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Steve Nash played Pickup Basketball in China

 

This is an old news happened on 8/31/2009, but there is something interesting about it.  Even the best players out there in NBA still have fun playing Pickup Games.  They are not even doing it for health or to improve, but purely just for fun.

China has becoming a super power, not only in terms of economy, but also in terms of atheletic attention.  After getting most amount of gold mdeals in Beijing Olympic 2008, China has proven itself as the top athletic country.  This is one of the reason why citizens of China has also become more active.  With players like Yao Ming being picked into NBA, basketball has become the most popular sport in China.

If you guys ever visit china, go to some basketball court and see whether you can find yourself a good game.  And if you can't find games, Pickup Sports will be coming to China too!

Improve your game quickly

The best way to improve your game, whether it is basketball, tennis, or even pickuping women for that fact is to practice and play with the best. If I ask you what is the best way to pickup a new sport and become good at it? You might say, play against your friends and keep practicing. But from my experience, this is the slow way. In order to improve quickly you have to play as many differnt people and styles as possible. Practice on the other hand will reinforce your fundamentals and prevent embarrassment,  but in order to improve you have to add variety.

If you keep playing against the same people over and over your game plateus. Although it is fun to beat up on your less talented friends you have to challenge yourself and find someone who is better than you.

This is what pickup sports is there to do. I have been playing basketball with my MBA classmates for the past year. The game was getting easy and boring so I decided to challenge my self by going to the gym  to find a pickup game. I started with 1on1 basketball with an undergraduate. I did not score 1 point.

So if you think you are good, go find a pickup game. Don't settle. Remember there is always someone better from who you can learn from.

Are you 'experienced'? Team sports and you.

One could argue that my background in sports isn't entirely in team sports.  I grew up playing sports that most wholesome Midwestern boys played: football, basketball, baseball, swimming and soccer.  My football career was stunted by a broken collar bone the day before tryouts my freshman year, but I still managed to play well into my senior year - much to my mom's chagrin after a mind-rattling concussion 2 years later.

My baseball career came to an end after high school as well since Columbia University's baseball stadium was 100 blocks to the north, and I wasn't sure I'd want to play catcher for the rest of my life.

But swimming stuck with me all the way through high school, college and shortly afterwards as I put forth my best effort at Olympic Trials in 2000.  I was fortunate enough to train with some of the best swimmers in the world, and was proud to say I was part of a team that sent 5 swimmers to the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

But that's my point.  I was on the team, made some great friends, and had others to help me through training, but its only the individual that makes it to the Olympics.  And only then do they join ANOTHER team.  The "team" is a combination of everyone's best individual efforts, and those individual efforts usually happen in separate events or heats, not simultaneously - like football or basketball.

A former teammate of mine from the Irvine Novaquatics commented on my last post about only experiencing sports to its fullest, which is what got me thinking about this again.  Morgan made the case that some of her best stand up paddle experiences were solitary.  She might have been hanging out with her friends before or after her session, but while she was "in it", it was just her and the ocean.

There certainly is something to be said for that solitary pursuit and feeling of accomplishment in anything you do.  And I agree with Morgan on many aspects.  I mean, it's all about ME when I'm swimming because no one else is gonna move me through the water, right?  I guess it comes down to a balance - as everything does in life.

So if you need some time alone today, take it.  If you need someone to hang with or motivate you, it's easy to find it with us here.

The Community of Pickup Sports & Games

Much has happened since I spoke last with Jonny Chai of 5 Stones Fitness while he was pulling his kid around in a tire on the Marina Green in San Francisco.  But I had the chance to speak with Jonny again today to learn more about his personal training business in San Francisco, as well as what he's looking to do as he expands his business.  Jonny's an interesting guy, and is definitely focused on the importance of community in his client base - and his business as a whole.

And then I opened my personal Facebook account and got an update from one of my old Irvine Novaquatics swimming teammates, Morgan Hoesterey.  Aside from my insane jealousy for her stand-up paddleboarding lifestyle, I felt very happy and proud of her for pursuing her dreams in Hawaii - and having a damn good time with her friends while doing it.  You can learn more about her travels and adventures on their Destination 3 degrees Facebook site.  (Go girl!)

This brings me back to community, friendships and the innate human need to be around other people.  You've read about me questioning whether or not surfing, rock climbing or other "individual" sports are best alone (found here) - whether it be tennis, soccer, basketball, etc.  Now I'm posing another question: It's possible to do "individual" sports alone, but is it possible to get maximal enjoyment out of those sports while playing alone?

My previous argument that individual sports are better enjoyed with someone else could be bolstered by the fact that competition in and of itself creates a community, which in turn makes sports more enjoyable.  We're competitive creatures by nature, and a little competition is always healthy...

Are you confused yet?  If not, I'm glad we understand each other.  If so, I encourage you to get out and find a game to see what we mean by "community".

Pickup Basketball Rules

Pickup basketball can be a fun game, but there are still some rules that people should follow to avoid arguments.  After all, it's just a game, there are more advantages to keep it fun.
  1. You can only claim the court that is not currently open.
  2. Have at least 2 people to claim a half court, 8 people to claim full court.
  3. Form a team that is balanced, otherwise it destroys the fun and the losers will simply quit.
  4. Set the game points, 11 point game, 16 point game or 21 point game.  Regular shots are 1 point and shot from three point lines are 2 points in a pickup game.
  5. If it's first game, you can shoot for who get's the ball first before starting the first round.  Otherwise the winner of last round gets to be offense first.
  6. There are no referees, but violations still apply.
    • For Offense: violation includes traveling, double dribble, offense foul
    • For Defense: violation includes regular foul, intention foul
    • 5 seconds and 3 seconds violations usually isn't included in a pickup game
    • Unless it's intention violation, there are no penalty shot.  The other side simply get's the ball.
  7. After winning, the winning team can decide to play "next" challenger or retire with glory.  If there is no "next" challenger, same teams can start the game again, possibly switching players.

Hopefully this sets some group for those who are looking for Pickup Basketball Rules.  Now go post a pickup game.