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U of W Wesmen basketball program scoring points with kids

Players improve skills through one-on-one training

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Kerri Kuzbyt (left) is one of the I Can Score coaches that instructed young basketball players like Kyla-Alexis Bailey (right) last year.

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Kerri Kuzbyt (left) is one of the I Can Score coaches that instructed young basketball players like Kyla-Alexis Bailey (right) last year. Photo Store

Kids can shout, "I can score!" after participating in the I Can Score basketball program at the University of Winnipeg’s Duckworth Centre.

Tanya McKay, women’s basketball head coach, created the program last year. During McKay’s 18 years as a coach for the women’s Wesmen basketball team, there have been several developmental programs dedicated to instruct kids in the fundamentals of basketball. Entering its second year, I Can Score is a program to help young players score points from different spots on the court by practising in one-on-one and two-on-two games.

"I Can Score is to help players develop their scoring touch, whether they have the ball or getting the ball off-dribble or off-pass — just developing their confidence to score," McKay said.

The program is expected to help players from Grade 6 to Grade 12 improve their footwork, lay-ups, creative post moves, and improve their shooting form and range.

The program is broken up into two parts, or phases. The first phase runs from September to December, and the second phase runs from January to April. Participants receive 12 hours of instruction per phase with the coaching staff. Each phase costs $125. A detailed schedule of programming is available at uwinnipeg.ca

What’s unique about I Can Score is that the kids will receive individualized attention and lessons from the coaches. As a result, "their confidence builds," McKay said.

"In a team setting with a coach, they’re not getting (proper training)," McKay said.

Education student Alyssa Grant is a fifth-year player for the Wesmen team and one of the coaches for the I Can Score program. McKay asked her and a few other players to help with the program on her days off.

"(The kids) really focused on improving their fundamentals to become an effective player in a team setting," Grant said.

"We get them into good habits," another coach, Kerri Kuzbyt, said.

University of Winnipeg Collegiate student Kyla-Alexis Bailey, 15, participated in the I Can Score program last year.

"It was fun," Bailey said.

Bailey currently plays for the U of W Collegiate Wesmen basketball team.

"One of the best parts in the program is not only working with the kids, but working with the student athletes here as well. They’re great role models," McKay said. "Now they’re coaching these kids, so I see a lot of positive things occurring every session. There’s a lot of interaction between coaches and the kids so it’s really a lot of fun."

For more information about I Can Score, contact McKay at t.mckay@uwinnipeg.ca

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