Kids have their eye on the hoop as they go through a footwork and layup drill at PRMBA practice. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Footwork and fundamentals: minor basketball classes return to Prince Rupert

The next generation of basketball talent is getting started on the game’s keys to success

The sounds of squeaky shoes and bouncing rubber balls are once again a constant at the civic centre gymnasium as minor basketball has started up for the season in Prince Rupert.

Dozens of kids ranging in age from Grades 3 to 8 took to the court on Thursday night for one of the multiple practices held each week. Charles Hays men’s basketball head coach Kevin Sawka ran the session, with the aid of his dedicated volunteers.

“It’s love of the game, getting everyone out and being active and having fun,” Kerry Crump, president of the Prince Rupert Minor Basketball Association (PRMBA), said on what she wants the program to emphasize.

Charles Rainmakers basketball head coach Kevin Sawka will see many of these athletes on his Rainmakers high school team in a few years. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

It’s the second week of the classes, as kids ran through the building blocks of the sport, spending drills working on layups, passing, footwork and more.

“Fundamentals are really key,” Sawka said. “Everything starts with footwork.”

“A lot of people think that there’s some kind of secret [to basketball success],” Sawka explained. “There’s no secret. It’s mastering fundamentals, and then loading all of those skills that build off of those fundamentals.”

Kevin Sawka wraps up the session with a recap of what the class learned, and a look ahead. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

READ MORE: Professional basketball camp comes to Prince Rupert, only stop in Canada

Volunteers position themeselves around the gym during sessions, taking on small groups of kids for the different drills. Their work allows students to receive more one-on-one attention with regards to their performance and technique.

“We have a really great group of people helping out this year and dedicating a lot of time to our program, which is the only way that it’s possible to run it,” Crump said. “We’re really grateful for all of them.”

Sawka says there is always room for more help though. “We need more adults. We need people that are passionate in the community, not just people that have kids in [the program].”

Volunteers like Matt Allen help give personalized advice to the students. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

READ MORE: Rainmakers to Ringmakers: Prince Rupert athletes celebrate provincial basketball victory

Classes for Grades 3 to 6 will run until the end of January, while the Grade 7 to 8 kids practice until December. Sessions will include mid-season and year-end tournaments to give the kids some competitive experience, and showcase the skills they have learned during class.

Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
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