Saturday, August 15, 2015


Given the huge success of the football programme started last year at Little A's school, parents have been clamouring for more extracurricular activities for their children, especially those that involve said children expending their enormous reserves of energy.

A basketball programme was recently started, initially offered to the older children only, but eventually accommodated to include the younger ones.

Unlike the football coaches, who came into school and conducted individual assessments on every interested child, the basketball coaches just asked everyone who wanted to enroll their child in the programme to turn up at the first lesson on a Wednesday afternoon.

As luck (and my sieve-like memory) would have it, I was late picking Little A up from school that first Wednesday. By the time we arrived at the court where the class was being held, which in itself was no easy place to find), the first session was halfway done.

Little A jumped right in initially, as they were running similar drills to the ones done in football sessions. Later on, however, it became apparent that the skill level expected for a beginner class was far beyond what my barely 8-year old was capable of at this stage in his development. Perhaps this was why the class was initially targeted for children aged 10 and above.

Little A and his companions were not only expected to be able to dribble a ball competently, but to dribble the ball while walking and following an in and out weaving pattern. Assisted by two former professionals and two adept teens, the children were made to do a series of increasingly challenging courses.

My son has not yet achieved the level of coordination required to bounce and catch a ball while walking, let alone dodging in and out of a plastic cone obstacle course while doing so. Honestly, I don't even think I am capable of navigating that course as they set it.

The children who couldn't, or wouldn't, cooperate were allowed to simply wander the court on their own undirected. This was where the difference lay between the football coaches, who managed every week to engage the attention of a dozen children, get them to participate without any force, and seamlessly adjusted the activity to every child's skill level, and the basketball coaches, who simply expected every child to participate, or not.

Ten minutes before the session ended, Little A had given up and was seated next to me at the sidelines. We decided basketball wasn't for him at this time, and moved on to a more productive activity of grocery shopping at the supermarket by the carpark. Lesson learnt! 

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