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Start of the Season!

Basketball season is just starting. You can tell because the NBA started playing a few weeks ago. And not only that, but our Special Olympics team started practicing too. Two of the players dropped out but the remaining players are still on the team, although we haven't heard who is on what team just yet, me, Caitlin and Randy will be on the same team, hopefully with coach John.

We did drills at practice. Shooting is my favorite drill. I don't like stretching and warming up at the start of practice. I learned something new last night. The coach had us shooting from what is called "the paint". Most professional teams call it the free throw lane most likely.

There's a drill called shuffling, moving your legs left and right sometimes while a ball is coming at you, then you throw it back, and so forth. For another drill, everyone gets into 2 lines. At first the left line becomes the shooting line because the first player in the line normally has the basketball. After a while, the lanes switch so therefore the right line shoots the ball and the left line rebounds the ball. Rebounding is when you grab a ball that rolled away so to speak. Another drill is called layups. This is a classic one that several players do. A layup is when you start at a determined area by the coach, you dribble about 3 - 4 times up to the hoop, then you shoot. The backboard of the hoop is the little square that you try to aim the ball so it most likely will go in. Sometimes an unfortunate "bounce" happens when the ball bounces off the hoop/net and so on.

The main position I play you ask? It is called center. The center does a lot of defense and guarding because usually they are the tallest players. The center circle is the incomparable circle that in most professional courts has the player/team logo on it. For the Chicago Bulls, this is where the bull-shaped logo is placed.

For the free throw line to be activated, a player must be what they call "fouled". Generally most players like myself either receive a warning or a foul if you try to grab the player rather than the basketball while player is holding said ball. Another danger to avoid is called traveling. This happens when a player is supposed to dribble but actually does not dribble and keeps on walking. Any player who shoots from the three point line or further up in most games, receives three points, hence the name three point line. In most Special Olympics style games, you only get two points for making a basket from the three point line. I don't know what that reason is.

I can recall the very first time I went to state for basketball. I didn't do it the first year I played because the coach messed up. It was fantastic going to state. State normally takes place in Bloomington-Normal Illinois. There you play for about 2 nights. On the very first night, players go to a generic "road house" to eat dinner. The next day, that's when the real fun begins as the games start. However, the only way to make it to state is to win all your games at the tournament with first place gold medals i.e. if you win a game and you lose a game, this does not equal going to state. If you lose both you're definitely not going to state. Unlike most professional teams, the tournament happens even if you miss a game, you're forced to go to the tournament. I personally recommend going to the tournament, because if you win both you at least get a silver or gold medal.

In conclusion, my advice for any starter/beginner players is to be focused, avoid any and all possible distractions, and best keep your eye on the ball. Basketball will take you somewhere!!!

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