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

2.7.3 Communication in basketball: More vital than thought to be (prospectus)

Anonymous English 102 Writer

March 2021

For my research essay I plan on continuing with the topic of communication in basketball. I am choosing to write about this topic as I have always enjoyed not just watching sports but playing along with learning the different aspects of different sports. More specifically though, in this paper I will focus on basketball and the communication along with different literacy practices that are used throughout the sport of basketball. Such as posing questions like “What kind of literacy practices do basketball players use?” or “What kinds of research has been done on basketball communication?”

Academic fields that have a special interest in a topic such as this one is fields psychology, sports sciences, and coaching along with management. These fields are all something that has some sort of connection to that of sports including basketball. Coaching and management are the obvious one for being interested in this topic as this directly relates to them. Sports science has an interest in communication in basketball as sports science will relate to all different aspects of science through sport which could include the psychology of players or the effect communication can have on a game or team.

Communication in basketball while it may not seem like there is much relation between the topic and writing studies. There is it just is not presented up front or necessarily seen by people in the public. It is more behind the scenes where you will see the communication and writing come to life. The most communication that you will see as an outsider of basketball is during the game and that is between timeouts and during the game with the talking and communicating between players and coaches. However, outside of the games there is many other times where there is communication between players and coaches whether it be in film or in practices. Overall, without having communication in basketball between the players and coaches you are ultimately setting yourself and team up for disaster as it is one of the vital roles that is needed along with talent to ensure a successful team. Basketball communication is influential in other sports also as you often will find terms that originated or are mostly used in basketball will sometimes get used in other sports. An example of how this is used is the term “boxout” is often used or related towards the sport of basketball. However, that term of “boxout” is also used in football in relation to receivers “boxing out” the defender to keep them away from making a break on the football as easy.

To begin this paper, I will begin with an introduction that will introduce the topic of communication in basketball along with the reasoning for writing this paper. I will then introduce what academic fields have an interest in this topic which can be found in the paragraph above. The personal connection that I have to this topic will then be discussed next along with personal experiences that I have had while being a part of basketball and the communication aspect of it. Then I will end it with the thesis statement to help lead into my first body paragraph. Communication and literacy in basketball can play a large role in the success of a team.

To address my first research question of “What kind of literacy practices do basketball players use?” I will start off with the different types of communication that go on during a basketball game. In doing this I start off by using the source, “Using Non-Verbal Communication in Sports” along with a source of “The Discourse of Basketball.” The last source that will be used is “BODILY COMMUNICATION IN BASKETBALL” which covers another area of communication in basketball and that is being able to read the opponents body language along with your own teammates body language. This will help describe the communication that goes on in a game and practices between players and coaches. To help with the understanding of discourses I will also use an article by James Gee called “What is Literacy.” With how communication is used in basketball now known I will use more sources to help give examples of different examples of communication used in basketball. The first source I will use is Jeff Haefner’s article “How to Develop Great Defensive Communication” along with Kyle Ohman’s “The Value of Communication in Basketball” and Christopher Riches “Defining Communication Between Half Court Defenders.” I will use different examples from these three articles on communication that gets used between players and coaches to help them throughout a game. Continuing on with this topic of communication between players I will explain the importance that having these good communication skills and words can help boost a team. In not only helping each other out but could ultimately lead to a win for your team. This will then lead me to my next research question.

My second research question is “What kinds of research has been done on basketball communication?” I will discuss how this research is able to show how it can help along with a team and the success they have. To help support this statement I will the source by Phillip Furley and Geoffrey Schweizer “I’m Pretty Sure that We Will Win! The Influence of Score-Related Nonverbal Behavior Changes on the Confidence in Winning a Basketball Game.” along with Michael J. Rifenburg’s article “The Literate Practices of a Division II Men’s Team.” These two articles will help show how communication has impacted their teams along with showing the research done for their articles. Moving onto the psychological factor that communication gives to a team which can be overlooked while assessing a team. I can use personal experience to help demonstrate how psychological teams can beat themselves even if they are better than the other team. The source of “Coaches’ Use of Positive Tactile Communication in Collegiate Basketball.” Along with the source of “Team Coordination in Basketball: Description of Cognitive Connections Among Teammates.” The use of communication in some sort of relation to the previous sources of being able to bring a group of players together even if they are not all in relation to the same ethnicity or culture. Robin Bell and Carlos F. Riol’s article “The Impact of Cross-Cultural Communication on Collective Efficacy in NCAA Basketball Teams.” Being able to have a team that can get along and understand each other is very important in having success as a team.

Following the second research question, I will start to summarize what was discussed between the first and second research question. Pulling out the main ideas from the two paragraphs and going into more detail while explaining them more as compared to the importance to communication in basketball. I will then combine this stuff into the conclusion paragraph of the paper where I restate the thesis and main ideas that I wanted to get across as discussed in the beginning. The main idea is just how important communication in basketball is between not only the success of a team but how well cohesively they are between each other. As communication will often bring teams closer together and help the chemistry between them.

