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Players in Progress offers kids way to learn ball skills

By Melissa McCaghren

Slatonite GM

Those who attended Slaton’s game against the Roosevelt Eagles Friday evening (Jan. 17) were also treated to a couple of halftime shows.

Youth involved in Players in Progress showed off what they had learned the past few weeks with the basketball.

Kara Newcomb said there are 46 kids from kindergarten to sixth grade participating in this year’s program from Slaton.

“Players in Progress (PiPs) is a national organization. Slaton has had a PiPs group for more than 15 years,” she said. “The kids learn basic to advanced ball handling skills from volunteer coaches. Each year, skills are presented and reviewed and advanced skills are taught in preparation for performances.”

She added PiP kicked off in the fall and will continue to practice through the end of January.

Although participants had some trouble with dribbling the ball during their show, they still were learning many skills in the process.

“Ball handling is a foundation of basketball and kids benefit from learning these skills. We work to make sure basic ball handling is achieved and teach the kids to respect their coaches and other players,” Newcomb said.

“The kids are encouraged to help each other during practice and performances during halftimes promotes confidence.”

They even have one member who has been in it all eight years. “One of our sixth grade PiPs, Kolbi McCord, will finish with eight years of participation. She began when she was three and her sisters were in PiPs,” said Newcomb. McCord’s mother, Cari, has been a PiPs coach for 13 years.

The end of the year is fun for all. “We celebrate the kids’ success each year with a pizza party and games night at the end of the season,” she added.

They will have other presentations of their skills, including Saturday (Jan. 25) at 1 p.m. at LCU Rip Griffin Center during the women’s game, and performances in Slaton Jan. 28 and Feb. 4 at the varsity girls’ game and Feb. 7 at halftime of both

boys’ and girls’ games.

Newcomb said they are limited to the number of kids on the court during the performances, so a different group will be up each time.

That said, she is appreciative of the community.

“We appreciate Slaton ISD allowing us to use gym facilities each week for practice and parents for getting their littles to every practice and performance,” she said.

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