Being tall does give you some inherent advantages on the basketball court! Having said that, if you find yourself vertically challenged, should you continue playing? My answer is yes.
On the basketball court, short players often deal with getting their shot blocked more often, physical style of play and high five jokes.
Tall players, on the other hand, get picked earlier when choosing teams, get the ball passed to them more often and even if they don't play the game, constantly have people steering them towards basketball (or if you're Indian, fast bowling #VenkateshPrasad)!
Your chances of rebounding, blocking, scoring and intimidating opponents definitely improve!
Having said that, if you find yourself vertically challenged, should you continue playing, instead of hanging up your sneakers and picking another sport? Is there a way for you to not only contribute on the court but spearhead an entire offensive / defensive lineup?
Short answer - "Yes"
Long answer - " Hell Yeah!"
Allow me to explain. I aim to answer 2 questions through this article;
- What are my strengths, given that I am shorter than others on the court?
- How do I use these strengths on the court?
What are my strengths given that I am shorter than other ballers?
- Low Centre of Gravity
Pure physics, being lower to the ground makes you more stable. This means you are generally able to react quicker, change direction faster, you do not get off balance easy and even when you do, you recover much quicker than a taller person would.
- Shorter Range of Motion
Every movement on the court is a little quicker for you thanks to you having a shorter range of motion - for each dribble, shot, reach in, etc. you need to move lesser than a taller counterpart will have to.
A combination of point 1 and 2 gives you the power of speed! - be it footwork, quick lateral movements, acceleration on linear movements, etc. Even if you are not very fast today, it is relatively easier for you to work on them and see quick gains!
It’s ok if you don’t completely identify with each advantage today, rest assured your physical stature has already done the legwork in giving you the starting points for each of the above.
Which brings us to.
How do I use these strengths on court?
- Take pride, as you are a walking defensive and offensive mismatch!
When you’re on defense, you have the ability to be extremely pesky thanks to your ability to stick to your man. Your low center of gravity means you are able to stay planted even when your opponent tries to shake you off! Coaches always talk about maintaining a low stance on defense (to move quicker and stay stable) You’re halfway there - stay low and move your feet for quick changes in direction. When you are on offense, the same strengths translate - your ability to change direction make it easy for you to execute fakes, crossovers, etc and make it hard for a defender to keep up. Google “Steph Curry vs Rudy Gobert” , I’ll wait.
- Short movements usually mean quick movements
On court this means your pump fakes, jabs are faster and hence for a defender, tougher to recover from. For instance, on your dribbles, the window for a defender to steal the ball is much smaller as the ball is exposed much a much shorter duration. On defence, you have the ability to gamble for a steal and recover to your defensive stance quicker than taller players
- Coaches love to use this quote when talking about quick players - "You can't teach speed"
This means you! If your physical stature already gives you this advantage, own it and take it to the next level. A little bit of work on fundamentals of footwork and help your defensive slides, lateral quickness, and ability to accelerate and decelerate.
So you see, basketball was never meant to be a sport for people of a specific, height, build, etc. As long as you maximize your strengths, you can be effective at any height, and that is the beauty of the game!
Has someone short made your life hell on court? Have you ever killed it on court being the shorter guy/girl?