Friday April 20 2018
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Playing Outdoors

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Outdoor basketball is obviously common. It can help players improve their skills, it’s fun with good friends, family at a picnic, or in a competitive setting.

Yet there are distinct differences when playing hoops outside.

Half-court ball is required almost 100 percent of the time in driveway games. When the basket is attached to the garage or sitting at the end of the driveway, you’re in for a much more action-packed game. There is twice as much action for the amount of space involved.

There are also the minor advantages, such as being surrounded by fresh air and the outdoors rather than having to stare at bare gymnasium walls. The noise reverberating off the gym walls can also get to be bothersome. It’s nice to yell to your teammate and not have it sound like you’re in an echo-chamber.

One challenge unique to the outdoor game is obviously the weather. Late-afternoon games on courts that face west present the challenge of shooting with the sun in your eyes. And a good gust of wind can turn a lazy chest pass into 2 points the other way. Shooting into a steady wind requires an alteration of your usual shooting-motion as well.

The proper ball is critical when playing outdoor basketball. Most basketball manufacturers make indoor and outdoor balls. If you plan to play in the driveway, make sure you buy the correct ball. It doesn't take much time before an indoor ball begins to wear down when used outside. Give it about three months and you'll be buying a new one if you play outside on a regular basis.

The grip on an outdoor ball is rougher and more durable than on indoor balls. Also, the more you use the outdoor ball, the “tackier” the grip will become. It can help with shooting, and it often doesn't matter if it rains, you still will be able to have a good grip because of the material used for outdoor balls. Outdoor balls are generally heavier so you shouldn't have problems playing on windy days.

So leave the lights at the gym off, and get some fresh air by balling on an outdoor court.