ActiveSG: Passing skills to kids

Jr NBA coach Chris Sumner (centre) jumps during a training session organised by ActiveSG Basketball Academy at the Sengkang Sports Hall. The free two-hour clinic was open to kids between five and 14 years old.
Jr NBA coach Chris Sumner (centre) jumps during a training session organised by ActiveSG Basketball Academy at the Sengkang Sports Hall. The free two-hour clinic was open to kids between five and 14 years old.ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

Over 350 kids receive basketball pointers in first Jr NBA S'pore open clinic; 1,400 more to benefit

The air at Sengkang Sports Hall yesterday was filled with the excited voices of more than 350 children, in their crisp white Jr National Basketball Association (NBA) kits, as they happily hopped and skipped around in a warm-up session.

Jr NBA Asia head coach Chris Sumner, who led the warm-up, was impressed with the children's enthusiasm and praised their vibrant energy, saying: "Working with some of the local kids, it turned out exactly like how I thought.

"They're so energetic and no matter how tired they are, they're still so ready to go.

"The kids have exceeded expectations, and shown the desire to get better in basketball."

Sumner was speaking on the sidelines of the inaugural Jr NBA Singapore open clinic afternoon session, which he conducted alongside more than 30 local coaches. The free two-hour clinic, open to boys and girls between five and 14 years old, was also held in the morning.

Another two sessions will be held at Choa Chu Kang Sports Hall today, in an effort to reach out to all parts of Singapore. About 1,400 children are expected to turn out for this weekend's clinics hoping to pick up pointers from the basketball superpower.

Sumner said: "We're implementing our own coaching style from the Jr NBA, and even though it is a little bit unique and different, it's not something that can't be taught to everyone else.

"We'll focus on aspects such as defence, shooting and footwork - all important parts of basketball and these fundamentals should be fairly okay to put across to these kids who know the sport from young."

American Sumner has been in the Jr NBA set-up for the past three years in South-east Asia and has experience coaching youths from Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

One budding basketballer who hopes to benefit from the clinic is 13-year-old Matthias Seah. The Pei Hwa Secondary 1 student said: "Through this programme, I wish to practise my skills and improve my fitness.

"I'm in my school's basketball (co-curricular activity) but I'm not that good yet to make the first team. I joined the clinic in order to have a better chance of making it into my school team."

For Manjusri Secondary School student Celest Lee, she hopes to impart the knowledge from the clinic to her fellow school basketballers. The 14-year-old said: "This session allows me to work on my weak points like my footwork and dribbling. I will also be able to take back the key learning points back to my C Division team so that we can become better as one."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 31, 2016, with the headline 'Passing skills to kids'. Print Edition | Subscribe