Saturday June 16 saw Oaklands College Basketball Academy students travel with the Hertfordshire Under 11 basketball squads to compete in the first ever National Mini Basketball Festival hosted in Nottingham.
The students, who were mentored by Academy Head Coach Michael Ball, were volunteering as the coaching staff for the newly created Under 11 Hertfordshire teams. The tournament saw teams competing from all over the country and is now set to become an annual event with the possibility of the College hosting Regional events in their new basketball arena due to open in September 2012 at the Smallford campus.
Head Coach Michael Ball commented, "Hertfordshire Basketball Association received the invitation from Mini Basketball to compete in the tournament. We decided to use the opportunity to, not only create a new Hertfordshire programme at Year 5 and 6, but for our Academy players to give back to younger players. I was not sure how the students would respond, but I have to say that I was delighted with how they applied themselves and the feedback from the players and parents.
"I was particularly delighted at the boys’ team being awarded the Fair Play trophy, which is an indication of just how well the players and coaches represented Hertfordshire County on the day.”
Basketball Academy student Yudi Morris, who was Head Coach of the Hertfordshire U11 Boys Team commented, "It was really enjoyable and rewarding for all of the coaches. The young players had great energy and made huge improvements as the day progressed. Most importantly the players all seemed to have fun."
Basketball Academy student Lizzy Harrison, who was the Head Coach of the Hertfordshire U11 Girls Team commented, "The girls were wonderful to coach and improved so much during the day. Although most of them had never played the game before they were so positive and I hope that the event has given the motivation to keep playing."
One parent commented on how great the day was and said, “The coaches were excellent. My son said the coaches ‘gave a lot of advice on tactics’, they were good deciding on who was subbing. They were helpful and encouraging."