By Doug Comer
From the World of Parks and Recreation
Throughout the month of December, any youngsters between the ages of six to nine are welcome to sign up for Youth Basketball which will begin in January 2023. There will be two age categories: six and seven will make up the younger group, and eight and nine accounts for the older group. This program has been in existence for decades and many in the area have benefited from it during its time.
Recreation Specialist Jack Cann, who heads up the program, says that the numbers are a little sluggish to start but has a good feeling about a change in the registration process as he explained.
“In previous years, we offered certain evenings during the week to allow those to come and register their kids at our office,” Cann said. “Today, we have added online registration for those who may not be able to come in during those scheduled hours and already people are starting to take advantage of the online system. And it seems that once the kids are finished with school during the holiday break, we have a flooding of people coming in during the normal business hours to sign up.”
Historically, the process has always included some late registration, which is fine and already anticipated. We want to have as many kids at that age level to get involved in this league as it is a feeder system for Jerry West and Travel Leagues. Keeping kids active during the winter months and away from the electronic devices is something we want to accomplish.
“The whole preference of this league is to expose kids to the game of basketball and teach the basics of defense, dribbling, passing, and shooting,” Cann said. “It is my job to have the teams organized and the schedules ready in order to make it run as smooth as possible. This year, we are bringing back volunteer coaches in hopes of getting more participation and allowing the citizens of Harrison County to give back to their community.”
Expectations of the league are a few weeks of practice learning the basic fundamentals of basketball, and once the players are ready, they will have competitive games between the teams in each division. We do not keep score as the goal is to help kids along the way with improving each week both defensively and offensively. Again, all we want to do is open the game to kids who want to learn to play basketball, as well as keep kids active during the winter months. Cann agrees on all subjects.
“Our league is simply an intro to basketball,” Cann explained. “We want to teach the basic fundamentals and make the game enjoyable to the kids. Later on, they will learn about the competitiveness of the sport, as well as all the other aspects that go along with it, but here we want it to be all about the fun. There will be kids who will fall in love with the game and may pursue it throughout their school span, and there will be others who may stop earlier than that. But it is our job to give them the chance to play the game and make their own decision on whether it is perfect for them or not.”
For more information or to register your child for the league, please contact the parks department at 304-423-7800.