Annotated Bibliography

Alexander, Danielle, et al. “Coaches’ Use of Positive Tactile Communication in Collegiate Basketball.” International Sport Coaching Journal (2021): 91-100

Through this article it was discussed on how using positive communication between the coach and players can increase the performance of players. In it would also talk about how bonds between teammates grows stronger with the more positive communication rather than the use of negative communication. By the end of the study the researchers had found that in fact positive communication does in fact strengthen the bond between players and coaches. Along with increased performance by the players through practices and games.

Bell, Robin and Carlos F. Riol. “The Impact of Cross-Cultural Communication on Collective Efficacy in NCAA Basketball Teams.” International Journal of Cross Cultural Management (2017): 175-195

From the article by Bell and Riol it describes how being able to communicate in basketball through different cultures of languages can benefit those in power of coaching. It would take into account different communication factors and how effective they were shown throughout practices and games between the coaches and players. Through the research it was determined that those teams that had “cross-cultural” factors strongest had the higher effectiveness rating compared to that of teams that did not have strong “cross-cultural” factors.

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

Being discussed in this article is how teammates communicate with each other while playing in a game. It was determined that most players have one player that they prefer to communicate with while on the floor. They still all would communicate with one another while being on the floor just not as much as they did with others. It would also go on to show how the players communicated with coaches between hand signals or verbal communication.

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

In this article by Furley and Schweizer, they would take basketball players and have them watch film from another game while watching the “nonverbal behavior” that was being shown by the players. Through the research they would find that there were distinct differences in the way that players conducted themselves throughout the games on if they were winning or losing. Body language would be present in this article as the main focus of communication; however, it was more so part of demonstrating how you and your team are doing in the game.

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

Gee’s article implements communication through the article by bringing up discourses. There was primary discourse, secondary discourse, and dominant discourse. The primary discourse is communication that you learn from living within your household. Secondary discourse though was learning communication language outside of your household. Dominant discourse unlike the others is a language that is more for people with wealth and not everyone will learn how to speak and communicate with that language.

Haefner, Jeff. “How to Develop Great Defensive Communication.” 1 February 2010. USA Basketball. 15 March 2021.

The article by Jeff Haefner, discusses on how teams can have effective communication in basketball along with different ways to improve the communication. Through effective communication Haefner described examples of communication words that are used while in a game such as saying “Screen” or “Skip”. While discussing how communication can be improved it details drills or different ways to incorporate it while practicing. Defense was described as the side of basketball that was most important in the game, while even though it is important on offense it is more important on defense.

Ohman, Kyle. “The Value of Communication in Basketball.” n.d. Basketball HQ. 15 March 2021.

The article by Ohman is talking about the different aspects that are taken into account with the importance of having communication in basketball. It goes on discussing how and when the communication needs to take place whether it is making sure it is loud communication or having relevance in the communication. Communication in basketball creates different responsibilities for different players throughout a team and in doing so creates accountability for the players that are on the basketball court.

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

In this article, the authors describe how “bodily communication” is used by players to each other and portrays there feeling during the game. They would run research of players throughout a game and the way they reacted to certain things or events. Also taken into account through the article was how players would read the oppositions body in order to anticipate what the opposition might be trying to do. Overall, for the article “bodily communication” can one form of communication for teams and players while it may be good or bad for yourself and team.

Riches, Christopher. “Defining Communication Between Half Court Defenders.” n.d. Functional Basketball Coaching. 15 March 2021.

The article by Christopher Riches, “Defining Communication Between Half Court Defenders” narrows down communication in basketball strictly to how there is communication while playing defense in the half court. This article describes different examples of communication that is used between the players while playing defense. The use of these terms by the team ensure that everyone is on the same page while communicating on defense. So that way there are not as many mix ups between the teammates on what is going on.

Rifenburg, Michael J. “The Literate Practices of a Division II Men’s Basketball Team.” Grassroots Writing Research Journal (2016): 55-64

Rifenburg in his article studies how a Division II basketball team uses different literacy practices throughout the team along with how it affects the team and their performance. The article shows some of the different literacy practices that there are used in basketball such as writing and reading plays. It described how also communication was handled while playing games along with timeouts, when plays would be getting wrote down or discussing things that could be improved on in the game.

“The Discourse of Basketball.” 4 December 2015. Medium. 15 March 2021.

The article, “The Discourse of Basketball” discusses the different discourses that are seen throughout basketball. It then demonstrates how communication in basketball is none of the three primary forms of discourse but rather it is non dominant secondary discourse. The article relates back throughout on the topic of James Paul Gee’s, “Literacy, Discourse, and Linguistics: Introduction” which is where the article gets the idea of discourse. The idea of not only verbal communication being important in basketball but also non-verbal communication such as hand signals being important.

“Using Non-Verbal Communication in Sports.” 17 April 2009. Communication in the Sports World. 15 March 2021.

The article, “Using Non-Verbal Communication in Sports” discusses the different ways that communication is used non verbally in sports. While breaking it down into different sports between football, baseball, and basketball and the communication that is used non verbally. For basketball, they use an example of hand signals between the coach and players on how that is a form of communication non verbally. It describes how also the effects of non verbal communication can lead to the success of a team.


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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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