 by turning to a chapter in Proverbs. Proverbs is an easy book to use because it’s built around life lessons. The challenges faced on the court boil down to challenges in life: anger management
, cooperation, physical effort, pain, disappointment, and joy. The requirement to have a lesson on a piece of paper can be answered simply by writing a Proverb on a piece of paper with the point the player is trying to make. Those without a Bible or lesson earn a martyr (what the secular world calls a “suicide”) for each infraction. The penalized player will run while we prepare the lesson.

4. Coaches need to remind their players that all the heavy conditioning will be lifelong examples the players can use when basketball becomes just a fond memory. Working hard and hammering their bodies into fit vessels will make their brains more alert and able to accomplish seemingly impossible physical tasks for years into the future. And if some of the players actually choose to become missionaries, their physical training will form a great basis to endure the hardships in third world countries.

5. To successfully reach the primary goal of improving our Christian walk, basketball games become framed in the context of physical contests and opportunities to demonstrate a Christ-like attitude. Christian players do NOT challenge or complain about a referee’s call. The Christian player appreciates the referee’s difficult position of managing chaos and understands the thankless job they’ve undertaken. Complaining about a call, rolling their eyes, or hot-dogging earns them an immediate spot on the bench where they can see the cost to their teammates of their absence.

6. The other team is not “the enemy” but are brothers that challenge us. If the other team is secular, then we become a team of witnesses of how Jesus would behave and how He makes us different. The goal as a Christian team is put out an effort level Jesus would be pleased with, and an attitude that makes fans and players both wonder how it can be in today’s world. As Christians playing basketball, we should be victorious whether we’re winning or losing the game.

7. When the game is over, win or lose, the players must understand that God is in control. God is a “details kind of guy” who has numbered the cattle on a thousand hills, so he knows exactly what went on during the game. And He watches what happens AFTER the game. Win or lose, the Christian team is the envy of every fan and every coach because of how they behave AND how they play. As the coach for a Christian team, you model that same attitude. No team is ever “blown out” by your team, no matter how poor their skills. Every team gets the same level of respect you want for your team -- even if that means you put a lid on your best players, denying them the opportunity to score at will. We still play hard and give our best effort, but we can always stop short of running up the score.

8. The real measure of success for the coach isn’t the won-loss record, but the activities his players become involved in once basketball is over. A successful coach will have successful PEOPLE graduating from his program, and they, in turn, can positively affect the people they come in contact with as they go through life.

Coach White's basketball link can be found at www.ebiblechurch.net.

 

Basketball Entertains Urban Residents

In some urban areas it is quite difficult for children to find activities that will keep them out of trouble. There are many organizations though that focus on keeping kids in urban areas busy by allowing them to play on basketball courts at their youth centers. While this type of basketball will entertain certain urban residents, it will also give parents a fighting chance to raise children up the right way and not have to worry about them ending up in jail one day.

Baske...

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In some urban areas it is quite difficult for children to find activities that will keep them out of trouble. There are many organizations though that focus on keeping kids in urban areas busy by allowing them to play on basketball courts at their youth centers. While this type of basketball will entertain certain urban residents, it will also give parents a fighting chance to raise children up the right way and not have to worry about them ending up in jail one day.

Basketball games can be organized in neighborhoods all around America just to give children an outlet for their excess energies. Basketball games are quite acceptable forms of entertainment for children that have too much time on their hands. Some parents do not arrive home from work until well after dark, and the children choose to play basketball with their friends because the games are out in the open and give the kids a good opportunity to stay out of trouble.

Some older males in the neighborhood might even offer to coach a youth basketball team because they know how important it is to keep kids active in the afternoons. With a little inspiration and the right guidance on how to play the game, there is a good chance that one or two basketball players might get interested enough in the game to pursue it as a professional career.

Some local libraries have pitched in to help train children in urban areas to play basketball. They will maintain a good supply of rules books for basketball and have plenty of interesting books that kids can read to find out about basketball teams that are part of the National Basketball Association. Some of the books might be autobiographies about basketball players that are considered to be legends by fans all over the world and the words inside those books might inspire the children to take a different path in life.

After some of these kids learn that they can earn large salaries by playing basketball they might need extra time during the day to devote to playing basketball. A parent will be closer than ever before to a guarantee that their child is not going to be exposed to any type of trouble or unsavory characters while active on the basketball court. With the adult supervision being offered by the coaches, a parent can relax and take care of things that they are supposed to take care of.

A parent does not have to be worried anymore about what their child is doing when they are not playing basketball. The action of the game will consume all of their extra energies and they will not have any strength left to get into any type of trouble. Some urban kids will work hard to achieve their goal as a professional basketball player and will study hard to learn all the techniques that will help them succeed in life. When they are given the opportunity to rest on the sidelines, parents can be assured that resting is all that will be done.

 

Basketball Lay-up Fundamentals

The lay-up is the most basic shot in basketball. Unfortunately, it does not get a lot of attention when people work on improving their overall game. In a time now where fundamentals are slowly being forgotten and replaced with fancy show-boating moves, players need to remind themselves of the basic techniques of shooting lay-ups to make themselves better scorers. In this article we will discuss just a few things associated with lay-ups that will help improve your overall game.

basketball, shooting, layup, drills, fundamentals

The lay-up is the most basic shot in basketball. Unfortunately, it does not get a lot of attention when people work on improving their overall game. In a time now where fundamentals are slowly being forgotten and replaced with fancy show-boating moves, players need to remind themselves of the basic techniques of shooting lay-ups to make themselves better scorers. In this article we will discuss just a few things associated with lay-ups that will help improve your overall game.

<b>When Practicing Lay-ups Take It Serious</b>
In an actual game you will rarely have the opportunity to lazily run to the basket and shoot an uncontested lay-up. Most lay-ups are shot while you are fast breaking with a defender on your hip harassing you all the way to the basket. If you practice lay-ups nonchalantly then in a game type situation you are more likely to miss the lay-up because you might jump off the wrong foot, or shoot the lay-up too hard because your timing is off. It's not logical at all for you to make even the simplest of shots in a game if you are not practicing the shots the same way you would shoot them in a game. Make sure you are using correct technique and that you are moving at game speed when you shoot lay-ups during your warm-ups.

<b>Be Able To Use Both Hand</b>
You should be able to shoot lay-ups effectively with both the right and left hand. If you are driving to the basket on the left hand side of the floor and shoot a lay-up using your right hand you are likely to get the shot blocked. Make sure that whatever side of the basket you are driving towards you use that hand to shoot the lay-up. This will ensure that your body will be in between you and your defender and it's likely that you will draw a foul if your defender tries to block your shot.

<b>Be Selective</b>
If you try to shoot the same type of lay-up in every situation you will lack the advantage. It's important that you are use to shooting different types of lay-ups so that you will be harder to defend in certain situations. For example a defender may be over aggressively challenging every shot you take, as you get to the basket you may want to head fake and shoot what is referred to as a power lay-up where you go off two feet and try to draw a foul or shoot over your defender as you time it perfect. Or sometimes on a break you would want to actually shoot a lay-up with the opposite hand of the side of the basket you are driving towards. Sometimes when you are pressured to get a shot off you can get the ball to the basket quicker if you were to use the right hand when going up on the left hand side of the basket or vice versa. The bottom line is that you need to have a selection of lay-ups that you feel comfortable shooting so that during games you can use every advantage you possibly can.




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