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Streetball and its Effect on Team Sports

When compared to a typical organized and sanctioned basketball game, streetball is its own unique animal – one that adapts and changes depending on the players and the location.

Streetball is where the game and its techniques are honed, changed, and created; many dunks and individual moves were dreamed up on a street corner versus under the glaring lights of a well-known gym. IN order to understand the impact streetball has had on organized team basketball, we must look at the following:

• What streetball really is
• How it affects individual players
• How it affects teams as a whole


What is Streetball


Streetball is a much less-structured and open-ended form of basketball that is played in the streets, on playground courts, and at backyard hoops.



It typically never has referees (the players call their own fouls) and can be anything from one-on-one up to a full five-on-five situation. Since these pickup games are made up of players who often have ever played together before, it makes running set offenses or defenses nearly impossible. This means that man-to-man defense is the main defense of choice, and that one-on-one moves, screens, and give-and-go moves are the go-to offensive sets.

As a result, players often develop highly evolved individual moves that create opportunities for them to score, since there are no set plays designed to get them the ball or get them an open shot.

Some cities have organized streetball programs, but these serve only to offer players set times and places to play. The basic premise of the games – that they are pick-up in nature and are not planned out or contrived – always stays the same, as it is the essence of the streetball experience.


How Streetball Affects Individual Players


As mentioned before, there are rarely set offenses or defenses in streetball. This requires individual players to hone their individual skills in order to become a good player on a streetball team.

When these players then go and become part of an organized team such as at a local high school, they bring with them these highly-evolved individual moves and concepts. This is a good thing because their ability to get by a defender is typically going to be better than that of someone who has never had that one-on-one experience. However, it may be difficult for that streetball player to mesh with a team setting.


How Streetball Affects Teams as a Whole


While streetball players are usually very skilled at the individual moves that are part of the game of basketball, they may find difficulty in gelling with the team as a unit, as well as with adapting their preferred style of play to set offenses and defenses. This necessary adaptation is one that must take place for the individual to find success as part of an organized team.
Streetball is a great way to build up a killer offensive mindset in a player, but it is not always the best breeding ground for optimal team play. However, the benefits to pickup games far outweigh any negatives, and players would be wise to join in whenever possible.


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