Students from Grades 4 to 6 in Eckville were able to combine fun and leaning, participating in the sixth annual iteration of mini ball. The mini basketball league is running again this year, and was organized as a means to teach younger athletes the essentials of a game of basketball, versing them in all the nuances and specificities of the game’s rules.
Four different co-ed teams of boys and girls performed a series of drills that taught the basics of the game while overseen by Cody Magneson, athletic coordinator for Eckville Junior Senior High School and a number of student coaches from the high school.
There was a greal deal of enthusiasm and willingness to learn evident in how the young athletes carried themselves during the practice session on April 11, at the school gymnasium, at Eckville Junior Senior High School. If there was any difficulty faced in learning the basics, it was not evident in the quick manner by which each athlete picked up on the techniques they were taught.
“We got a record amount of students. A total of 42 kids signed up this year,” said an enthusiastic Magneson, taking a break from coaching to speak with the Echo. “We split the kids into four different teams, and four different sets of high school kids are coaching them too.”
The five-week program ensures that all who participate get plenty of practice, drilling them on every aspect of the game, from the assorted types of passes to the proper techniques for shooting on the net. At the end of the week, each team gets to play two games.
“Basically, we’re teaching kids how to play, but we’re also teaching them basic life skills like teamwork and leadership, that are involved in ball,” said Magneson.
Magneson noted that kids involved in the program love it, and that as soon as the school year starts up, they ask about when it begins.
He added, “both students and coaches get excited, every year, when this starts up.”