Fishing skills

SKILLS & EXERCISES: Local young hoop players hone their skills at weekly clinic | Local sports


Bill Melvin was looking for a way to give young Cape Ann basketball players more opportunities to work on their skills.

The director of the Cape Ann Girls Youth Basketball program, a travel program for local players in elementary and middle schools, was looking for ways to involve a younger generation of players in the sport; So he enlisted the help of a GHS Hall of Fame hoopster.

Jay Pratt, a 2000 GHS graduate who has four daughters, three of them of basketball age, stepped in to help Melvin by running a skills and drill clinic for young players. The clinic is open to players in Grades 3 to 8 and takes place every Monday evening at the Cape Ann YMCA (6-7 p.m.).

“I wanted to get involved with my daughters who are starting to learn the sport,” said Pratt. “Bill is the driving force behind it. He gave me the keys and we are focusing on teaching as many kids as possible to play. The turnout has been excellent, especially for the school-aged children. “

The clinic, which has seen between 20 and 40 players show up each week, is currently in week four of its six-week summer session, which followed the summer league. The skills and drills camps began in the winter of 2020, providing players with consistent opportunities to play the sport.

With varying ages, experience and skills of players, Pratt emphasized the fundamentals of the game. Dribbling, passing, shooting, bouncing, moving without the ball. All players are given drills to work on these foundational skills during the first half of practice.

“We have eight-year-olds who are playing for the first time and 13-year-olds who have played for several years,” said Pratt. “So we really focus on the basics. We try to develop them every week and add more and more skills as we go.”

The second half of the session divides the players by age (elementary and middle school), where they compete against each other.

“It’s important for them to compete with each other as well,” said Pratt. “They are all having fun with it and they are doing so much better.”

Skills and Drills have already paid dividends in terms of participation. For the first time this summer, Cape Ann has joined for the first time a fourth-grade travel team to accompany its youth teams through eighth grade. The Cape Ann Youth Girls program plays its regular season during the winter months.