2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture

Katja Sonkeng

University of Georgia
Exploring the Healing Touch of pickup basketball as a self-care method for educators and helping professionals. An ethnographic approach.

Whether it is celebrating a basket with high fives, handshakes, or hugging each other after a victory, pickup basketball involves plenty of moments in which positive physical contact occurs. As shown by ample research, physical touch between adults can have significant health benefits (Crawford, 2003). The so-called Healing Touch is among the most common coping strategies and widely used as a complementary approach that aims to restore harmony and balance in the energy system to help a person self-heal (Post-White et al., 2003). The purpose of this paper is to explore the “healing touch” of pickup basketball as a self-care method. Using an ethnographic approach, participant observation and semi-structured face-to-face interviews will be conducted. Findings include specific examples that created a comfortable, safe, and empowering environment, transcending race, gender, and cultural differences. Practical recommendations will be provided, such as the creation of more pickup basketball opportunities on campus and active communication of its existence.