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Hoop school back in session

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Principal Sparling gym teacher Timothy Strachan has been coaching with the Todd MacCulloch Hoop School for five years, teaching skills and teamwork.

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Principal Sparling gym teacher Timothy Strachan has been coaching with the Todd MacCulloch Hoop School for five years, teaching skills and teamwork. Photo Store

The Todd MacCulloch Hoop School (TMHS) is returning to inner-city schools in Winnipeg for its 13th season this fall.

The TMHS is a free, after-school program for Winnipeg School Division schools, providing basketball instruction and teaching basketball skills for eight weeks from early October to early December. There is also a spring session which takes place from April to June.

Ian Dickey, program co-ordinator for Basketball Manitoba, said each school is asked to apply to participate. Dickey then selects seven schools for the fall session of the TMHS.

"We set them up with a head coach and there are some assistant coaches that work with the schools," Dickey said.

Schools and coaches work out dates to hold the program to avoid any scheduling conflicts.

Once a week for eight weeks, each school will have an hour- to an hour-and-a-half-long session of skills practice out of their own school gyms. Dickey said 24 boys and 24 girls from each school will get to participate in the TMHS, and that number fluctuates based on the interest at the schools.

But that’s not a problem for Principal Sparling School, where gym teacher Timothy Strachan said basketball is a big deal for many of his students.

"It’s the most popular sport here. We have a tough time getting the students to do other activities because they just want to do basketball," Strachan said.

Strachan has been involved as a coach with TMHS for the past five years. He said a typical session involves a warm-up, ball-handling skills, and a scrimmage at the end. At the end of the eight weeks, the schools participating in the TMHS get together for a jamboree and play basketball.

The TMHS program is named after Todd MacCulloch, a retired NBA player from Winnipeg, who is also funding the program along with Sport Manitoba and Basketball Manitoba.

Strachan thinks it’s beneficial to have the TMHS focus on the inner city, otherwise a lot of talented young athletes would never discover their potential.

"Not a lot of inner-city schools have those types of sports programs that are specific. A lot of after-school programs in the inner city will be drop-ins, but not focused on one specific activity so that the kids can develop their skills," Strachan said. "If kids find they enjoy basketball, they’re going to carry it through as they get older."

For more information about the TMHS, visit basketballmanitoba.ca or call Dickey at 204-925-5775.

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