Athletics

Jeffs Host Springfield Youth in Project Coach Clinic

Contact: Matthew Hart

BBclinic

AMHERST, Mass. – In the thick of the NESCAC season, the nationally-ranked Amherst College men’s and women’s basketball teams are not forgetting to give back.

On Sunday, Jan. 27, the Lord Jeffs partnered with Smith College outreach organization Project Coach to host roughly 40 Springfield high-schoolers for a coaching clinic at LeFrak Gym.

Founded in 2002, Project Coach teaches responsibility and leadership to high school student-athletes from Springfield – many from at-risk backgrounds – by training them as coaches. These young coaches then lead youth teams in organized leagues across five different area schools. Since the organization's founding, it has trained and mentored nearly 100 high-school age coaches, who have in turn coached and provided role models for over 1,000 Springfield youth.

“We were delighted to do this,” said head men’s basketball coach David Hixon. “Any way that we can teach kids how to lead benefits those kids in so many ways, and not only them but the other kids that they teach.”

On Sunday, student-athletes from both Amherst teams passed on basketball coaching skills and techniques to the young coaches in addition to sharing more general ideas and advice from their own coaching and playing experiences.

“We were not only helping them with technical aspects of teaching passing and rebounding drills but also having discussions about what it takes to be a coach,” said Hixon. “As a coach, you’re no longer one of the kids. You’re also a mentor and a teacher.”

Both Lord Jeff teams will be in action at home this weekend, beginning with a Friday night doubleheader against Bates. The 10th-ranked men will battle the Bobcats at 6 p.m. before the fourth-ranked women tip off at 8 p.m.

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