Basketball has been called “the world’s favorite sport.”
It’s also one of America’s most popular sports with more than 400 million people playing it in almost every state across the nation.
In fact, there are more men who play basketball than those who play any other professional sport combined!
But why is basketball so important to people?
Well, let’s start by answering that question in a few words.
Basketball is important because the sport engages a person’s physical and mental faculties. The intense nature of the sport builds physical fitness and motor coordination, as well as developing social capability through improving self-confidence, fostering team work and communicating regularly with other players on the court.
What are the benefits of playing basketball?
Whether you’re an avid fan or just someone who enjoys watching it on TV, here’s a detailed explanation of five reasons why basketball should be part of your daily routine for better overall health.
1. Teaches players to work together as a team
One big reason that so many people enjoy playing basketball is because it teaches them teamwork skills that they can use later on in life.
This is especially true if you have aspirations of becoming a coach.
Whether you aspire to become a professional player, a teacher or simply want to be able to help others, basketball will teach you how to communicate effectively and support your teammates.
There are several ways that learning these skills can benefit you personally and professionally. For example, good communication skills build trust between friends and colleagues, enhance relationships and even improve job performance.
Improving your ability to think quickly under pressure, make split second decisions and adapt to changing situations all come from practicing teamwork and communicating well with others.
These are two critical abilities needed by today’s leaders. And when you learn them early on, you’ll find yourself being able to accomplish much more than you ever thought possible.
2. Develops physical fitness
If you’ve never played before, then start out by taking a class at your local YMCA or community center.
If you know what you’re doing, there are plenty of leagues available both locally and online where you can join teams based upon skill level.
Then once you’re ready to take things seriously, try joining a league such as AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) which will provide training specifically tailored to your age group and skill set.
Once you get started, you may realize that not only do you love basketball but you also have developed a passion for exercising too.
Most leagues offer some sort of exercise program as part of their regular practices.
So, whether you prefer running, hiking, swimming, biking, walking or another type of activity, you’ll likely end up feeling healthier and fitter after spending time with your new basketball buddies.
3. Improves communication skills through social interaction
Another way basketball improves personal health is by helping you relate to others better.
Playing basketball requires quick decision making, working within a team environment and problem solving.
All of these require you to rely heavily on effective communication skills.
Learning how to listen clearly, speak confidently and negotiate agreements builds confidence while improving interpersonal communications skills used throughout your day.
The great thing about basketball is that unlike other competitive sports such as football or hockey, you don’t need to compete against others.
Instead, having fun with your fellow teammates while building friendships is far more rewarding.
4. Relaxes muscles & reduces stress
While it might seem silly to say this, basketball can actually reduce stress levels.
Because the game is fun, not to mention the fact that it gives you something to look forward to every week, provides instant feedback and rewards success.
You feel like you’re accomplishing something, achieving goals and enjoying the experience.
This helps relieve stress in a way that nothing else does.
Plus, when you’re engaged in a challenging yet fun pursuit, you release endorphins into the brain which create feelings of euphoria and calmness.
Players often report that the game makes them happier and less stressed, and studies show that it can bring down blood pressure and heart rate.
A University of Maryland study showed that college students were 47% less likely to suffer from depression when they participated in extracurricular activities including playing basketball.
Researchers believe that the release of endorphins during the game helps trigger positive emotions and memories, releasing happy hormones in the body.
Practicing basketball regularly strengthens your core muscle groups, increases flexibility and coordination, reduces stress, improves mood and lowers cholesterol.
5. Players develop self-confidence
Perhaps the best-known aspect of the game is its ability to boost self-esteem and confidence.
Studies show that regular participation in organized sports can increase self-confidence and improve attitudes toward school, family, career and romantic relationships.
While everyone experiences ups and downs in life, basketball allows you to overcome adversity and achieve victory no matter what happens.
When you lose, you pick yourself back up and keep going.
As long as you stay focused on your goal and ignore negative thoughts, you’ll see results over time. The goal isn’t to win but to grow stronger emotionally and mentally.
In addition to boosting self-confidence, the game also offers opportunities for healthy competition.
Being able to measure yourself against others in a safe, controlled setting is a powerful tool for developing self-worth and confidence.
One of the biggest keys to winning is staying motivated and driven to practice, improve and consistently perform at your peak.
Winning and losing are relative terms – you could be playing poorly and still earn the highest score in the game that particular night.
No one knows exactly what tomorrow brings, but what we can count on is our dedication to the present moment and the opportunity to continually improve ourselves and grow.
There is no question that basketball is a great source of health benefits.
By incorporating a few simple changes into your lifestyle, you can begin experiencing the benefits right away.
Make an effort to attend a local game or sign up for an intramural league.
Soon you’ll discover that the game is more than just a hobby.
You’ll find that it enriches your life in ways you never imagined.