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Ironton Basketball Academy hoping to enhance youth fundamental skills

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

This is what you would call Basketball 101.
Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers basketball coach Doug Graham is planning a basketball academy for boys and girls from Ironton and the area to help with the basic fundamentals of the game.
Graham said the seed for the academy was planted while taking his own two boys to a basketball skills trainer.
“My two boys went to a (basketball) trainer and they could spend anywhere from 20 to 25 bucks and that was for an hour. I started talking to some of my friends and they’ve been conducting what is called a blue-collar basketball factory, a fundamental factory,” said Graham.
“I thought, why wouldn’t that work here to provide a reasonable price for some training. Other schools were doing it and my kids were doing it, so the Fighting Tigers Basketball Academy just spurned from that idea.”
The academy will provide skill development for students in grades two through seven. If there is a first grader who is really advanced and wants to try, I’m more than open to try it out for a bit,” said Graham.
The academy is open boys and girls at any school, not just the Ironton school system.
“It’s for anybody who wants to work on their game,” said Graham. “We’ve had great response. If it goes well, we’ll continue it into the spring and hopefully next fall.”
The academy will run from 3:45-to-5 p.m. on Wednesday on Sept. 18 and 25 and Oct. 2, 9, 16 and 23, at the Ironton High School Conley Center.
Transportation will be available for Ironton Middle School students.
Cost is $30 for all six sessions. Students who pre-register receive a basketball. All students will receive a T-shirt.
“If you don’t think you can make them all six sessions, then it’s $10 per session,” said Graham.
“I want it to be affordable, I want it to grow the game, I want to teach fundamentals. Generally, the emphasis will be on dribbling, passing and shooting and defense. Maybe toward the fifth and sixth session we’ll have some competition, maybe 2-on-2 or 3-on-3.”
Graham added that part of the reason for the academy was due to the limited amount of time the players in youth leagues get for practice time due to the large number of teams and limited gyms available.
“I know that those kids have youth league teams and it’s hard to get gym time. Whenever you do get gym time, it’s usually for an hour a week. And you have to work around Christmas programs, parent/teacher conferences, the gym being close for this reason or that reason,” said Graham.
All students will receive a free admission to one high school boys’ and one high school girls’ game this season. There will also be an attendance award for students who are at five or all six of the sessions.
Instructors will be high school boys’ and girls’ basketball coaching staffs and players.
“A lot of (basketball) coaches here at the high school aren’t teaching a fall sport. So, we got together and decided to offer something to the youth of Ironton and let’s do it on a day they don’t have football practice and they probably don’t have soccer practice,” said Graham.
“We’ll have a coach at each station and they’ll have 15 minutes with each group. I want the ratio to be four or five players to one coach. The more people who email me and pre-register, I can get more help and get everything situated.”
If the numbers are extensive, Graham said he will add coaches and possibly split into two sessions.
Pre-registration is underway and interested persons can go online at TigerTown.com or email Graham at doug.graham@tigertown.com
Registration forms can be mailed to: Doug Graham, 1701 South 7th Street, Ironton, OH 45638.
Checks should be made out to Ironton H.S. Athletic Dept.