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Idaho Falls Post Register (Idaho)
Rodger McAlevy spent Wednesday chasing after basketballs.
The easy part was giving high-fives to Logan, his 5-year-old son. McAlvey and Logan were part of the Start Smart basketball clinic, organized by the Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation division. The program helps children learn the fundamentals of various team sports. The basketball clinic was held at Ethel Boyes Elementary School in Idaho Falls.
""I like this. (Logan) likes basketball,"" McAlevy said. ""So now he's learning the basics. He's learning to shoot and dribble, which is good because I'm not sure how to do it myself.""
McAlevy, of Idaho Falls, was able to help his son because Start Smart director Chris Horsley had only a few minutes earlier demonstrated proper shooting technique to the parents and children.
Children in the program meet once a week for six weeks. It is aimed at 3- to 6-year-olds. Parents are required to stay with their children.
Basketball instruction started Wednesday and registration is now closed. Soccer, the next Start Smart clinic, begins April 16.
Start Smart also teaches the fundamentals of baseball, football and golf. Each clinic features four activities that help develop the basic skills needed to succeed in the sports. For basketball, they practiced dribbling, shooting, passing and agility. The activities become more demanding each week.
An average of 12 children enroll in each clinic, Horsley said. The cost is $35 per child for all sports except golf, which costs $40.
""The number one benefit is they develop and fine- tune those motor skills needed for sports,"" Horsley said. ""You can tell (the children) who have been Start Smart kids … when they play on a team four or five years later. They demonstrate the skills.""
But the program does more than teach sports skills, Horsley said. It also helps strengthen the bond between parent and child.
""It really has an effect on them,"" Horsley said. ""It's a better relationship. It's nice for them to think they learned it with their dad or mom - the most important people in their lives.""
Whitney Whitney, 21, of Idaho Falls, coaches the basketball clinic along with Horsley.
""It's important to engage the kids and know their names,"" she said. ""If you do that, they love it.""
When the clinic session ended, Horsley gathered the young hoopsters into a circle. His talk was filled with good-natured humor.
""I want you guys to yell so loud the windows break,"" he said. ""Well, not really. Because it would be really cold next week.""
Five-year-old Logan liked everything about Wednesday's basketball session.
""I like practicing, bouncing and shooting,"" he said. ""I like dribbling, too.""
Reporter Cody McDevitt can be reached at 542-6751.
Organized by the Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Department, the program teaches fundamental skills of various team sports. It is open to children 3 to 6 years old.
Register at the Idaho Falls Recreation Center, 520 Memorial Drive, or call 612-8480.
For information, visit tinyurl.com/IFStartSmart