So you and your crew formed a basketball team, huh? Nice. You’ve just left the mall, shopping bags in hand with a pair of brand new Jordans, some Jordan brand sweatbands, and some Jordan brand anti-fungal cream.
You’re almost good to go.
But there’re a few things to consider before you hit the court and start BLAMMING on anyone who opposes you. In fraternity intramurals, there are some unspoken rules in regards to the conduct befitting of a Greek athlete. This isn’t pick-up basketball in the neighborhood park, and breaking any of these golden rules will out you immediately as a persona non grata amongst your contemporaries. On the flip side, there are a handful of good rules of thumb when playing basketball in a Greek IM league that can take you from cowardly amateur to Lebron-esque juggernaut—at least in confidence level.
Remember, communcation is key. If you need a little help in that department, we've got you covered.
For your benefit, OmegaFi is here to bring you a Slam Dunk: The Do’s and Don’ts of Fraternity Basketball.
Call Every Slap on the Wrist a Foul
We all know this person. In fact, in another life we may have all been this person, depending on where our game was at and who we were playing against. The consummate foul-caller is the person on the court will crumble like a Brazilian soccer player at the first sign of a light breeze. The hairs on your arm could literally bristle theirs ever-so-slightly and rest assured, they will be screaming foul. Needless to say, you don’t want to be this guy.
In a game, if you get fouled hard and it’s obvious, call it. The reality is that some fouls are done with the purpose to make you miss the shot. It’s just part of the game. However, if you really want to step your game up, don’t call any fouls at all, even if they are egregious. The act of forcing yourself to play through physical contact will ultimately make you better, and the people defending you will have nothing but the utmost respect when you hit that lay-up despite the foul.
Make Excuses; Play Like a Champion
This “don’t” is akin to life itself. Don’t make excuses; just go out there, do your best and play like a champion. Anyone can make excuses for why they’re having an off day on the court.
- “I drank too much last night.”
- “I didn’t get that much sleep.”
- “I’m tired.”
- “I hurt my wrist, so my shot’s off.”
- “I sprained my ankle last week, but I’ll play through.”
This list could go on for days. The reality of the situation is this: If you make a mistake, own up to it and play through. If your shot just isn’t heating up, that’s okay. Just focus on other aspects of your game. Dribble closer to the basket, attack the lane, or create an opening for another shooter. The key here is to not vocalize your faults by creating excuses, but instead to just play through them and work harder. It’s as simple as that.
Be a Player Coach
Perhaps the most important “don’t” on this list is to not be a player-coach. What we mean is to not be the guy trying to lead the team and improve everyone else’s game. Just play your own game, focus on your own abilities and skills and don’t be that guy trying to call plays and take charge of the direction of the game. Unless you’re literally the team captain and your team respects and expects that degree of hands on leadership from you, cool it with the play calling mid-game. When you’re on a team, you’ve got to give a certain degree of a respect to your team members whether you’re better than them or not. This means you’ve to acknowledge their choices and actions on the court and not attempt to micromanage their play style. Save the notes and constructive criticism for when the game is over.
Take the Shot When You’re Open
This is often a hard lesson to learn for those who don’t have much experience playing basketball or haven’t played in a while. They’re nervous so they’d rather pass than shoot, as the pressure of holding the ball can feel overwhelming. The key thing to remember here is that if you’re open, you’re open. The ball is in no better hands than yours at that precise moment, so if you’ve got the shot then feel free to take it. No one can fault you for missing a shot if you got yourself open when no one else was. It’s up to your team to get the possible rebound and put it back up in the event you miss. It takes effort to build up that game-time confidence so keep shooting till you hear nothing but swish.
Attack the Open Lane
Like a running back on the field, if you spot an open line in the other team’s defenses, it is your responsibility, no, your duty to attack that lane like Black Mamba. Drive to the hole and put up a shot. Whether you go for the full lay-up, a nice mid-range jumper, or find yourself closed in and need to kick it back out to an open man, the point is to play confidently and attack the basket whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Pass, Pass, Pass
Speaking of Black Mamba, you want to do the opposite of Kobe Bryant in this particular way: pass. You may be the best person on your team by far, but basketball is a team sport and you cannot do it all against a team of 3 or 5 other players. If you’re trying to the hole, keep an eye out for an open teammate that may have an easier shot. The fundamentals are key in this regard; look at the Spurs. You can pass a basketball faster than you can dribble, drive or shoot with it, so make the other team work to get it, create some space on the floor, and tire them out before driving or hitting that game-winning three.
Feel like sharing a page from your own basketball diaries? Let us know your favorite pet peeves playing basketball in the comments below!