Sharpening those basketball skills

Ty Nelson practices dribbling the ball during Waterville Youth Sports Saturday morning basketball Feb. 2. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)


By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

Brooke Kopta and Holly Finkbeiner work on a dribbling exercise. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

Many Waterville elementary school children had their first session of Saturday basketball drills on Feb. 2. From the looks of it, they loved the chance to work in a concentrated manner on dribbling, shooting and passing.

The sessions are led by Waterville Youth Sports and will run on Saturdays through Feb. 16. A second set of sessions will be held in March, with specific dates to be determined.

Children in kindergarten through second grade practice from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. led by Abby O?Brien, and children in third through sixth grade practice from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. led by Josh Barnes.

The Saturday basketball practices are designed to help children develop strong fundamental basketball skills. Instruction for the younger group focuses on the basic skills themselves, while the older group focuses on the basic skills and how to use the moves together in a game.

Rosemary Holcomb works on a dribbling exercise with Delainey Nelson in back. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

The sessions are free.

O?Brien is a 2002 Waterville High School graduate and played basketball from the time she was in elementary school through high school. She remembers Saturday morning basketball when she was young.

?It?s a fun way to get kids involved, get some exercise and get them familiar with the game,? O?Brien said.

O?Brien?s daughter, Ellie, who is in second grade, is participating in Saturday basketball for the third year in a row. O?Brien said she likes the shooting drills the best.

Beginning in third grade the children can join AAU basketball teams, which play from November through January. This past fall, Waterville had four AAU teams in the Eastmont Metro Parks and Recreation League.

Wendy Nelson brought her son, Ty, who is in third grade to the Feb. 2 practice. Nelson said that Ty loves basketball and loves to be able to be with his friends on Saturday mornings.

For more information about Saturday basketball or Waterville Youth Sports, see the organization?s Facebook page.