John F. Koenig on How Pick-up Games Can Help Your Career

How can playing a pick-up game help you in your personal and professional life?

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For many people, sports are everything. They claim to eat, sleep, and breathe their favorite sports and they worship their beloved teams. For other people, it’s satisfying enough to watch from the sidelines and just be an armchair referee. Somewhere in between lies the middle ground. There are plenty of people who enjoy being active but see sports mostly as a hobby and a great way to stay fit, as well as an opportunity to socialize with friends in an otherwise busy world. While these games are great ways to have fun and stay fit, they also provide experiences and learning opportunities to gain and master skills that can be applied to your career. 

Pick-up games, also known as scratch games or drop-in games, are all about unwinding and being stress-free. They are a time to get together with a casual group of friends and forget about the regular worries of life. Casual games are the perfect place to warm up muscles between games, try out some new moves, and relive some of the daily stress you feel. That’s not to say there are no rules, however. 

Aside from the physical benefits, playing a pick-up game can be a great way to develop and master leadership skills. Playing a pick-up basketball game forces someone to step up and take a leadership role and practice communicating effectively. It also provides you the opportunity to learn how to make and follow rules. Come together and set some rules before starting to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Fouls may be called, but don’t let that impact your game and communication. 

For many kids growing up in an urban community, pick-up basketball games are their first glimpse of an attainable goal. They not only get exercise and make friends, but they also meet mentors to look up to. A lot of the world’s superstar players discovered a love of the game this way. As an older player, giving back to the community by playing with younger generations is an invaluable gift. Mentorship offers the mentor a chance to become a leader and share knowledge and offers the mentee a guide and resources to help them learn and grow.

The next time you play a pick-up game think of the ways that it is helping you in ways that are more than just physical. It can give you, or someone else, the skills that are necessary to succeed in your personal and professional life. 

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