Valparaiso Junior Basketball Program Summer Clinic’s Recognition Night Features Awards, VHS Coach Otis

By: Lenny Corso Last Updated: August 16, 2010

The Valparaiso Junior Basketball Program Summer Basketball Clinic finished its 18th year with a "Recognition Night" awards ceremony at the Valparaiso Boys & Girls Club on August 2, 2010. All of the students received medals, certificates of participation and a Dairy Queen gift certificate donated by County Seat Dairy Queen at the Cumberland Crossing in north Valparaiso. In addition, the adult volunteers received gift certificates to local restaurants which were donated by Pharma-Card Pharmacies. The local business support for this all volunteer program has been very strong over the years, especially the corporate sponsor of the Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute. We are very grateful to each and every one of them for their care and concern for the youth of our community.

Mr. Joe Otis, the Valparaiso High School boys varsity basketball coach was the guest speaker. He emphasized in his presentation about the need to become an unselfish person so you can become and unselfish player. In addition, he noted to the students about how important it is to work and study hard in school to earn good grades because it can really help them in life and on the basketball court.

During this summer instructional clinic the students learn proper foot placement, proper hand placement on the basketball, how to pass the basketball from different positions, change of direction dribbles, basics of rebounding and follow up shots and proper shooting technique. All of these drills are broken down to the most common denominator so the students can understand what they need to do to gain "muscle memory" and improve their skills.

Click here to view photos from the event.

As students proceed over the many summers, some of the students are invited to return to become student instructors. Many volunteer parents are involved and they provide for instruction in small break out groups or in some cases individual instruction. This is what makes this program so special for the students and different from other basketball programs.

The feedback from parents has been similar to this one..."We wish more sports programs would emphasize basic instruction for young kids to learn the techniques and skills for that sport before being placed in game environments."

The summer clinic was started 18 years ago in an effort to teach girls and boys the basic fundamentals of basketball in a non-threatening environment. The clinic is available to any student going into the 3rd grade through going into the 6th grade. For a $50 fee, the students receive a t-shirt and a specially sized basketball based upon their particular needs. Flyers are usually available at the Boys & Girls Club about April 1st. The enrollment limit is 80 boys & 80 girls. Boys meet on Mon. & Wed. nights from 7-8:30 pm and girls on Tues, & Thurs. nights at the same time. This clinic runs every June & July. Lenny Corso is the program coordinator and can be contacted at lennyc@comcast.net.