When Did Steve Nash Start Playing Basketball?

By Joe Haefner

According to an interview posted by NBA.com, Steve Nash did not start playing basketball until he was 12 or 13 years old. Yes, a 2-time MVP of the NBA did not start playing basketball until he was nearly a teenager.

There seems to be this myth circulating among parents and coaches that you need to start a child early in “Organized” sports in order to be successful. The sad thing is that the complete opposite often happens, because kids:

  1. Lose interest, because sports aren’t fun anymore.
  2. Get burned out.
  3. Get injured – play too many games.
  4. Don’t get enough playing time.
  5. Get too much pressure placed on them to win.

The list could go on and on.

I’m not against organized sports. I think with the right approach, it can be very beneficial.

Here are some things I guarantee that occurred during Steve Nash’s childhood:

  1. Played multiple sports – This helped him develop into a great overall athlete. Did you know Nash was a very good soccer player? I believe he still plays some during the offseason.
  2. Developed a passion himself – I can almost guarantee he wasn’t forced to practice by his parents. Do you think you would be passionate about something if you were forced to do it?
  3. Plenty of free play – played sports in the backyard or playground without adult supervision and instruction. Don’t you think it would be beneficial for kids to solve problems and socialize without an adult instructing them how to do everything? We’re not developing robots, are we?
  4. Coaches made it fun. When I say fun, I’m not talking about hosting practices where the coaches and players skip around together singing Kum-Ba-Yah.

I’m referring to coaches:

  • Being positive.
  • Complimenting way more than criticizing. Try using Phil Jackson’s magic ratio of 5 compliments to 1 criticism or Morgan Wootten’s sandwich technique with a compliment – criticism – compliment. I honestly don’t even like to call them criticisms. I think using the term “teaching point” puts coaches in a better mindset to teach rather than just point out a flaw.
  • Disciplining (not punishing).
  • Using fun drills & games to improve skills.
  • Teaching with some enthusiasm.
  • Challenging the athletes through progressions while not making it too difficult or too easy.

Let’s stop all of this ultra-competitive athletics at an early age and develop KIDS the right way!


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  1. Todd — July 19, 2009 @ 5:23 pm

    I agree 100%. Great post. Steve Nash grew up in Victoria, B.C. where I now live. I know people who know him and his parents. Steve played lacrosse, soccer, basketball, rugby and who knows what else growing up. Keep spreading the message of having fun. Thank you.

  2. basketball blogs — August 27, 2009 @ 6:14 am

    I think one of the important parts that forgot to mention is how poorly early sports leagues prepare a player for individual positions. If you are a fairly big kid but your parents aren’t very tall and you don’t suspect you are going to become very big when you are all grown, chances are you are going to be playing as a power forward or a center all throughout early league play when realistically, you should be playing as a guard. If you get stuck into a playing a certain role or style too young then it’s harder to kick down the line when you grow into your more natural position.

  3. Todd — August 28, 2009 @ 1:09 pm

    It is important that kids get exposed to many different activities so they can find an area they excel in. Too many times it is the coaches and parents that are over concerned with winning and losing and that leaves a bad taste in the mouth of young players. Kids will grow and their bodies change, so remember to give all students basic skills and let them see where their talents lie.

  4. Ndamukong Suh & Footwork — December 30, 2009 @ 7:45 pm

    [...] When Did Steve Nash Start Playing Basketball? [...]

  5. 13 year old baller — July 12, 2010 @ 8:20 am

    I was forced by my parents when i turned 8, I just hated it because they were pushing me, I knew they had good intentions but making me feel bad wouldn’t get me to do it. But now I’m 13 and I want to play varsity, I am tall like they said but that shouldn’t be my motivation. Now I’m aspiring to play basketball. :))

  6. c — July 3, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

    Is 16 too old to start playing?

  7. nanakwame23 — November 7, 2012 @ 11:19 am

    its good to let kids have fun and decide where they are good at. i started playing basketball at 16 in high school. am 19yrs now and playin basketball for my college in Ghana, and also aiming for the nba someday.

  8. nic — January 10, 2014 @ 3:55 am

    this website is very helpful to us.we use some tactics written here and we’re still undefeated in the kids basketball association(KBA)

  9. lebronjames — January 10, 2014 @ 3:56 am

    this is helpful

  10. When Did Steve Nash Start Playing Basketball? | Steve Nash Youth Basketball Coaches' Blog — January 13, 2014 @ 10:19 am

    […] Article Source: http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/blog/index.php/when-did-steve-nash-start-playing-basketball/ […]

  11. Jim Peddle — November 22, 2017 @ 11:48 pm

    Getting cut from a team early on can be a positive. Kids will choose other sports so find what you love:

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