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Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014

YMCA set for little league basketball

Friday, November 16, 2012

sports@standard-democrat.com

SIKESTON -- The YMCA of Southeast Missouri have a plethora of activities for any age.

Their biggest, by far, every year is little league basketball.

For children grades 1-6, they get to enjoy playing a game that is deep rooted within the region and taught teamwork, character and fundamentals.

"Little league basketball is our largest program every year," YMCA Little League Basketball Director Eric Chappell said. "It is our goal to not only equip each player with specific basketball skills, but more importantly, help lead them into being an accomplished young person."

Little league basketball is split between three leagues -- first and second, third and fourth and fifth and sixth grades.

Each league is estimated to have around 80 kids participating.

With a mass amount of players, comes the need for coaches which is done strictly through volunteers.

According to Chappell, each year the YMCA sees upwards of 25 head coaches between the three leagues with numerous assistant coaches on top of that. Volunteers are crucial for making the league work, or run altogether.

"If it wasn't for these people our program could not operate," said Chappell. "Although it is mostly parents of kids in the program that volunteer to coach, we also have numerous people every year that just volunteer and have no ties to any of the kids in the league.

"In today's busy society it means a lot for a person to volunteer this kind of time for the kids in our community."

Not only does the basketball league give children the opportunity to learn the game the right way, it also provides an atmosphere where they can engage in physical activity.

"In today's world, the majority of children do not get the physical activity that they need," Chappell said. "This program will allow the kids to participate in three hours of physical activity each week, and most of the time, this will bleed into the home-life.

"If the kids draw interest in the sport they will most likely want to practice and get better on their own time to add to the practices and games they will participate in each week."

The program allows children to play one game each Saturday within their leagues, which usually consists of around 6 teams per league. Each team practices at least once a week at the discretion of their head coach.

Practices will begin Nov. 26.

"The YMCA of Southeast Missouri believes in nurturing every youth and teen in our community. This program will accomplish that by fostering a positive atmosphere where the kids can learn about teamwork, character, and skill development."