There is something to be said for experience. When I play basketball these days, physically I can’t keep up with the girls who are half my age, but there are times I still feel strong. Not in the way that I pull down rebounds or run the court, but in my knowledge of the game, my understanding of what makes a winning team. When my son can’t get the upper hand wrestling against my husband, he complains, “It’s not fair, you’re ‘Old Man Strong.’”

Old Man Strong = Experience.

My husband is a three-time state wrestling champion and a former college athlete. He has muscle memory and more important a history and knowledge of how to use his body. A different but very real strength that is often more powerful than the ability to lift more weight.

Why am I telling you all of this? For you coaches it’s a reminder of how important your knowledge is in building the strength of your players and your team. Do they understand how to use their body to block out and get a rebound so they have the upper hand against a bigger, stronger opponent? Do your players understand how to keep their bodies low and ready to move when they are on defense so they can beat a faster player to their spot? Have you taught them to use ball fakes so they can attack the basket and leave their defender behind? Your knowledge of the game will make them stronger.

If you’re a player, listen. Listen to your coaches. Be open to learn as much as possible about the game. Sometimes you can even learn from old ladies like myself, who shuffle up and down the court, but who know how to run an old-fashioned fast break, who aren’t afraid to give up the three pointer and wait for the trailer to come through the middle for an easy layin.

And for the non-ballers, remember whether you’re young or old, be open to learning. In the end more knowledge, whether it’s about how to do your job, enjoy your hobby, or better your life, will make you stronger and allow you to follow your dreams.