Starting in September, North Delta’s basketball players will have the chance to work on their handles with the school district’s first basketball academy.
The academy is a partnership between the Delta School District and Split Second Basketball, and it will run out of the Richmond Olympic Oval on a schedule that should complement existing school team practices.
As opposed to team practices at schools, academy players get to focus on individual skills, said Eric Butler, founder of Split Second Basketball.
“Any time spent on skill development really takes away from that [team development] time,” Butler said. “If you want to play at a higher level, you’re not going to get that skill development in a team practice.”
Split Second runs several basketball academies in the Lower Mainland, including at Tsawwassen private school Southpointe Academy.
Paige Hansen, Delta School District’s vice principal for academy programs, said the students who sign up for the basketball academy will be bused out to Richmond on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and spend 2 ½ hours doing a laundry list of drills. She added students will also get a credit for their physical education at the end of the school year or semester.
“Each academy will have a teacher co-ordinator along with the coaches from Split Second,” Hansen said. “We are almost full for the linear program and we still have some space in the North Delta/Delview [semester] program.”
She said the monthly cost per player is $325, which pays for the coaches, transportation, uniforms and other expenses.
“We do have bursaries available for anyone that needs a little financial assistance,” she added.
Butler explained it took a while to set up the academy because the school district did not want to create a “super school” that attracts all the city’s talent. Instead, the academy is held at the Richmond Olympic Oval, where players and coaches will have at their disposal numerous courts and supplemental training staff.
“It’s an awesome, world-class facility and we also have access to high-performance trainers who will be providing strength and conditioning, nutrition, sports psychology, all the the things that are hard for us to do in a small high school gym,” Butler explained to the Reporter in early February.
“On one day of the week, we’re focusing on … shooting, passing, dribbling, footwork, cutting, all the individual skills people need to be able to succeed in basketball,” Butler said.
“On the other day, it’s more team concepts. It’s defense, it’s spacing, it’s movement, pick-and-roll, specific game-type situations. While some organizations really specialize in one area or another, Split Second has made sure we can develop an athlete from the time they start basketball to the time they’re ready to play in university.”
The cut-off for Delview Secondary and North Delta Secondary sign-ups is April 12. For more information, contact Paige Hansen at firstname.lastname@example.org.