Learning the Basics
Basketball players raced up and down the floor at Triton High School on Saturday, smiling, and never seeming to tire.
They did need a little help scoring. But only because they’re pint-sized players, in preschool through third grade.
It was Week One of Biddy Basketball. Quite the spectacle.
“We love it. It’s a great thing for kids to do in the winter months,” Triton Community Education director Kristy Faber said. “It gets them out of the house, it gets them active, and it introduces them to the idea of joining a sport, being active, and gaining confidence. It’s just a good way to burn energy and have some fun.”
Some 100 little ones raced around the gym. First, second and third-graders play for the first hour. The second hour belongs to those ages 4 through kindergarten.
It starts with a warmup session, learning skills and the basics of the game. Then there’s a game, as it were. And it wraps up with a team meeting with volunteer coaches who double as Triton High basketball players: What did the wee little players learn, what did they like, and how are they feeling? Any questions?
“I am very fortunate that I have a head boys basketball coach (Zak Hanegraaf) and a head girls basketball coach (Melissa Young) here at Triton High School who have their players come and coach and mentor, so I always have lots of help by the high schools teams,” Faber said. “And it’s great, because they’re great role models and they are experts. The little kids see them in the halls, and can identify: ‘Oh, that’s my coach!’ I’m very fortunate that I have our high school teams volunteer.”
She said Triton’s Biddy Basketballl program has been entertaining crowds for about 15 years.
Some parents in the stands on Saturday played when they were kids.
Faber said she enjoys seeing the current little ones gain confidence.
“Or I see them gain that excitement of, ‘I can do this, I can do this,’” she said. “That’s really a great thing to see.”
Biddy Basketball runs Saturday mornings through Feb. 10 at Triton.
It is also a phenomenon at Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School. This is season No. 17.
It’s loud. Really loud. That’s the first thing you will notice when you walk into the gym filled with this year’s KM-Biddy Ballers.
“We had an increase of 40 kids this year” organizer Tiffany Swanson said. “We want to get the kids out here to give them a taste of basketball, to feel the basketball in their hands.”
Biddy Basketball is for kids ages four through third grade. They first practice their dribbling, then their passing, while the coaches do their best to keep everyone in line.
“It’s like trying to herd cats!” one coach was overheard saying.
After practicing, each team takes on another team to practice their newly acquired skills of passing, guarding and shooting.
One of Saturday’s matchups was the neon blue team against neon green, a friendly matchup of 20 little kids running up and down the court with their hands up in the air, trying to block while a coach tries to persuade the kid with the ball to shoot.
A total of 250 kids signed up for Biddy Basketball this year, and that means there will be 250 kids sleeping well tonight.