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Coaching Clinic in Belmopan and Belize City!!!
Three years ago, the Belize Basketball Federation (BBF) developed a strategic plan in order to “grow and develop all aspects of basketball in the country of Belize.”  One of the main goals of this plan is to “build and develop” the quality of basketball in Belize.  To accomplish this, training exercises for players of different ages have been developed and several programmes specifically targeting youths have been created. One of these programs is the Junior Mini Basketball Program which seeks to engage youths under 12 years of age.  Last week Saturday, October 22th, 2011, Coach Bernie Tarr spearheaded a coaching clinic at the UB Gym in Belmopan to teach coaches the fundamentals of coaching in the Junior Mini Basketball Program.  This clinic will prepare coaches for the launch of the Belize Mini Basketball Program as per FIBA design principles for kid ages 6-12. Coaches from the southern and western portions of Belize took part in the exercise. The objective of the clinic was simple - to educate coaches so that they in turn can raise the level of basketball professionalism among youths by teaching them basketball basics including rules, regulations and history at an early age.  The objective is not only to enhance their basketball knowledge, but also to increase motivation and enthusiasm for basketball in our youths country wide. As pointed out by Coach Tarr, at this age it is perfect to work with fundamentals. By the time these players reach the U-17 level, they will know not only the basic theoretical principles, but will also know how to perform such feats as correctly executing a right and left hand layup.  If certain skills have not been mastered by this level, it is usually much more difficult to learn later on.  The observed limitations in performance of many players are a signal that our kids have not been adequately taught the necessary skills. The only way to ensure that these skills are learnt properly is through drills overseen by trained coaches – hence the clinic. The coaching training activities started at 10 am with an introduction by Coach Tarr and Coach Brads Neal, head coach of the National U-12 team, followed by an explanation of what exactly is the Junior Mini Basketball Program. Participants then learnt different drills that could be used to teach defense, dribbling and layups; and improve passing skills. The clinic concluded around midday and by which time the participating coaches had to have developed their own coaching philosophy to be used when they returned to their homes and their teams.

 Welcoming address.

 Passing drill with five balls at the same time.

In the afternoon, Coach Tarr traveled to Belize City to conduct a similar clinic with the coaches from the district. Coach Tarr has been traveling throughout Belize trying to impart his knowledge of what he calls the “core basic fundamentals” of Belize with the intention of boosting the performance of the future basketballers of the country.
 
Junior National Basketball Team Coach to attend Coaching Program!!!!
National Junior Basketball Head Coach, Matthew Smiling has been accepted as a participant in the International Coaching Enrichment Certificate Program (ICECP) conducted by the United States  Committee and the University of Delaware.
Participants in the ICECP program are all national team coaches from their respective countries. This program provides coaches with intensive education that consists of lectures, projects, guest speakers, group work and field trips. Topics covered in this program will include coaching methods, sport nutrition, sport administration, sport psychology and physiology and injury management and prevention. Also included in this program is an apprenticeship component where Mr. Smiling will be attached to a US National team or a University or Club team for two weeks.  This program is funded by the International Olympic Committee through its Olympic Solidarity program and facilitated by the Belize Olympic Committee and Commonwealth Games Association. The program runs from October 1 to November 9, 2011.    

 
Referee Training in Belmopan!!!

The Belize Basketball Federation and the national instructor Karim Juan conducted a clinic for new referee aspirants this past Saturday at the Belmopan Comprehensive High School. Karim Juan, a FIBA certified official who is a basketball enthusiast and has spent some time trying to encourage youths – both male and female - to try out refereeing.  The clinic was divided into two full day sessions which covered knowledge and philosophy of the game and how to communicate via signs and signals.  At the end of the second day’s session, participants were asked to take a physical and a written test for them to see how close - or far - they were from being qualified to be a referee. The main goal of the clinic was for interested persons to have a more concrete grasp of the requirements for certification and how they could better prepare themselves to become real referees. The clinic was targeting Belizeans living in central and southern Belize.  Participants came from San Igancio/Santa Elena, Belmopan and Dangriga. A similar clinic will be held at the Civic Center Conference Room in Belize City for Belize, Orange Walk and Corozal districts, on September 23th to 24th and both days it will run from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Lunch will be provided for all participants. This clinic is also approved by the Ministry of Education as personal development for primary and secondary school teachers.

 Learning the signs.


 Class in session.


During the first day’s session, attendants were shown some of the more common hand gestures referees utilized during a typical game. Major rules of the game and common infractions were reviewed and video clips were utilized to help illustrate when different signals would be appropriate. Hand in hand with this the responsibilities and expectations of a referee were highlighted and referees in attendance shared their experiences; describing some of their more memorable encounters as well as common trials that referees endure. The second day focused on analysis and philosophy of the game and ended with the aforementioned tests.

 Hiding from the sun, the temperature exceeded 95* F

 Physical test about to start.

