• Valerie Bryant Felder

Use this One Easy Basketball Concept & Build a Winning Family Team

As a mom, I find myself regularly searching for new and credible ways to instill winning family concepts in my children. If your children are like mine, they love team sports. You might then consider, like I found myself doing years ago, to highlight parallels between sports and family that address winning team concepts.

When my children were younger, we would mark off a field and spend afternoons playing flag football together. On other days, we might jump into our backyard pool for swim games. In most places where we lived, when neither a pool nor field was conveniently nearby, we would transform small outdoor spaces into basketball courts and while away hours playing on our makeshift parquet. Altogether, my children learned the joy of camaraderie combined with healthy attitudes of competition where they were compelled to do their best.


One simple basketball concept that produces real wins for the family team

I am mother to nine children, which meant that the numbers and ages of children in our home (and on our teams) fluctuated wildly. Most seasons, they easily ranged from pre-school through high school ages. My husband and I had to modify rules of play to allow everyone fair opportunity to contribute and enjoy. The fun we shared is something that increased our family bond. Whether a side won or loss, we could almost always score an event as “Fun to Fun”.

I like using team sport analogies to help my children more deeply understand what it means to function competently within the family. Similarity between families and sporting teams can be helpful when observed through a lens to magnify how the individual can function to benefit the entire group. This article takes one simple concept from basketball and applies it to the family team with the goal of producing real wins for the whole.



THE ASSIST

Everyone on a team likes to hear the applause and celebrations for having scored. Any casual observation of a good basketball team reveals that one player is typically the scoring dominant. Naturally, the ball finds its way into their hands, increasing odds for that team to win. These players are naturally regarded as stars. The team benefits by winning most of their competitions. The question becomes:


Does a lead scorer act alone?


The answer to this question considers the player who has a key job of supplying lead scorers with the ball. This person is acknowledged as the one to critically perform "the assist”. These are sometimes players whose roles are easily overlooked. They tend to be less flamboyant in this singular duty, yet swift-handed enough to masterfully analyze the play and then to adroitly manipulate the ball, getting into the hands of their lead scorers. I try helping my children to identify these pivotal people during a game. When they consistently perform good assists, the team realizes more frequent victory.


For a period, I remember marveling at the talents of one Robert Horry, a basketball player who graced the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs teams with his magnificent talent. Horry was known for his bulls-eye long-range shooting skills, but I remember him also for his fast-action assists (over 2,000 recorded during his career in which he earned 7 championships). He would unselfishly and strategically feed the ball to other players for the score. Without his regular assists, his teams could not have emerged as champions - lead scorers would not have accomplished their specific scoring goals.


Applying this concept to my family, each of our children would be given specific goals (responsibilities; chores) to regularly fulfill. We acknowledged them for jobs that had been done well. Often, if we were in a time crunch to finish household chores, we would encourage them to help (play the assist role) for one another to complete various tasks. They witnessed firsthand how their direct support to a sibling helped the family team. Their unselfish assist would move us all more rapidly towards our goal of less time spent on work and more at fun. It often meant that we could leave home earlier for an offsite diversion or that we could spend even more time in play at home. Whatever benefit was gained, it always proved to be a win-win situation.

This powerful lesson of teaching children to play “The Assist” is one way they can grow to be author of their own success as well as contributor to that of another. The massive lesson is that helping the family move toward victory produces gains for everyone. Try teaching your children this one concept from basketball and then watch them orchestrate wins, bonding your entire family team towards empowering victory.


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