Nechako Valley Secondary’s basketball camp for elementary students showcased multi-generations of the sport last week.
Over 40 kids from grades 3 to 7 filled the school’s gymnasium with swishes, squeaks, and cheer for the 29th Annual Viking Basketball Hoop Camp after school from Feb. 29 to March 4.
It’s an opportunity for members of the NVSS senior boys basketball team to give back to the community, explained event organizer Gary Simrose.
“The senior boys are the coaches,” he said, adding that they also acted as referees during game play. “They develop a rapport throughout the week with the team.”
Out of eight coaches at the week-long basketball camp — two for each team — Tykenn Kilpatrick, Caleb Jensen, and Jonathan Mueller won the Most Promising Coach Award of the event, for their enthusiasm and the most success in the improvement of their players.
All three coaches coached basketball camps in the past, with Jensen also winning the award last year.
For Jensen, it’s a fun opportunity to coach the children of those who previously coached him in basketball.
For Kilpatrick, it’s a chance to pass on his skills, and he enjoyed seeing how much the players progressed throughout the week.
For Mueller, with his siblings taking in the camp, he enjoyed watching them play and have fun in the game.
“Even from the first day to second day, they just improved every day,” he said.
The week-long camp provides the young players of all levels an opportunity to learn and practise the various aspects of the game each day, including game play, explained event organizer Gary Simrose.
“We teach them the value of warmup, ball handling, passing, shooting, defence, team play, rebounding, and the different stages of the game,” Simrose said. “We usually see quite an improvement throughout the week.
“On Friday, all the skills are evident at the competition.”
Players are separated into four teams, in which they followed a routine of warmup, general skills, and game play for the first four days of the basketball camp. On Friday, a foul shot tournament took place, as well as consolation and championship games to determine each team’s final ranking for the event.
For Treyken Stephen, 8, it’s his first time playing basketball.
“I never played before, and I would like a chance to play,” Stephen said, adding that he enjoyed competing against another team, as well as playing defence.
For parent Allan Kryzanowski, whose son Lucas, Grade 3, expressed his interest in trying the sport for the first time at the camp last week, it’s a well-organized event, allowing the players to build their confidence, he said.“It’s a good thing for the children of the community,” Kryzanowski said. “To encourage them in participating in whatever they want.”
Lucas also tried soccer in the past, but not hockey or football, as they are rougher and more physical, he said.
“[Playing basketball] builds a lot of eye-hand coordination, cardio, and group effort,” Kryzanowski said. “Keeps him off his electronics, but not too much ‘cause that’s the way of the future.”