Chapter 2: Literacies at work, for fun, and at school

2.7.2 Secondary discourse and communication in basketball (synthesis)

Anonymous English 102 Writer

February 2021

Communication is a vital part of everyday life for all of us in everything that we do. This is especially true when it comes to sports, basketball specifically. Basketball requires many things as an individual, however as a team communication can make or break a team along with determining how good they will be. The good teams are typically the ones constantly talking to each other through different ongoing things in the game. While the teams that struggle do not communicate or do very little communicating throughout a game, which leads to the separation between good and struggling teams. This is because there are so many ongoing things that are happening throughout a game between screens or simply just who you are supposed to be guarding. Any slight miscommunication could end in the other team getting an easy basket or getting an easy steal on your team. Working through screens is another way that demonstrates how important communication is for a basketball team. While there are many more things that could be said to show how important it is for teams to communicate too each other. There are other aspects to look at when discussing communication in basketball. Communication through basketball creates a secondary discourse for those people that are playing basketball. 

The first article is James Gee’s, “What is Literacy”. Through this article Gee uses the topic of discourse as his main focus in discussing his points. Discourse is also what will be focused on when discussing the rest of the articles creating a relationship between the rest of the articles. There are three different types of discourse that are used in the article primary discourse, secondary discourse, and dominant discourse (Gee 22). Primary and secondary are related in a way as that of they are both learned from things that you do in your life. The difference is that primary is learned in living in your household, while secondary is learned by going outside of your household to learn these skills. Dominant discourse is somewhat separate compared to that of primary and secondary discourse. Dominant is basically known as the language that those of wealth would speak like. The skills are related in the sense of how you act and speak is what gives you your discourse towards whatever it is you are a part of. So in terms of communication in basketball secondary discourse would be best fit when trying to describe what discourse it would be. This then creates a relation between Gee’s article and the three articles that are going to be discussed in the paragraphs that will be following this one.  

The beginning article relating to basketball that I am starting out with discussing is, “Team Coordination in Basketball: Description of Cognitive Connections Among Teammates”. The basis of what was trying to be determined was how well coordination between teammates can become of use for the whole team. In using five players on the same team these authors would use through determining their findings of how different communication between teammates can affect how well they actually play with each other. In my view and experience from playing basketball it does not always matter how much talent a team has that will determine how successful they will be. But the communication level that a team plays with is another determinant in how successful a team will be. The researchers in tracking their data decided on things they were going to record, which included how the players would move around along with the way they were communicating with each other during the game. (Bourbousson, Poizat and Saury 153). The way they these researchers were tracking their findings was through giving the players things to focus on while they are playing, along with using a camera system that would follow the players so they could review whatever it is that they may have needed more help on. In the findings from their studies, they found out that there were certain people that worked better together communication wise compared to other players. The authors characterized this sort of togetherness through “dyadic coordination” which in simpler terms is simply just how two teammates will interact with each other. The relation to Gee’s article, “What is Literacy” the communication and being a part of the basketball team gives each one of these players a discourse as they are part a group and all use movements and thinking in the same type of form. In relation to my other articles being discussed, this is relative in the sense of how communication methods on the basketball court are all different and there are multiple ways to express your communication to your teammates. 

For my second article, “I’m Pretty Sure That We Will Win!”: The Influence of Score-Related Nonverbal Behavioral Changes on the Confidence in Winning a Basketball Game”. The purpose of this article was, to get the opinions from basketball players who have experience and know the game of basketball through watching video of players who are playing basketball while trying to decide on what the “nonverbal behavior” of the players is showing. (Furley and Schweizer 316). You can see a difference between those of teams that are winning and losing especially when the score between that of the two teams is not relatively close. Through their findings the researchers discovered what you would think that the people watching the video would think. That is that the people watching the video gained more confidence as the deficit between the two teams grew. This relates to Gee’s article as a similarity towards a discourse considering that once again this has a relation to being a part of a basketball team and having to know how to act with your teammates. This article is more closely related to the third article as they both are discussing body language as a form of communication and sense of how things are relayed to teammates or opponents.  

The third article that will be discussed is, “Bodily Communication in Basketball”. Through being able to read not only your own teammates body language but able to read the opponents and their body language is an important concept to be able to have. The reading of body language allows for anticipation and through that anticipation creates confidence in a player (Raiola, Tafuri and Paloma 13). While the communication aspect in this article may not be with how the communication works with in your team. It does deal with how being able to read the so called “body communication” of the other team can create different advantages for not only yourself but the rest of your team. In the findings it was discovered that in fact being able to read the body communications of your opponent do in fact create advantages for yourself and team whether that be through confidence for yourself and team or the creation of anticipation tactics for yourself and teammates (Raiola, Tafuri and Paloma 14). Which would then lead you to being able to use the things you learned and communicate that back to your teammates.  

Through all three of these articles, it is demonstrated how there is not just verbal communication that plays a part in all parts of talking between you and your teammates. That includes “body communication” from Raiola, Tafuri, and Paloma or “nonverbal behavior” from Furley and Schweizer of being shown through a player and the way that may possibly be acting in a game. This all relates back to that of secondary discourse as people that do not necessarily have the knowledge of how basketball works in a players’ mind would not understand everything that is going through a player’s mind. Compared to those that do know the game and all the communication, verbal and nonverbal communication that goes on in a game. That would then create a secondary discourse as discussed in Gee’s article as secondary discourse is something learned that you either enjoy or are a part of like a team, which not everyone would want to be a part of. Communication in basketball is important no matter what the situation is as there are so many things going on and while you may not be able to focus on all of them at once. Being able to know how to handle the situations by communicating with your team and teammates can only help the situation. While you may possibly be able to argue that for some people that communication in basketball can be a primary discourse, the terms would be very slim. You would most likely need to have grown up around basketball through your family and knowing the game from your family but other than that it is hard to argue that communication in basketball is anything other than secondary discourse. Communication in basketball can simply be put as a secondary discourse and it would be hard to argue that it is primary or dominant discourse as primary is learned through your household and dominant is a wealthier type of speaking.  

Works Cited 

Bourbousson, Jerome, et al. “Team Coordination in Basketball: Description of the Cognitive Connections Among Teammates.” Journal of Applied Sport Psychology (2010): 150-166. 

Furley, Philip and Geoffrey Schweizer. “”I’m Pretty Sure That We Will Win!”:The Influence of Score-Related Nonverbal Behavioral Changes on the Confidence in Winning a Basketball Game.” Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology (2014): 316-320. 

Gee, James. “What is Literacy.” Journal of Education (1989): 18-25. 

Raiola, Gaetano, et al. “BODILY COMMUNICATION IN BASKETBALL.” Sport Science 8 (2015): 13-18. 


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Understanding Literacy in Our Lives by Anonymous English 102 Writer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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