Young hoopsters hit the hardwood

The familiar sound of sneakers squeaking on the hardwood with the occasional whistle blowing and cheering children filled the Arts and Recreation Centre from 1 – 5 August as more than 100 youngster participated enthusiastically in a basketball camp organised by the Department of Sports.

hoops camp 2“A lot of the kids, you can see the passion and see that they really love the sport,” said coach Daniel Augustine, who coordinated the camp. “All they have to do is keep playing. What we have to do as coaches is try to get the best out of them as they progress.”

The campers were put through various drills to improve on their fundamentals of the game and then were given the opportunity to play in full court 5-on-five games to showcase the skills they sharpened throughout the week.

“We tried to establish a leadership role throughout the entire camp. In regards to basketball skills, we focused on balance a lot, agility, and teaching them how to play as a team,” Augustine explained.

hoops camp 3“What drives us as coaches is that once the kids want to play, half of our job is already finished. All we have to do now is to make sure that we implement the necessary skills to make them an all-round person and an all-around player.”

The coach said he was pleased to have a good mix of boys and girls. “We always want girls to be part of basketball, throughout every age group. So, I was very pleased to see some girls that I have coached within the school, who told me that they like basketball and they’re going to be coming to my camp. I was already ecstatic about that happening,” he said.

“We need to encourage the girls a lot more; not just basketball but sports in general because it helps you become a better person.”

hoops camp 4Several of the youngsters impressed the coaches with their talent, which is something Augustine said was another benefit of the camp.

“We try to recruit some of the kids into our own basketball clubs from here. We always try to choose from their abilities, their enjoyment, the discipline and all of what goes into playing with a club.”

Helping out were 10 coaches including Joshua Ebanks, Sammy O’Garro, Franz Manderson Jr and Arin Taylor. “They are now able to come and give back to the community, which is very crucial element, not only for their development but for the entire Caymanian community,” Augustine said.

Sammy O'Garro slammed a few to the delight of campers.

Sammy O’Garro entertained campers.

Among the highlights were matches between campers and the coaches, some of whom have suited up for the national men’s team. Although camaraderie was great among campers, the loudest cheers came from them when O’Garro, who plays professionally in Europe, threw down dunks over players half his size.

“This was more than a successful week. I enjoyed coaching every camper and I look forward to having them again next year,” Augustine told at the end of the five-day camp.

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