Members of the Westshore Basketball community program are getting geared up for another season. Shown are (front row from left) Matthew Spaven

Westshore Hoops anticipates growth

Community basketball program has a place for everyone

Westshore Basketball is excited for the return of students to school, as it also marks the return of athletes to the basketball court.

Available for children aged five to 17 from around the Western communities, the program has enjoyed great success in developing young players, and directors Brad Lidstone and Curt Spaven expect to see an increase in registrations for the 2015/2016 season.

Night League teams are created for girls and boys in under-11, under-13, under-15 and under-18 divisions. Teams practice weekly on the West Shore and head into town once a week to play regional games at S.J. Willis, Central and Lansdowne schools in Victoria. The season runs from early October until spring break.

Westshore Basketball parent Tami Fowler-Maat is among those who see the value in the program.

“As a parent watching the practices and games, you can tell that the environment is positive and fun,” she says. “The coaches are encouraging and supportive. My daughter loves the friendships that playing on a team has provided. Her self-confidence and dedication to hard work has improved drastically because of basketball.”

For those young athletes who want to improve their skills, the organization puts on camps over the Christmas and spring breaks. The camps are run by high school coaches with the assistance of their players. Many guest coaches attend camp as well, including local College and University players, coaches and guest personal trainers.

Parent Alyssa MacRous says her son has been participating in Westshore Basketball camps for the past four years and has two years of Night League under his belt. “The coaches are awesome, and as a parent it is so great to see the kids having so much fun while learning a new sport and being active.”

Westshore Basketball has also developed a strong partnership with South Vancouver Island Basketball, a spring and summer program that gives girls from all over the south Island a chance to increase their skills though additional practices, games and tournaments.

Part of the overall success on the West Shore has come from building a program that starts at a young age. For example, Westshore Rain is a weekly basketball club that gives five to eight year olds their first formal exposure to the sport. The one-hour sessions are offered at John Stubbs middle school, with special focus on fun and fundamentals and ample time allotted to game play. Athletes are grouped by age and experience level for maximum participation and safety. These athletes move on to play on Westshore Basketball Night League teams.

Many Westshore Basketball players will go on to play at one of the two new high schools opening this fall. Belmont secondary coaches Kevin Brown and Sabrina Booth are actively involved in Westshore Basketball, and directors Lidstone and Spaven coach the senior girls and junior boys teams at Belmont, respectively.

“You only need to look to the recent success of the Dunsmuir girls basketball teams (Grade 7 and Grade 8 city champions in 2014), many of them Westshore night league players, to see the impact that Brad, Curt and the team of coaches are having on the development of the sport,” Booth says. “I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

For more info or to register, visit westshorebasketball.com.

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