Getting girls into the game

Each Saturday for two hours, a group of coaches lead by Redever Ebanks spend their time grooming the next generation of female basketballers, teaching young girls the basics of the sport.

The academy is hosted by the Women of Valor Basketball Club and focuses on those between the ages of six and 11. The club, which has been around for 12 years, has historically focused on young women between the ages of 12 and 19 and has created opportunities for emerging stars to play overseas.

“For many years, we’ve just been developing basketball from the high school level and we felt that there was a need to have kids more prepared to come into that after school programme,” Mr Ebanks explained. “We wanted to provide a feeder system in order to keep that programme alive.”

The training academy, which is held each Saturday at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Centre from 10:00 a.m. to noon, is structured to expose the girls to the sport, provide skill sessions, build a foundation of fundamentals and introduce goal setting for future levels of training.

Women of Valor Academy 2

“We want to get them to love the game. It’s not about killing them with drills and turning them into superstars. We’ll incorporate fun games with them that also teach them skills so that by the time they get old enough to come to our main programme, they are equipped to jump right in and get into the mix of things with everyone,” Mr Ebanks said, as around a dozen young girls participated in a variety of exercises on the court.

A number of players who’ve grown through the Women of Valor club join Coach Ebanks each week, working with the young girls and leading them through various basketball activities.

“The reason why I get them involved is because obviously I won’t be around forever. Therefore, you need to build a base of coaches to help spread the basketball [knowledge]. Once you have more coaches, there’s the potential to have more coaches.”

A big focus is developing a high level of sportsmanship and an enthusiasm to learn, skills which will help the young girls not only on the court but in other aspects of their lives as they grow older.

“Together, we can help young women of the Cayman Islands reach their goals, become better citizens and develop the sport of basketball in our country,” the Women of Valor Head Coach said.

Dart has readily provided the facility for the academy to be held and participation costs $50 per school term to offset operational expenses.

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