By Joel Hall
For the ninth year in a row, local girls will have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of being a lady and an athlete, from professionals.
LADYS (Leadership and Development of our Youth in Sports), Inc., will host its annual Saturday Basketball School, starting Aug. 14, at the Jim Huie Recreation Center, located at 9045 Tara Blvd., in Jonesboro.
The 10-week camp will teach girls, in the third-through-tenth grades, how to dribble, shoot, defend, rebound, and pass like a professional, while also teaching teamwork, leadership, and self-control through written coursework.
LADYS, Inc., President and Founder Darlene Beale-Norris, former general manager of the now-defunct Atlanta Justice women's basketball team, played as a forward-center for the Howard University women's basketball team, from 1984, to 1989. The All-American and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference hall-of-famer said the Saturday Basketball School provides young female athletes with training opportunities often reserved for young males.
"We want to give them a chance to compete and be empowered by participating in sports," Beale-Norris said. "There are not as many opportunities for young girls as there are for young men, during that developmental stage. A lady will be more inclined to compete, if [she] receives the proper training."
In addition to intense drills, students will study the "GoGirlGo!" curriculum, a series of lessons published by the Women's Sport Foundation. In the coursework, athletes, such as soccer players, Brandi Chastain and Mia Hamm, softball pitcher, Lisa Fernandez, and Paralympic skier, Mary Riddell, share real-life stories describing how they dealt with issues impacting female athletes.
"They have different lessons, such as obesity, nutrition, bullying ... It identifies problems that girls deal with in everyday life, and they use actual female athletes to bring these issues home."
In addition to 10 weekly sessions with professional coaches, participants will receive a ticket to the Aug. 22 Atlanta Dream vs. Washington Mystics game at Phillips Arena, where students will be able to interact, on court, with Atlanta Dream players.
Training is provided for players of all skill levels, and the cost of the 10-week camp is $85 for pre-registered, returning students; $95 for pre-registered, first-time students, and $120 for walk-in registration. Discounts are available for groups of seven or more.
For more information, call (770) 369-7779, or visit www.ladysinc.org.