When I was a 12 years old, every recess and lunch I would play basketball (1.5 hours x 5). When I would get home after school, I would shoot around pretending to be Michael Jordan for an hour (1 hour x 5). When I got to trainings, I would get on the court as quick as I could so I could practice crazy shots or trying to touch the rim with my teammates until training started (10 mins x 3). On the weekends, my friends and I would play 1v1, 2v2 or 3v3 at the local primary school or in someones backyard for hours on end(2-3 hours). This means every week, I would be playing basketball a minimum of 15 hours outside of any formal training. That means over a school year, I had a basketball in my hands for approximately 630 hours on top of training and games.
Now lets compare that to a girls week. Girls are less likely to play basketball with the boys at lunch because of a multitude of sociological reasons - don't want to show off, scared of being called a tomboy, boys might not pass them the ball etc, they are less likely to shoot around pretending to be a famous basketball player because they aren't exposed to enough female role models in basketball (no TV, Video games, advertisements), before training they generally want to talk and chat with their friends about other things, and on the weekend they would probably rather go to Chadstone than get sweaty and compete against their friends. But let's for arguments sake say that girls shoot around a bit after school and before training every now and then, and give them a generous 5 hours a week of extra basketball. This means every school year, they will have a basketball in their hands for approximately 210 hours on top of trainings and games.
Let's compare these numbers and break them down even further:
Boys - 630 hours per year
Girls - 210 hours per year
If you shoot the ball approximately 1.5 times every minute on average (playing with friends etc)
that means you would get 90 shots an hour. Lets add this into the equation.
Boys - 630 hours x 90 shots per hour = 56,700 shots per year
Girls - 210 hours x 90 shots per hour = 18,900 shots per year
That is a difference of 37,800 shots a year. Just let that sink in for a moment...
Can you imagine how much better at a skill you would be if you did it 37,800 more times than the next person? This difference could/and is happening in basketball right now.
If it takes 10,000 hours to Master your craft, boys would reach that target in 15 years whereas girls would reach it in 48 years, if we didn't include formal training. This is insane.
Now incase you haven't realised, this difference is absolutely staggering, and although these numbers are an EXTREMELY rough approximation and I have generalised to the extreme, their purpose is to help people understand three things. One, that it is the repetition of a skill that allows someone to be better at said skill. Two, there is a huge need for girls to have HIGHER QUALITY coaching more often than boys, and Three, it is the sociological constructs which affect the rate of development in the basketball and athletic skill of girls in Australia.
Girls are already playing catch up when it comes to repetition, so by ensuring they are learning skills with impeccable form, in a periodised and structured manner, will allow them to close the gap between their male counterparts at early ages and help girls basketball advance at a faster rate.
P.S. This blog is designed to help educate and start conversation about important issues within the basketball community. Obviously these statistics can apply to both genders.