Looking back at the Indiana Fever kids basketball clinic

Earlier this month, the Indiana Fever held their first-ever kids basketball clinic. It was an opportunity for youth to learn some skills from select Indiana Fever players {hiiii Shenise Johnson!}, coaches and staff. When IC Insider Creed downright begged to go, we gladly gave in.

From Creed, here’s the scoop on what sounds like an incredible clinic:

You ever have a moment when you are giddy about the opportunity that your child just experienced? That happened when my daughter was invited to attend the Junior Indiana Fever Basketball Clinic. The clinic offered training from the National Basketball Academy, Fever Assistant Coach Steven Key, and Fever stars Briann January, Shenise Johnson, and Erlana Larkins.

I should probably note that my daughter has never been to a basketball camp before. In fact she has never played. And honestly, I don’t know that she ever will play competitively. So that begs to question a few things:

1. Why would she be interested?

2. Did I force her?

3. Why would I be giddy?

Indiana Fever kids basketball clinic _ Indy's Child

I’m going to address numbers 1 and 2 first. I did not force her to go. When I heard about the clinic, I asked her if she was interested, and she was. She has enjoyed going to and watching games with me, and she seems particularly interested in seeing the women play. Basketball has been a fun hobby of mine for some time – I’m a semi-retired has-been {my glory days were Hoop-It-Up tournaments in high school} – but I have never had the desire to force sports, no matter how much I enjoyed them, on my kids. Excited with anticipation, my daughter started dribbling in the driveway two weeks before the clinic.

Indiana Fever kids basketball clinic _ Indy's Child

As far as number 3: The clinic made me giddy. First it was pride. There was my girl – who probably couldn’t tell you the difference between a box out and a charge – running through drills, listening to coaches, and working hard. Then she had the opportunity to see, listen to, and interact with strong female role models. January, Johnson, and Larkins were kind, approachable and encouraging. They not only lead drills, but also hosted an extensive Q&A where they proved to be professional, knowledgeable and personal. The participants were able to easily relate to the players.

Indiana Fever kids basketball clinic _ Indy's Child

In terms of the actual instruction and training available in the clinic? It was phenomenal. Let me start by acknowledging that I am a middle school teacher. I have seen a gym full of 100+ kids. I’m familiar with the challenge of differentiating activities to fit a range of skills. I was impressed. There were over 130 kids in the clinic. The ages seemed to range from 7-17. Some of the players, like my daughter, were new to the game. Other players were actual members of the varsity squad of their high school team.

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Another aspect of the clinic that I appreciated as a parent, was the simple message. Coach Adam, Coach Steve, and all three players, emphasized the idea of players putting in their maximum effort. This clinic was about improving players as a whole. The coaches and pro players also touched upon things like getting enough sleep, eating well, practicing consistently, and setting goals.

Indiana Fever kids basketball clinic _ Indy's Child

As a former player, former coach, and current parent, I highly recommend experiences like this one for kids. The tagline “Watch Me Work” accompanies not only the Indiana Fever advertisements, but the WNBA as a whole. During the clinic, this was clearly displayed not only to the players on the court, but the parents who accompanied them. There was a lot of work put in to create this well-organized event, but what was more evident was that the members of the Indiana Fever and National Basketball Academy were putting in work to inspire something bigger – the dreams {not just limited to basketball} and work ethic of the many players on the court. And for that, this dad is thankful.

The clinic ended with the coaches selecting players for the Heart and Hustle award. And while only a select number of players were given awards, it was a good reminder to all the players that they needed to continue to work hard because you never know who is watching.

Indiana Fever kids basketball clinic _ Indy's Child

The Fever are now returning to action after a brief break due to the Olympics. If you have the opportunity, head on down to Banker’s Life Fieldhouse and cheer on Briann January, Shenise Johnson, Erlana Larkins and the rest of your Indiana Fever squad.

MORE INFO: The Indiana Fever have 9 games remaining in their 2016 season, which ends September 18. Tickets start at $13. The Fever play at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse which is located at 125 S. Pennsylvania Street in downtown Indianapolis. Visit their website or call the box office at {317} 917-2500 for more details.

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