How Deaf Basketball Players Communicate on the Court

How Deaf Basketball Players Communicate on the Court

We look at athletes nearly every day and admire their physical skill and strength, as well as the will and determination it took to reach the place they are in right now. It truly is a remarkable thing, and they well deserve all the benefits that go alongside it. However, there are other players who deserve our attention and respect equally, or even more so –athletes with disabilities. If you have ever watched the Paralympics, you have had the chance to hear some amazing stories of how people worked to overcome their physical disabilities and achieve amazing results. This text will be tackling something just as amazing –how deaf basketball players communicate in court.

How can deaf people play basketball?

While it does sound a bit difficult to perform, the conditions that a basketball court provides are more than sufficient: well-lit and not exposed to the weather, which is all that deaf people need. Basically, their playing does not differ greatly from the playing of hearing players. As in any team, they have developed signs that point to certain tactical moves, which players should be guarded, whether the team should play defense or offense.

So what makes their playing different?

Since deaf players have the added difficulty of not being able to hear, they learned to rely on body language, and are pretty good at decoding what both their teammates and their opponents are about to do. As far as communication within the team is concerned, they communicate by using sign language and facial expressions. If a deaf basketball team has a hearing coach who is not fluent in sign language, it is not unusual for the coach to hire a sign language translator, who can deliver the instructions to the players on the court in real-time, without delay.

What are the most obvious obstacles that deaf players face?

The primary and most obvious one is the inability to hear the whistle being blown. In order to stop the game, the referee has to find a way to get the players’ attention and explain the infraction to them. This is done by using hand gestures and symbols, and it all has to be done fairly quickly, so as not to interrupt the game’s flow.

Can deaf players compete with the hearing?

Of course, even though there are not many deaf basketball players who play professionally out of the Deaf Basketball Leagues; every day, these people show the value of determination and persistence. They are the living proof that with hard work, nothing is impossible.