This is a personal invitation from me to you - MY DEAR BASKETBALL FRIENDS! Come and spend a weekend with me to know SUMPOORNA BASKETBALL SCHOOL - the Indian Basketball Initiative. Join me in the basketball court which is full of teeming young children holding, dribbling and shooting the BASKETBALL in full joy. Their enthusiasm - their smiles - THEIR INNOCENCE will rub on to you. YOU SUDDENLY UNDERSTAND WHY THE GAME WAS INVENTED BY DR. NAISMITH.
Our weekend will begin on saturday afternoon. We will visit a school - WHICH HAS NEVER HAD A COACH - waited upon by 100 plus students. Tremendous excitement builds up as we make smaller groups. GIVE ME THE BALL - GIVE ME THE BALL - and get out of my way - THEY PROCLAIM. And we do just that. Let them, by touching - by dribbling [in whatever way] satisfy their urge. AND IN THE CROWD enter a few skilled players - dribbling in a more purposeful way. The new enthusiasts of the ball WONDER at this dribbling. Some try to copy - while others just observe. EMBEDDED LEARNING STARTS TO HAPPEN. There is a purpose to their dribbling now. We slowly have their attention.
Later in the day, one lesson at a time - the purpose and methods of dribbling are hurriedly explained - AND THE DRILLS BEGIN NOW - inter spread with various humorous relays. It is an extra-ordinary mixture of FUN - DO WHAT YOU PLEASE - LEARNING; conventional coaches beat a hasty retreat shaking their heads NO NO - this is no way to learn basketball. I CAN ONLY SMILE! MAYBE I WILL EVEN LAUGH ALOUD because you would see what has happened in half a day.
Subliminal learning is much much faster. I have evolved these methods over the last 25 years. I learnt my basketball in a similar way - since there were no coaches to teach us the game. We had to learn it by ourselves. Our passion for the game - our desire to improve our basics and skills came by and by. These children will also slowly pick up the finer points of the game. THE GAME WILL COME TO THEM!
Then my friend, on SUNDAY morning - we will probably visit another basketball court where another one hundred plus will be waiting in different coloured uniforms to play the S.A.B.A.L [sumpoorna annual basketball league] tournament. The teams are picked up and the games begin. One or two rounds of matches are played according to the selection made by me. In the afternoon begins the PLAY-OFFS. By 5pm the finals are over. The referee, the table officials - ALL ARE STUDENTS THEMSELVES. I just sit or stand and wonder - and maybe you would wonder too. Isn't this the finest way of promoting grass root basketball.
SO TELL ME WHEN YOU ARE COMING. I REALLY HOPE YOU WOULD COME - to talk to these future basketball players of India. They are always eager to meet GREAT BASKETBALL PLAYERS LIKE YOU.