Hoopsters chase higher fitness goal

Like any other sport basketball is a great activity to engage in to stay healthy. With obesity levels and general youth fitness at alarming levels the sport is now looking to make a dent in the problem next year.

A strong focus on nutrition and off-court health are among the areas being addressed in the 2011 edition of the Kings youth basketball programme. A stalwart of the sport the last six years, the programme recently wrapped up for 2010 this month at the Logic arena of Kings Sports Centre.

Leading the dozens of boys and girls in the 18 and under age group were national mens basketball coach Daniel Augustine and national technical director for basketball Victor ‘Voot’ O’Garro. The duo worked with a number of up-and-coming talents on the local scene including Peter Grant, La-Torae Nixon and Phillip Webb.

Augustine states the plan is to make nutrition counselling part of the programme going forward.

“Our financial goal heading into next year is to raise CI$5000,” Augustine said. “With that money we’d like to get more in the way of awards, certificates and trophies along with equipment. Things like simple reversible vests, that are one colour with the Cayman Islands Basketball Association logo on the front, are about $500 for the roughly 50 kids we have in the programme at present.

“Another initiative is we want regular talks between a nutritionist and the kids once or twice a month. We would like the kids to understand the reasoning for a balanced meal in life and while playing the sport.

“They have an idea but I feel it needs to be reinforced. That is something we in Cayman need now and we in the basketball community would love to have that (in place) every year, along with a main sponsor.”

Earlier this month the basketball association had a team enter the Cayman Islands Marathon.

One of the interesting developments out of that is a plan for the sport to establish a partnership with local road running. An area that would see that combination in motion, according to Augustine, would be the Kings programme.

“We also want to start Pines Home visits, beach clean-ups and walk-a-thons. We want to show we as a programme can get out and give back to the community. We (in the basketball association) want to help not just these kids but Cayman as a whole.”

Interestingly the programme has had support from a number of segments within the Cayman community. Businesses such as Foster’s Food Fair and Winner’s Circle have been supporters on a similar level to establishments like the Church of God and the Department of Sports. One entity that intends to continue its efforts is Kings as Athletic Director Ray Singh states youth basketball is a priority.

“Coach Daniel (Augustine) and Coach Voot have proven to be excellent youth coaches,” Singh said. “Every year they develop not only solid athletes, but excellent ambassadors of both the sport of basketball and the Cayman Islands.

“The future of the sport in our country is a direct testament to the coaching and leadership efforts that they demonstrate today.”

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