Eight to 12 year olds looking to get an early start on their hoops skills should consider Friday Night Basketball this November. The four one-hour sessions will be coached by two women who had successful high school and college careers in the sport.
Mandy Arbuckle is the assistant manager of the Hope and District’s Recreation, Culture and Airpark Services. Jaclyn McNicol was raised in Hope and is now a rec centre staff member.
McNicol graduated from Hope Secondary in 2009 and went on to Columbia Bible College, where she was a shooting guard and team captain for the Bearcats. She is now pursuing a degree in kinesiology at UFV, commuting from Hope.
Arbuckle started out in Edmonton, but took the long route before arriving in Hope about six months ago.
“I played high school ball in Edmonton, at McNally High School,” she said. “But I graduated from the Dharhan Academy High School in Saudi Arabia. My dad was in the oil industry.
“That was probably the best basketball I’ve played,” she contended. “I practiced with the boy’s high school team and played in a men’s rec league, as well as on the school’s girls’ team.”
Arbuckle also got started in coaching in Saudi Arabia, instructing girls’ basketball and volleyball.
After a year of playing post for Calgary’s Mount Royal College, she coached basketball at the Edmonton Christian Academy, before earning a degree in tourism management and entrepreneurship at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.
McNicol and Arbuckle intend to key on basic basketball skills in these introductory sessions.
“It comes down to the fundamentals. How to shoot and how to dribble,” said McNicol, who hopes to become a sports psychologist. “I’d also like to know what they’re thinking.”
“I’m really looking forward to it,” added Arbuckle. “I haven’t worked with that age group for quite a while.
“We’ll be having drills to work on their dribbling, passing, shooting and choosing a pivot foot. Our scrimmages will likely be half-court.
“It would be nice to have 10 kids signed up but even eight would work,” said Arbuckle. “More than 10 would be great.”
Cost for the four sessions is $30 and registration takes place at the rec centre’s reception desk. While you’re there, pick up a fall program guide to see the wide range of courses and activities offered through the centre.