For basketball players who love to play the game of basketball, we could care less about what ball we use, what court we play on, and what the weather is like outside, especially when we are trying to improve our game. But don’t get me wrong if I had to choose any spot to play basketball it would always be indoors.
But for many years when I was trying to improve my game I played basketball on my adjustable hoop in my backyard on the soft cushy grass. I played for hours and shot thousands of shots in my backyard. Some of you wouldn’t even be caught dead playing on grass, even if you received a basketball net for free but had to play on grass, you still wouldn’t take it, or would you? You probably think it is absolutely ridiculous and that I am out of my mind for even writing an article or suggesting it.
But, today we talk about the secret benefits I discovered by accident while playing basketball on grass, . You are probably thinking this is a joke… stick with me here, read the full article.
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Basketball Hoop On Grass
Growing up I loved to play basketball, so much so I knew I wanted to save up money and buy an adjustable basketball hoop. And so I worked at 14 years old bussing tables at a hotel restaurant and eventually had enough money to buy a portable basketball hoop. It was the cheapest one on the market, but I could care less. It felt like the best thing I ever bought at that time, Christmas came early. Although it wasn’t anything fancy and I had to unscrew a big screw and bolt to adjust it. It did move up and down from 7 feet to 10 feet in 6-inch increments.
I can remember it took me 3 hours to set the basketball hoop up, I was so excited to play and it probably took me a lot longer than it should have because I was trying to rush and get some shots up before dark. Finally, after setting this thing up I rolled it to the top of my driveway and started to play after setting it on 10 feet. Its funny an adjustable rim looks much taller when you set it to 10 feet when compared to a hoop in your local gym.
After a while it started to get really annoying chasing the ball around when I would make a shot when it would go in, it would hit the base of the basketball hoop and roll down the driveway onto the street.
My drive-way was really narrow and I mostly shot from directly in front of the hoop, shooting on the side resulted in me standing in the neighbor’s yard on their grass. Shooting from my side of the house was a risk that the ball may end up in the neighbor’s flower bed. I really didn’t think this through when I bought the hoop, Did I?
temporary basketball court on grass
But I really wanted to improve and knew I had to shoot from all sides of the hoop. The Driveway also had a lot of cracks and it was hard to dribble on. Why didn’t I just move it on the street to play you asked? There were always cars parked cars on the same side I would be shooting on and I didn’t want the ball hitting the cars. On top of that after I was done I had to roll the basketball hoop into the back yard so no one would steal it, I wasn’t taking any chances. I played a couple of times a day, it became really annoying rolling it out to the front of the house to play.
So one day I was too lazy to roll out my basketball hoop to the driveway from the backyard so I just set the 10-foot net in my backyard in a spot that I thought would work well. I started to shoot and wouldn’t you know I had enough space to shoot from all sides of the hoop. I thought this was great a temporary basketball court on the grass. I’ll just shoot back here some of the time. Well, it became all of the time it was convenient. I would go out to my backyard for 15 minutes and put up some shots. I really liked it back there.
Dribbling a basketball on Grass
I realize quickly I couldn’t dribble all that well on the green, the grass was too soft, we had nice thick green grass, you know the kind you see on a golf course that is considered the rough. You are probably thinking no way I would ever play on grass but hear me out for one second. It may be better than you think and here’s why…
Although I was only able to take one or two dribbles with the basketball on grass, and I thought it sucked too, I soon realized from watching college basketball and studying game film it was more than enough. Little did I know this would pay big dividends in my game. I by accident became a one or two dribble pull jumper machine over a summer of practice because I was only able to take one or two dribbles. Guaranteed if I would have played on the driveway way more I would have been dribbling way too much and would never acquire this skill.
Which brings me to my next point, we all want to dribble like Kyrie Irvin, Chris Paul, and James Harden, I promise you that you don’t need to dribble like them to score. You definitely need a handle to protect the ball and get to the hoop to score but you don’t need to be the Professor when it comes to handles. Does it help? For sure, but look at all the great players, Jordan, Magic, Bird, Kobe, and Lebron. I could go on and on. They didn’t rely on special dribbling moves to score points.
The second thing that came by accident as I pumped up my basketball so it would bounce higher when I would dribble it against the grass, so it would get to my hand without having to really pound the ball into the grass. Again little did I know this would help me big time. I played with a ball that was over-inflated and anytime it touched the rim it more than likely would rebound out and not go in.
