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How to be a Good Basketball Player in Your Older Years

How to be a Good Basketball Player in Your Older Years

How to be a Good Basketball Player in Your Older Years

It seems that as the years go by, more and more players are entering the NBA straight out of high school.  And with the average age of players in the NBA currently standing at just over 26-years, it can be difficult for us older guys to reconcile our growing age and loss of basketball ability.

While I am being a bit facetious, it does stand true that age definitely weakens the body and makes certain moves and abilities a bit more difficult.  I know I’m not alone in saying that my explosiveness has been slightly dulled and that I can’t run the courts as fast or as long as I used to.

And although I may have lost those strengths, I have realized that I have gained others that can be beneficial both on and off the court.  Below, we’re going to discuss those newfound benefits and show you how to be a good basketball player, even in your older years.

Age is the Great Divide

Playing in the National Basketball Association was, perhaps, my biggest dream in life.  It was what I vied for every day, and it was an innate, burning desire that I worked hard at day-in and day-out.  I was determined to make it to the NBA.

But I didn’t.

In fact, I didn’t even make it to a college team. 

Maybe I was too short, or maybe I needed to work on my fundamentals, or perhaps I simply misjudged the level of competition.

I mean, I was good on my high school varsity team, but for some reason it just never fully translated over to the college and professional leagues.

To say I was disheartened would be an understatement.  I was devastated.

Without basketball, who was I?

I eventually found my own footing.  I found a career I liked, a home I enjoyed, and a wife and dog I loved.  But basketball was always in the back of my mind.

And as I got older, I found myself reminiscing back to my playing days.  I would meetup with friends and strangers at the park, looking to play a game of pickup.  I’d set screens, begin to roll to the basket for the easy layup, and never receive the ball.

My passes to the open shooter were made unnecessarily difficult by a hesitation dribble by my teammate.

An easy rebound went lost due to improper boxout techniques.

Why wasn’t my team winning?  And what can I do to help?

I’m Old but I’m Not Old School

There’s something quite interesting about aging. It happens constantly, at all moments, and slowly but it’s never fully recognized or registered until it’s too late.

I may be an older basketball player, but I’m not old school.  I simply understand the importance of basketball fundamentals.  And as an older player, I like to impart that wisdom on my younger teammates.

I can’t drive to the basket as quickly as my teenage teammate, I certainly won’t be on any dunk compilations anytime soon, unless I’m getting dunked on, and you certainly don’t want me driving to the basket, mainly because I probably won’t score, but also because I may break something and will need the assistance of an ambulance.

And although I may not be as useful on certain plays, there is still a lot that I can offer.  Especially to younger, less-experienced players.  I can coach them, I know basketball fundamentals, I know what it takes to keep up in this fast-paced game.

And, more impotently, I can be a father-figure.

No, I may not be the quickest, the fastest, the sharpest shooter, or the best ball-handler.  But I know what it takes to talk to a basketball player, to calm them down, to help them focus, to show them that there’s more to life than just basketball.

When you’re like me, in your older years, the significance of basketball begins to fade.  It’s not as important or as much of a priority.  It’s a game, and if you want to be a great player as an older player, then it is important to help the younger players.

Don’t Forget Your Own Fundamentals

As an older player, to play with the younger players, it is important to have your own basketball fundamentals down pat.  You’re not going to, nor are you expected to, drive as often to the basket, or to take the game winning shot, or to block an incoming defender.

That’s not your role.

Now, as an older player, your role is to play a solid, fundamentals game. 

Work on setting proper screens, look to make the extra pass, boxout and help your teammates grab the open rebound.

But also, take good shots, defend against your man, hustle to the best of your abilities.

Be a team player and a player who not only understands the fundamentals of the game but also implements them in their game.  Be a quiet, steady leader for your team.

Speak only when needed and listen to the needs of your teammates.  Motivate them and give them the confidence to pursue their dreams.

We may be older players, but we all still love the game.  And maybe, perhaps even, not to the extent that we once did.  But basketball still courses through our veins.  It is a sport we love and one that we know how to play. 

Now we watch the younger players and upcoming generations, and we do so proudly.  We give them advice, we implore them to heed the mistakes we made, and we provide valuable, constructive criticism where warranted.