Virtual basketball camp exceeds expectations on day one

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench between the bicycle spokes of sports but that didn’t stop the Ballin’ by Da Beach Camps and the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) from getting their virtual basketball camp off to an energetic start on Monday.

Camp Director Jurelle Mullings said that the first day exceeded expectations and that the coaches did a great job.

“The first day was a success. We had 242 registrants and out of that 242, 125 participants logged on – some are brother and sister so a lot of them teamed up on one Zoom. I would say around 150 students participated. The atmosphere was energetic. Our coaches who came together for day one did a phenomenal job,” Mullings said. “I feel that we accomplished our goals which are for the kids to have fun, grow and learn something new to get better.”

The camp kicked off with certified personal trainer Kayle “Sly” Fox from MacFit 360 performing warm-up drills with the kids. University of The Bahamas (UB) Men’s Basketball Head Coach Bacchus Rolle performed drills and utilized three of his players at UB to help demonstrate the drills.

There was also a mental skills training session, and leadership development and basketball IQ sessions in which the campers were engaged. Mullings said the campers were excited, relieved and thankful that they were able to be there and see other kids, even if it is just five days for the summer.

There was a question and answer session also. During that session, the participants asked if that will be the new normal which showed that they want to be active. Mullings said it is up to the leaders like herself to find a creative way to keep the athletes active during this time.

After Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ address on Monday afternoon, Mullings said the country looks like it is on a positive path of reopening. She said that sports may not return in the way we know it, but it will come back in some form or fashion.

“We will have to take it day by day to see how this gradual reopening evolves and how we are able to co-exist with COVID-19 and hopefully sports will return soon. Maybe it will not return in the way we know it, but return in another fashion where kids can compete and still be safe and healthy. As far as regular play is concerned, our definition is going to have to change – that is the way I see it. It leaves the door open for innovation in sports,” Mullings said.

She said she is excited for what the camp has in store for the rest of the week. Mullings said she expects the same level of energy to be matched and thinks they will have even more participants for the remainder of the camp this week.

Today’s session will be led by Sanchez Moss, who was slated to be the assistant coach for The Bahamas’ Under-17 (U17) Skills Challenge Team. He is the head coach of the junior and senior girls basketball teams at Jordan Prince William High School. Chris DeMarco, who is currently the head coach for the senior men’s national basketball team and also an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors in the National Basketball Association (NBA), led a spirited session yesterday. Tomorrow’s session will be led by Mikhail Higgs. He is the men’s basketball assistant coach at the University of Houston and a former senior men’s national basketball team member.

Culminating the camp on Friday will be Marvin Henfield. He was slated to be the head coach for The Bahamas’ U17 Skills Challenge Team and is also the founder of Caribbean Sports Academy (CSA).

The camp is powered by Mr. Ship It. Also partnering with Ballin’ by Da Beach Camps and BBF is the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. Mullings said with their support, the camp was able to reach a large number of kids through the Zoom platform. They helped kids who did not have basketballs to get access to one.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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