By Ker’Shyra Myrick
The Queen Anne’s County (Md.) Park and Recreation department is always on the lookout for ways to enhance its strong youth sports programming line-up.
And the recent addition of the Start Smart Basketball program has done exactly that.
“We’ve offered a pre-school age basketball program for several years; however, it was lacking,” says Recreation Specialist Stacy Voorhees. “We believed the program needed a more structured curriculum. The Start Smart Basketball program was written for the same age range we were currently serving and seemed like a good fit.”
The program has met the kids’ needs and gotten parents involved as well.
“The Start Smart program is a great start for parents, whether they want to get involved in coaching in the future or they just want to coach their own child effectively,” says Voorhees. “The fact that it has examples of some performance cues written right into the program is hugely beneficial to parents.”
Start Smart Basketball is a developmentally appropriate introductory program for children 3 to 5 years old. The program prepares children for organized basketball in a fun, non-threatening environment.
Parental involvement in the program is instrumental in the child’s development and makes for an enjoyable learning experience for all involved.
“The feedback from parents was very positive,” says Voorhees. “They really enjoyed the program and could see the growth in their children as they moved through the program.”
Besides helping prepare kids for organized basketball without the threat of competition or the fear of getting hurt, the program helps kids engage in social interaction.
“On the very first week of the program there was a young boy that was struggling with shyness and didn’t want to participate to the point where he left early all that first week,” says Voorhees. “As they were leaving the dad said to me, ‘I guess I should have asked him if he liked basketball before signing him up.’ However, they did not give up. They came back week after week, and by the end of the program the child did not want to leave when the hour was over. This program truly does provide the children and the parents with a quality experience.”
These are the types of stories that highlight how impactful Start Smart programs can be for recreation agencies.
“Other organizations should use the Start Smart program based off the curriculum alone,” says Voorhees. “We offered a similar program for several years prior to using the Start Smart Program but we would field a complaint here and there – mostly along the lines that parents were looking for, or expected, a program with more structure. However, this year using the Start Smart curriculum we did not receive one single complaint. Matter of fact, one parent called to get the information on where they could send our staff person a thank you note because they enjoyed the program so much. Due to the success of the basketball program, we decided to use the Start Smart Baseball program for the spring.”Start Smart Basketball Teaching Learning Skills Development
National Alliance for Youth Sports, Inc
2050 Vista Parkway
West Palm Beach, Florida 33411
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