Basketball for Beginners (like REAL beginners)

When it comes to athletics, I consider myself a relatively well-rounded person. I run regularly and played soccer, but I can also dabble in volleyball or tennis; I skateboarded and snowboarded most of my life;  I can even throw a football if I so desired (not that I ever do).

But when it comes to basketball, I know nothing. ZERO. Meanwhile, my dad knows more about basketball than anyone I’ve ever known (it’s like he’s speaking another language), so you’d think I would have at least learned how to dribble or shoot a basketball at some point in my life.

As a teacher, I’ve played soccer with the kids, shown off a few geriatric moves on a skateboard, and frequently outrun them in a race or arm-wrestled them into submission – so it’s really embarrassing when they throw me a basketball and it bounces off my confused hand and into the bushes. When I admit I don’t know what to do with a basketball, they instantly lose respect. It’s fact.

But 2016 is my year: I’m going to learn how to dribble and shoot a basketball on the most basic level.

Lucky for me, my husband, Thor, can teach me – just like he taught me how to throw a ball last year. A few days ago, I drug him to the Nike campus and said, “Show me what to do.” He demonstrated several things and coached me through the saddest, most basic lesson about basketball in the history of basketball. I consider myself pretty strong, but I couldn’t even get the ball close to hitting the rim from the free throw line. Come on, I’m 5’0″ – it’s a long ways up!

It’s so high!

From a teacher standpoint, I needed to demonstrate 80% proficiency from a closer point before moving to the free-throw line. At the beginning of the lesson, I demonstrated 30% proficiency but by the time we left, I had my solid 80%.

Today, we returned and I made my first two baskets right away, but I got frustrated when the rest went everywhere but the net. There’s just so much to think about! “Tuck in your elbow,” and “Flip it in,” and “Your left hand is just a stabilizer,” and “Find your rhythm,” and and and and and…

Thor continued to correct me but then did his own thing most of the time. Within the hour, I could make baskets from the free-throw line about 40% of the time. That’s progress, right?


My biggest surprise is how much work just shooting a basketball is. I just assumed it was all upper body, but there’s a lot of squatting and core – without even playing against anyone. Who knew ? (<–probably the whole world except me).

I’m not sure what will exactly constitute being able to cross this goal off the list, but I imagine I need to demonstrate 80% proficiency consistently at multiple points on the court – but that sure sounds lofty. So I’m leaving it open…at least now I know why Steph Curry keeps his arm up at that stupid angle.



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