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Jarrett sees growth for Hoops Kidz camp

Published:Tuesday | July 3, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Jamie Hastings demonstrates how to do a proper dunk to children at the Hoop Kidz basketball camp at Jamaica College yesterday.

The inaugural Hoop Kidz basketball camp got a low turn out for its opening at Jamaica College yesterday. However, Basil Jarrett, organiser and founder of the initiative, which is geared towards developing fundamentals and a love for the game at the grass-roots level, said they anticipated that the FIFA World Cup would affect participation on opening day.

However, he expects things to pick up over the course of the summer and insisted the programme will get fully into gear when the new school term comes around September.

"We know it was going to be difficult, given it is World Cup time and everybody is football crazy. But we didn't want that to deter us. We are focused on using the camp to gauge skill level. But September, when we roll out into the prep and primary schools and the World Cup is behind us, we are expecting a strong feedback," Jarrett said yesterday.

The summer camp runs from July 2 to 26 and is open to kids age nine to 11. But after the summer, Jarrett said they have an arrangement with primary and prep schools to hold camps. "Each school will be assigned two coaches. We will take equipment and work with the school staff to promote it," he explained.

He added that some schools might be slow in accepting or getting the programme. As a result, weekend camps will be available. "Some schools may not have the demand, so we are creating a third camp, the weekend camp, for schools where there's no programme. In another few months, we feel it will get better. Although we are really focusing on the new school term, we believe we will get enough participants to refine what we have," he said.

The Hoop Kidz camp will use specialised hoops and balls for the young players, and it has patterned the NBA junior programme, Jarrett noted. "The prep and primary schools are very enthused about it. This is where you get them early and introduce them and when they see how fun it is, they develop a love for it and it will translate later," he said.

"Basketball as an untapped resource. Jamaicans are athletic and gifted physically, and we think that if we can challenge that athletic raw material from an early age, they can see it as a viable professional career later on and start to put more effort into it," he added.