Basketball Creativity In The Driveway
I worked for thirty years in a family business in New York City. We had two locations for our building material business, one in Washington Heights and one in the South Bronx. They were very poor neighborhoods at the time and I was amazed at some of the creativity youngsters would do with sports. I remember how at the crosswalk machine at the street corner, the kids would have a make-shift basketball hoop. They would somehow get to the highest point of the cross walk machine (far lower then ten feet) and insert a plastic milk carton between these iron bars that helped keep the cross walk machine together. They would hollow out the bottom of the milk carton before they put it in it’s location so the ball would go through it. Some kids would shoot all alone and other times they would play one-on-one or two-on-two games. I also saw kids take the same plastic milk carton with the hollowed out bottom and somehow attach it to the side of a building and play on the sidewalk. Both were not the safest way to play basketball but I remember watching as they improvised with what they had around them. Regular basketball courts were scarce in the community. They made the most of what they had. It was amazing!
When I was young I was always bothering my dad to put up a basketball rim in our driveway. I would dream about it every day and was envious walking to school seeing the driveways that had backboards and rims. My dad finally gave in but instead of buying a metal pole and commercial backboard from the sporting goods store, we made our own. We used a four by four wood beam to hold up some plywood we cut to use as a backboard. My dad and I would work on it every night he came home from work. First we dug a hole and the we treated the wood beam to weather proof it for about a week brushing a liquid on it. As we were doing this nothing else mattered in my life. I was focused on getting my first basketball rim up in my driveway. The day finally came to install the beam and we put tar on the lower portion that was going into the ground. We put the beam up and made sure it was supported with some make shift lumber so it would not tilt either way. The next day we used a level to make sure the beam was straight and it was. This day was one of the highlights of my life. After we attached the backboard, my dad then measured ten feet from the ground to where the rim was to be attached. When everything was finally done, I was in heaven and played for hours and hours in my driveway. And looking back it was the work of putting the rim and backboard together that stands out. My dad didn’t have the money to go out and buy a metal pole and the whole set up that comes with it so we had to improvise. Making this is one of my fondest memories while growing up.
Today if you drive around any suburban neighborhood you’ll see some top of the line basketball set ups that look like they can also be in Madison Square Garden. Many people have the clear fiber glass backboards or the best in adjustable rims. Nothing and I mean nothing is wrong with going out and buying an item if you can afford it. But as parents what will your son or daughter remember most; buying it or spending time with a parent putting it together? As parents and even as youth basketball coaches we should strive to be creative. This will help our youth to be creative and even allow them to be flexible. Sometimes we don’t use our creative juices as much as we should.
Here are just a few creative games you can do in your own driveway.
1) Dribbling With Cut Gloves
If a player is having a hard time with the fingertip concept for dribbling, an excellent way to practice the technique of fingertip dribbling is to take a pair of cheap cotton gloves and cut off the fingertips. Now when the player dribbles, he will be forced to use his fingertips as he has to concentrate on each dribble. This technique with the cut gloves can be practiced in stationary dribbling first. In addition to not dribbling on your fingertips, the other most common errors with regard to dribbling are keeping the ball too high, keeping the head down and favoring their strong hand too much. This is perfect to do in the driveway.
2) Bottle Cap Game
This stimulating driveway game involves two players. In this drill we have made practicing the bounce pass into a competition. Two lines are drawn with chalk on the driveway. A large bottle top is placed in the center of the lines. Each player is behind his own lines. The object of the game is to try and do a bounce pass, aiming for the bottle top and moving it past your opponent’s line. Every time the bottle cap goes over the line, the player receives a point. Players should remember the fundamentals of the bounce pass: using your fingertips and making sure the ball lands at a catchable location for the other player.
3) Funny Dribble Drill
A creative and realistic drill for a game situation that can be done in the driveway is the Funny Dribble Drill. A player will set up three or four rocks about one to two feet apart on one side of the basket. The player will dribble toward the basket, purposely going near the rocks. When the ball hits one of the rocks it will veer off in an odd direction, simulating a defensive player knocking it away. The player then must grab the ball and square up to the basket and shoot. Not knowing where the ball will go, and then having to control the ball and shoot it is a real life situation that occurs in basketball games all the time. This drill simulates a number of situations including being able to regain control of the ball and then get a shot off.
4) Jab Step Garbage Can Drive
By using household garbage cans a player can practice a simple yet effective move. The jab step drive is done when the player takes a step to one side and then goes to the other side. Set up two garbage cans in your driveway to simulate other players on the court. The player will take his jab step then dribble between the garbage cans for a lay-up. This drill doesn’t have to be practiced at full speed at first. Players can increase their speed and even put in a head fake and other skills using the garbage cans as defenders.
5) Hands in the Face
This drill is called Hands in the Face. With this drill, you can simulate a defender even if you’re practicing alone in your own driveway. The player has takes a hat and attaches a glove to the front of the bill. This acts as a distraction when the player is dribbling, shooting and rebounding. The player can utilize different areas of the driveway, passing the ball off the wall or off the house and wearing the hat with the glove on it will help to challenge for the player.
Practicing basketball in your driveway will provide great memories for players for years to come. Whether a player is trying to make his school team or just practicing to relax, driveway basketball offers players the opportunity for unlimited improvement right at their own home!