On Monday, January 15th, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, The Hill School Varsity Boys and Girls basketball teams hosted a free youth basketball clinic for children from the Pottstown area.
The Hoops Clinic has been held annually for over a decade and is an opportunity for young people to work closely with Hill coaches and varsity players to develop their skills in a personal setting. The Hill Athletic Department started the program to give back to the Pottstown community in order to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
As many local schools are closed for the national holiday, the clinic’s participation tends to be very high – this year, roughly 130 children were in attendance. The exciting day began at 9:45 a.m. as children from kindergarten through eighth grade registered and were then separated into groups by age in Mercer Field House, as well as the Sweeney and Gillison gyms.
“I enjoyed working with the [Hill] players because I thought it was super fun to learn from them,” said Riley Neiswender, a seventh grader who has attended the clinic for three years. “They gave great tips and advice on how to improve my game.”
“As head coach, just seeing our players engage with the Pottstown community and teach the sport of basketball to these kids is a lot of fun,” said Interim Head Boys’ basketball coach, Phil Canosa. “Kids here in Pottstown love basketball and obviously so do our kids, so watching them interact was a lot of fun.”
Each grade level is coached by four Hill varsity players – two from the Girls team and two from the Boys.
“It was really fun to work with the older kids because we could do more advanced drills and give them skills they can develop for their high school years,” said Violet Robertson ’19, who coached a seventh grade team. This was Robertson’s third year coaching at the clinic.
“Seeing kids improve over the years and come back to our camp is really, really satisfying and a lot of fun” said Robertson.
For the first part of the day, the coaches focused on fundamentals and skill work, and then shifted to scrimmaging. Games of HORSE and knockout were met with excitement throughout the day.
“With my age group, we focused on a lot of ball handling and shooting,” said Chase Audige ’18, the Hill Boys basketball senior captain. “We tried to make sure that no one was standing around, and they were active and feeling involved throughout the day.”
Although the basketball teams did not have the opportunity to attend the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. program hosted in the Center for the Arts for the rest of the Hill student body, it was important for Hill to offer this experience and to give Hill student athletes an opportunity to serve the Pottstown community.
“I think one thing that Martin Luther King Jr. held so highly in his life, in his world and vision, was service to others,” said Jennifer Weissbach, Varsity Girls head basketball coach, “I think it’s a great day for our teams to give back to the community that gives so much to us.”