Home > Our World > News > News Archives by Date > News Archive 2007 > July 2007 > News - July 2007
Basketball teaches life skills, coach says

Javon Gilliard, basketball coach at United Methodist-related Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C., gives pointers to youth attending Youth 2007.
UMNS photos by Mike DuBose.

By Linda Green*
July 19, 2007 | GREENSBORO, N.C. (UMNS)

Dispensing a "basketball is life" philosophy, Coach Jevon Gilliard used a basketball court at Youth 2007 to demonstrate to teenagers that they must learn to listen to others, commit to excellence and bounce back after making a mistake.

Prayer is also key, whether you're on the court or off, he said.

As head basketball coach and athletic director for Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, Gilliard was invited to run the court with teens participating in the five-day United Methodist youth event.

Youth 2007 drew about 6,200 youth and youth leaders to the Greensboro Coliseum July 11-15 for The United Methodist Church's largest youth gathering, held every four years. Together, they learned how their faith can make a difference in their communities. Activities ranged from worship services and concerts to service projects and recreation.

Tucker Johnson, Jesse Sullivan and Matthew Kizer of Lexington, S.C., play
a game of pickup basketball at the
Nothing But Nets display.

Gilliard likened basketball to life, and noted the importance of listening in both. In basketball, listening is more important than dribbling, passing and shooting.

"This relates to everyday life because you have to listen," he said. "If you listen to learn the rules of basketball, then you also learn to listen to your parents."

Listening is part of how you rebound after messing up. If a basketball player makes a mistake on the court, the player must bounce back to recover. "If you mess up in life, you have to bounce back. It all goes back to listening."

As the head basketball coach at a women's college, Gilliard said he has observed that women tend to listen better than men. "The reason is because guys are likely to think they know more than (the coach) and they try to imitate the professional guys more," he said. "Young ladies come in humble and they want to learn, want to listen and want to get better."

Other fundamentals

Commitment is also important. The player must dedicate the time necessary to become a good ball handler, for instance. "This also goes back to life. (If) you want to be a good reader in school, you have to commit yourself to read book after book after book," he said.

"Commitment is the key to success and success is the key to commitment," he added.
Prayer is the third fundamental because "God makes everything happen," Gilliard said.

"Anything that you try to do or accomplish, you have to be able to pray and believe that you get it done," he said. "Nothing can happen without praying and asking God to help you."

He told youth that they must dedicate themselves to pray daily about the good and bad things that happen to them.

No excuses

Basketball can be a good teacher about the fundamentals of life.

"Whatever you are trying to do, you cannot make excuses for it," the coach said. "You have to be responsible for your own actions and whatever decisions you make. You must be willing to suffer the consequences."

The Youth 2007 basketball court was sponsored by Nothing But Nets, a United Methodist-supported fundraising campaign to combat mosquito-borne malaria in Africa by providing families there with insecticide-treated sleeping nets.

Gilliard said it was important to help with Youth 2007 because Bennett College, a historically black, United Methodist-related school, is "part of the Methodist family."

*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

Related Video

Kids Score Nets

Nothing But Nets Promo

Related Articles

Global gathering draws 6,200 United Methodist youth

Youth 2007 brings together United Methodist teens

Emergency appeal aims to save refugees in Chad


Youth 2007

Division on Ministries with Young People

Nothing But Nets

Ask Now

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.


*InfoServ ( about ) is a ministry of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add this address to your list of approved senders.

Would you like to ask any questions about this story?ASK US NOW

Original text