In a training session that went beyond just basketball skills, local youths had the chance to learn about life skills from Adelaide 36ers assistant coach Kevin Brooks.
The session was held at the Whyalla Basketball Association court in Jubilee Park last Friday, with a total of 95 kids between five and 17 years old participating.
Mr Brooks said the session taught young athletes life skills like punctuality, socialising, teamwork, and communication.
“Lack of self-esteem and confidence is a big issue in society today, and we can help address that through basketball,” he said.
Three coaches and players from Premier League team Central Districts joined Mr Brooks to run the session: Ricky Simpson, Ricardo Martin and Remie Simpson.
Mr Brooks said the kids were ‘awesome’ on the day.
“They were listening to their coaches and their eyes would follow you as you moved one way or the other. That’s what you want to see as a coach,” he said. “There are a lot of good players here, a lot of talent here.”
Having grown up in White Castle, Louisiana, which at a population of 1883 is significantly smaller than Whyalla, Mr Brooks feels right at home in the regions.
“We’ve got one red light, and if you catch that light on green you don’t even know you’ve been through a town,” he said.
“Basketball has afforded me a lot. A lot of coaches have contributed to me getting here now so I look forward to giving that back to kids in Whyalla, in Adelaide, all over.”
Whyalla Basketball Association representative Ruth Rowlands hoped that the kids would go back to their clubs to talk about what they learnt during the session.
“Anytime there is a basketball in your hand, you are getting better,” she said.
“The coaches were really amazing with the kids. They did a fantastic job.”
The training event was sponsored by Industrial Pluming Solutions, DVM Accounting, GFG Alliance and the Alexander Motel.
The sponsorship helped to subsidise 70 spots for aspiring young basketballers in the program.