Thanks to a grant from the Lockeland Springs Neighborhood Association for new adjustable youth basketball hoops, the Shelby Community Center has been able to introduce kids to the game of basketball and further the development of players who have already begun learning the sport. We were also able to introduce a former basketball player and community member to volunteer coaching.
Shelby Community Center introduced 18 kids to the fundamentals of basketball with dribbling and passing drills and were able to meet other kids. They practiced once per week for four weeks. After holding fundament clinics, Shelby Center was able to recruit and participate in Metro Parks’ winter youth basketball league, which was affiliated with the Memphis Grizzlies basketball team. The team of 4-to-6-year-olds were able to learn the game of basketball and compete against other teams at the Z. Alexander Looby Community Center on Rosa L. Parks Boulevard. Out of the 10 kids on the roster, seven of the kids were participating in team basketball for the first time.
Also, with the basketball hoops being adjustable, Shelby Center was also able to accommodate other community basketball partners. Coach Terrance Boyd with Off To College And Not Prison, a local nonprofit directed by Meka Brown, was able to practice with 16 players ages 7-9. Coach Boyd was also instrumental in leading fundamentals with the Pee Wee basketball clinic mentioned previously. Off To College And Not Prison enjoys coming to Shelby Center for active play and practice and is very excited to see the addition of the basketball goals, thanks to LSNA.
Lastly, the boys and girls of the Lockeland Design Center are able to enjoy the basketball goals every day after school! After eating snacks and doing their homework, they are eager to go to the gym! The boys are anxious to compete against each other because they know that scoring is more attainable with these adjustable goals, and the girls are more encouraged to practice their shooting skills. One little girl has actually even taken it upon herself to start shooting alone! Her esteem and competitiveness in basketball has been greatly nurtured with the new addition of the basketball goals.
I would like to also give a special thanks to Coach Shane Morris, who led the 4-6 year old basketball team in their league play. He was instrumental to the implementation of the winter basketball program along with the parents of the players. Shelby Community Center is extremely grateful to have such a supportive community that enjoys one of the great parks that this department has to offer.
Randy Crawley, Jr.