Importance of excellence in Basketball

By: Radhakrishnan Sundar

The earnestness to excel at basketball is one of our philosophies. Our goal is to give our 100% to make sure that our students achieve greatness not only in life but also in basketball.
We believe that unless the fire to excel at something is ignited, the seriousness to reach that goal cannot be experienced.

The drive, commitment and effort required to master something is what makes you excellent at something. Let me share an anecdotal experience with you about my younger son, who was learning music when he was younger—he was learning music from a very serious professional teacher, who was selective about the students she invested her time in. She would emphasize on the difference between being a good musician as opposed to being a great one. She only took students under her wing who were serious about becoming great musicians and weren’t aiming to just be able to play an instrument. This experience left a mark in his life to take his craft seriously and put in the effort that was demanded of him. This is something we would like to reflect also in the game of basketball at Hi5 Youth Foundation.

Our flagship program is, thus, not a casual but an intense four-year long, curriculum-based program. Although, we do want to make it fun for the children without compromising on the learning. We keep telling our students and coaches that running Hi5 is like running disneyland. It would be fun to experience it but one must not forget that operating disneyland is also serious business!

We’ve also introduced the children to the “10,000 hours rule” established by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. The rule claims that the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill, is, to a large extent, a matter of practising the correct way, for a total of around 10,000 hours. The most amazing thing is that these children will go back home and start calculating voluntarily! They’ll come to us and show us their workbook where they keep logging in the hours they spend practising basketball and keep giving us reports, which is amazing! What we’re satisfied about is that this activity of logging in their hours is prompting them to think about their futures. So we encourage them to apply the 10,000 hours rule to anything that they want to master, and not just restrict it to basketball.

So, even if these children don’t all become professional basketball players in the future, they will definitely learn to become better human beings, citizens and team players. They will learn what it takes to become great at something and plug in the effort needed. This is also how we distinguish ourselves from other NGOs. Many say that they use sports as just a medium to teach students life skills, where excelling at the sport is unimportant and it’s just used to engage the students. We don’t believe in that. At Hi5, we believe that learning about basketball seriously and attempting to play it sincerely is what will consequently result in the students learning important life skills. So all the life lessons learning that happens is a byproduct of playing the game, we don’t have a separate module or class for it at all!