Basketball camp is a slamming success

YOUTH proved stronger than experience at one of Ipswich's most popular basketball camps recently.

Stuart Watson

YOUTH proved stronger than experience at one of Ipswich's most popular basketball camps recently.

The week-long Summer Slam camp has become a popular fixture in Ipswich Borough Council's packed summer of sport in recent years and this year proved no different.

Over 35 children trained at Westbourne Sports College over the five days under the tutelage of a strong team of coaches.

The camp was led by Ipswich Basketball Club's Nick Drane, the 2007 Suffolk coach-of-the-year joined by former Ipswich Under-18 players Matt Harber and Jacob Swift.

The latter pair have both played at the very top level of junior basketball in recent years and while Harbour has gone on to coach his former team mates at the age of just 19, Scotland international Swift has been keen to help young players follow his pathway through the Suffolk basketball programme.

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The 11 to 16 year-olds were given structured skills workshops each morning of the camp and, after being split into four different teams, a series of matches were held throughout the week in the afternoons.

Key statistics, including top-scorers, rebounds and assists, were kept throughout and at the end of the week an 'All-Star' side was selected from all those at the top of the tables.

That All-Star side were then given the opportunity to play against the experienced team of coaches and volunteers delivering the camp and, thanks in part to some rather biased officiating, they emerged unlikely victors in front of a delighted crowd of parents.

Harber, a Level Two qualified coach that holds ambitions of coaching in Europe or America, said: “There was a great atmosphere throughout the whole week and everyone, kids and coaches alike, had a really good time.

“We weren't quite sure how it was going to work because we had such a mix of abilities ranging from regional standard players to complete beginners.

“Luckily though the better players were all very mature and, after splitting them onto different teams, they all concentrated on helping their team mates to improve.

“It bodes very well for Ipswich Basketball Club as a lot of these players are already at the club. These are exciting times because we are getting these promising players into the programme earlier and earlier.”