Organizers gearing up for spring basketball program

Basketball season may be over, but some players aren’t so eager to take a break from the game.

Basketball season may be over, but some players aren’t so eager to take a break from the game.

For Veronica Den Oudsten, who coaches boys’ basketball at Central Alberta Christian High School, that isn’t a problem.

In fact it’s a good thing as she is starting a springtime basketball league to help players continue to develop their skills in the off-season. “The reason behind it is just to have the basketball in the kids’ hands a few more times over the course of the year.”

Working on skills in the off-season gives players the chance to work on fundamentals and practice without the pressure of competition that exists during the regular season, she said.

She added that some basketball players don’t participate in other sports the rest of the year and the spring league gives them a few more opportunities to play and keep active in sports outside of the regular season. Den Oudsten said that the spring league is different from practices during the basketball season because she will spend more time teaching skills and less time spent on conditioning. She added that it will focus more on single player skills rather than team skills.

“The idea, the premise of it is to develop fundamentals, to focus on fundamentals,” she said. “And of course giving them the opportunity to play because everybody likes to play.”

Another way Den Oudsten’s program differs is the level of commitment.

She said that her spring league is done on a kind of drop-in basis. While there is a core group of players who register and come to all the weekly sessions, there is no actual attendance expectations for those participating.

In the last couple years that Den Oudsten has been running programs like this, there are typically around 30 players that participate in the program with a core group of 10-15 who show up for every session.

Sessions are held once a week and Den Oudsten reiterated that there is no commitment to show up.

She added that there is an actual competitive spring league in Central Alberta and that there are teams from Lacombe that play in that league. While her program is not related to the actual league, it still does give players a less serious opportunity to continue playing and developing in the off-season.

“Any kid that spends extra time trying to develop skills is going to get better,” she said. “If a kid is interested in learning than this is the place to go to try and focus on some of that.”

The Spring League Basketball program is open to both male and female players in Grades 9 to 11. It runs once a week at Central Alberta Christian High School from May 1 to May 28. For more information or to register, contact Veronica Den Oudsten at 403-318-0349.