 

The tests were not meant to be easy. The written was covered a great deal of information and many admitted to – understandably - not being able to recall all the details of the two day session. Few realized how fit referees need to be in order to properly carry out their duties. The physical test was more of an endurance test to help in evaluation of the aspirants’ stamina. Although, near the afternoon’s end, it had been an intensely hot day and under the shade, and temperatures were in the upper 90’s. Those up for the test were asked to do the equivalent of 86 laps across the court.  Most started with enthusiasm, but the heat soon wore down even some of the more fit participants and few made it to the end.  The point of this test then? – to let those interested know that it takes a little more than just two days training to become a referee.  Nevertheless, it is a great experience and many refs will tell you it is worth it. With a little more preparation, we should likely see some of these same faces refereeing at local basketball games in the near future.  National certification will be conducted in late November early December of this year in Belmopan.

The clinic was closely monitored by the BBF president Mr. Paul Thompson and by officials of the Belmopan Basketball Association. The Federation along with Mr. Juan expressed their sincere gratitude towards Mr. Joseph Mahmud for his kind contribution to make this clinic possible, without his generous support the clinic would not have been successful.

 
The Mighty has Fallen!!!

The Belmopan 2011 Senior Basketball Tournament has completed week 5 and continues into week 6 of its regular season.  Last Thursday night, two games were played at the UB Gym: the Superstars defeated the Nets 71-65 and, in a very close match, Western Ballaz gained the upper hand against Campari Blaze 68-63. Saturday night was supposed to feature three games, but two games were forfeited. Campari Blaze (4-2) and Tiger Town got easy wins when Nets (0-6) and Roaring Creek (1-4) did not show up at the Gym. For the one game that was played, Phantomz defeated Traveller’s Bad Boys (2-2) 77-73. On Tuesday night, Phantomz (4-1) crushed Tiger Town (2-3) by 79-63 and took the position as another top contender for this year’s crown. The second game was compelling and was not decided until overtime. The mighty Western Ballaz (4-1) unexpectedly succumbed to the humble Superstars (3-2) team 80-78.

Shamax Supertars: Farron Loriano (14), Shen-li Arnold (6), Jarrel Velasquez (7),

Kyle Pascascio (front row), Alfred Bainton (back row), Gary Gabourel

 Despite a scarcity of sponsors backing the team, the Superstars made it to game that night and even though this team did not come to court with fancy jerseys, they came fully intending to put their hearts and talents into the tournament. Their attire definitely did not reflect the quality of their plays.  It has become increasing clear that most teams entering this year’s tournament have decided that the one to beat is the Western Ballaz. So far, those who have come up against the Ballaz have put their best foot forward only to have it stepped on. Tuesday’s night match was a little different. From the beginning, the Superstars made it clear that they were determined to defeat the Ballaz. They knew they had to play their best to succeed. The Western Ballaz appeared to have had one of those bad nights which most teams have, but merit must be given to the Superstars for the effort and spirit with which they played and won. Both teams tossed the lead from start to conclusion of the game.  Fans were kept on their feet until the end of the last quarter.  Tied in the last seconds of the fourth quarter, the Ballaz had a final opportunity to take the win but, thanks to good defense from the Superstars, the game ended 68 apiece. In overtime, Kurt Burgess, Shannon Guzman and Shelton Defour were fouled out for the Ballaz while for the Superstars, it was Winston Pratt and Alfred Bainton. With key players out, Daniel Nolberto and Farron Lorriano took charge of their team and lead them to victory. In the last three seconds, a pass from Nolberto reached the hands of Kyle Pascascio, who unhesitatingly sank the ball to end the game 80-78. It was a heartfelt loss for the Ballaz and an energizing win for the Superstars as they struggle to secure a berth in this year’s playoff games.

 
Traveller’s Bad Boys Win by a Hair's Breadth!!!

Action in week 4 of the BBA Tournament featured two games, one being the follow up for an unfinished game from last week. In the follow up, Campari Blaze (3-1) beat Tiger Town (1-2) 62-56 to secure second place in the standing. Game 2 featured two previously winless teams that battled to the bitter end for a first win. The game was very physical with both teams wrestling for the lead until the last quarter when Roaring Creek (1-3) was able to finally establish a firmer grip on that lead and end the game with its first win of the season; defeating the Nets (0-4) 74-64.  The game was decided when Lomy Neal nailed a monster three point in the last minute of play to put Esso Tigers up by five. In the last seconds, Sherwin Garbutt ended the game with a spectacular dunk which got the crowd on their feet filled with excitement. The Esso Tigers were led by Lomy Neal who had a big night scoring 19 pts for his team.

Fans were already hyped after the brilliant ending of the previous game and were eager for the next in line, anticipating further excitement for the evening. Indeed, Traveller’s Bad Boys (2-1) and Shamax Superstars (2-2) played one of the most formidable and exciting games of the tournament. Filled with dunks and plays that left fans satisfied with what they had paid to see.  In the first quarter, the Bad Boys took an early lead of 16-10 and fans thought the Superstars would be blown out, but they were mistaken. Winston Pratt and Daniel Nolbert began taking charge of their team and got them trailing by two points by the end of first half. In the second half, we saw a series of dunks and plays from both teams that made the crowd go wild.  In the last quarter, the game was tied with only 8 seconds on the clock when the Bad Boys got the ball to bounce in. For some inexplicable reason, the Superstars appeared to have forgotten how to play defense for a moment, allowing the Bad Boys to make an easy basket and win the game 83-81. Stephen Williams had a monster night with 34 points, 11 rebounds, hitting 62% of his three point shots and 65% of his field goals attempts.  

 Nets

 Tiger Town

 
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