I improved my accuracy immensely trying to go for the swish every time I shot the basketball, it helped me dial in focus and concentrate better. I became an automatic shooter, every time I missed, I adjusted and made the shot. It prevented from putting up countless senseless shots. These were good quality shots and volume I was putting up.
Just a little disclaimer, while practicing basketball in my back yard on the grass, overtime where the ball would drop after going into the basket and hitting the ground underneath the rim, the grass was slowly dying and now soil was being exposed. Although my mom was not happy, on the market now there’s miracle grow for grass so if this happens go buy some. It makes the grass grow extremely fast. You will just have to move your net in a different location for awhile in your backyard as I did so the grass can grow again. Also underneath the base of the basketball hoop, that grass will die pretty quickly as it literally can’t breathe, so if you are worried about that you will have to move the net to a different location every couple of days.
Dunking on a portable adjustable basketball hoop on grass
Growing up I was obsessed with increasing my vertical and dunking on adjustable hoops, it was a lot of fun, and still, at the age of 37, I really want to get back into it. I am thinking about starting a journal with workout and tips but we’ll see, stay tuned for that. I do remember back then actually dunking in my backyard which was much harder on the grass. The grass is soft and it can be slippery when you’re about to take off from the rubber soles of your shoes, meeting the grass.
I would usually roll my adjustable hoop out to the driveway so I could dunk for a better jump approach on the concrete. But more so than not I was always in my back yard dunking or shooting.
The Pros and Some Cons
Why even bother dunking on grass? Well a few things, while your approach may feel a little off in the sense that you might feel like your going to slip and fall, when you do manage to jump you will have the pleasure of landing softly and this will be awesome for your joints, especially your knees.
Dunking on grass will also help you focus more on your approach while mapping out your steps, which is a good thing. You may even notice that you have to find the perfect balance of speed on the approach and lift off on the jump. Horizontal to vertical. While it is definitely harder to jump on grass as it is softer and the grip isn’t the best, I still find it fun and challenging, you will also find your constant jumping and your approach will tear up the grass quicker and you will start to see your tracks in the grass from your approach jumps.
Some tips to dunking on a portable basketball hoop that is on grass
If you have cleats I highly recommend you use them, it will provide you with a better grip when dunking on the grass, and you just going to feel a lot safer on your approach. You can find a pair of cleats for a good price on Amazon. I wish back then I would have used them even to shoot the basketball, I never did use cleats until years later. It would have been great to work on footwork, but I did what I had available to me at the time.
Another tip you may try is to dunk barefooted, this may help with traction better than a rubber sole will. You can also feel the ground better and know quicker when you may feel like your about to take a dive. From time to time I would walk out of my house bare feet and I would play and liked it.
Backyard basketball court with no concrete
So maybe your thinking about it you but don’t have any room in front of your house or on the driveway. You have no concrete to play basketball on in the backyard and feel you can’t play basketball back there. Maybe there’s gravel, mud, sand, and even grass which means you can still play and you can still work on shooting. Yes, I understand it probably looks ridiculous, but just imagine how much you could improve your game at your house and all you have to do is just open the back door. Your hoop is staring at you and is right there for you to play on.
I am willing to bet you will wake up shoot, eat then shoot. Go out come back and shoot some more and after dinner, you will shoot even more. That’s what I did, in fact, I would wake up in the morning go right outside to the backyard and shoot on my adjustable basketball hoop until it was time to go play ball at the gym. I would play basketball at the gym all day, come home and eat dinner then go back out and shoot some more. No excuses, the only way to get better than anyone else is to practice more and do the things everyone hates doing or isn’t doing.
If it is a little difficult to shoot on your net due to your basketball court not being on concrete you could buy a ball returner on the market so you are not constantly chasing your ball around. Something, I wish was around when I was growing up was a ball returner, I would have easily saved up enough money to buy one. Here are a couple of I recommend.
This is called the SKLZ Kick-Out Basketball Return Attachment, and I really like it you can move the returner by twisting the chute to the angle you are shooting from, so if you were shooting in the corner, every time the ball goes into the basket it rolls it back towards you to shoot it again. This way you don’t have to pick up the ball when it hits the grass and bend over every time to pick it up and shoot again.
Like I mentioned earlier I wish I had a ball returner back in the day, I would have been able to put up twice as many shots with one of these. You cut the time in half literally. The only issue I could see is maybe it doesn’t always catch the ball but the better you get at shooting the more likely you will make the basket and when you do miss it won’t be by much, in which th net will still catch the ball for you, for the price, its worth it.