By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
COACH Terrance ‘Red Eye’ McSweeney, committed to ensuring the improvement of our young basketball players, will be taking advantage of the Easter break by providing a free mini-basketball camp for girls only next week at the Tom ‘The Bird’ Grant Community Centre, next to the AF Adderley Junior High School in Yellow Elder.
The camp, under the theme “Developing Your Hidden Talent for the Future,” is scheduled to be held 9am to 1pm Tuesday to Friday (April 7-10).
“The Diamond Basketball Development Programme is something that I started for young girls between the ages of 10 through 16 years old, interested in learning the game of basketball or want to during the offseason to continue working on their game,” said McSweeney of the genesis in 1996 when he was working with Temple Christian Academy.
“I saw the need in 1998 right in BAISS (Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools) that there was a need because a lot of the schools didn’t have the help, which was also a problem in the public schools with one physical eduction teacher coaching a number of disciplines. I think it was very difficult for them, in BAISS in particular, when they started off with softball in September and it ran into basketball when they were trying to have practice during the season.”
Having established the programme, McSweeney said he was fortunate to have had the opportunity to take his service to a number of schools, including the Jordan Prince Williams, where he is currently working with their girls’ basketball programme, guiding the senior girls to runners-up to the St Augustine’s College Big Red Machine during the BAISS championships.
“After I started the programme for Temple Christian on Saturdays, I realised that I needed more time to work with them, so we went into Sundays,” McSweeney said. “Since 1998, I have been doing the Diamond Basketball Development Programme for free on Saturdays and Sundays.
“Saturdays are a more intense format where they have to be more repetitious,” McSweeney said. “What you would have said last week or the week before, you have to say it again and you have to find a way to break it down because the players today come with a different mindset, especially if they come from a different school environment. They like to use those two big words in the dictionary, ‘I can,’ so you have to break it down for them.”
Since returning home from Bethune Cookman in 1984, McSweeney said he was given the opportunity to coach a men’s team in the New Providence Basketball Association by the late coach Randolph Swaby, but from 1991, he said he saw that the female players needed more help so he switched his attention and direction to them.
The former coach of the women’s national basketball team from 1996-2000, McSweeney said by introducing his programme, he was able to help bridge the gap that existed without a vibrant mini-basketball programme.
“You would hope that they could learn something in the PE classes, but with one teacher teaching so many kids, it’s so difficult for them to learn anything,” he said. “But the programme has given me a chance to push them further than they have been pushed before so that they can get more interested in the game.”
During the sessions next week, McSweeney said each day they will begin with an opening ceremony as they get started promptly at 9am. That will be followed by a 15-20 minutes exercise session. For another 10 minutes, they will go through a classroom session where they are given an indication of what the calls and signals are that the referees use during games.
There will be a 45-minute ball handling skills as the players learn to use their right and left hands separately. Another 45-minute session will be geared to displaying to the campers the proper way to develop their shooting forms and techniques. For another 25 minutes, they will then go into a passing drill and take another 35 minutes for their defensive drills.
Before the day is done, McSweeney said the campers will engage in a 45-minute intensive team drills competition where the players get a chance to display their skills and interact a little more with each other as they build a bond that he hopes will be strengthened over the duration of the camp.
“I’m hoping, not just for numbers, but for those parents who want their kids to be a safe environment where they will get a chance to improve their skills,” he said.
“The parents are also welcomed to come out and watch their children work on their hidden talents.”
The camp is opened to all girls between the ages of 10 and 16 years. Interested persons can contact McSweeney at email@example.com or calling 456-1477 for further information.