Basketball stars of the future graduate
A NEW generation of young Kerry basketball players will step out on to the court in the coming weeks after graduating from the Tralee Imperials Basketball Club Academy.
The academy deals with young players aged from five to 10 years and Saturday's graduation ceremony was for 10 year olds moving on from the group to the competitive Under 12s teams.
A total of 32 youngsters graduated from the programme after successful competing a range of skills which included everything from dribbling left and right to cross overs and drill sets.
The aim of the skills is to ensure they have control over the ball and all 32 were tested and passed before their graduation in Cumann Iosaef on Saturday.
Each of the 10 year olds received a graduation certificate and medal along with special skill cards.
"There were individual skill cards for each of them, the star shows what skills they are best at, a smiley face what they are good at and it also highlights what areas they might need to work on," Tralee Imperials PRO Antoinette Sayers said.
The young players meet once a week and there are separate sessions for the five to seven year olds who meet at 10am and the older children up to nine who train from 11am.
The nine year olds also train one night a week to help with their game skills.
According to Antoinette the academy is a new concept that has proved hugely successful in developing young players in the United States.
"Before you would only take up basketball when you went to secondary school- now the teams are being picked within two weeks of starting so the players need to start younger," Antoinette said.
The aim of the academy is to improve the calibre of players being produced in Kerry with the ultimate long term aim of returning the county to Superleague level both in the men's and women's game.