Pro basketball player trains, inspires girls during weekend clinic
Touring clinic meant to give women a boost in sport where men get most of the attention, says Nirra Fields
A member of Canada's women's basketball team was in Halifax this weekend, hoping to bring the same level of guidance and training to players as can be found throughout the United States.
Nirra Fields, a 2016 Olympian and a guard with the Women's National Basketball Association's Atlanta Dream, was at the Community YMCA in Halifax on Saturday and Sunday. About 140 girls took part in the three-hour training sessions.
Fields said there are gaps in girls' basketball training, with more opportunities available in Toronto and Montreal than in smaller centres like Halifax.
"We can't have gaps as a whole," she said. "I mean, the U.S., every state is accounted for. And it needs to be the same for Canada, for the basketball to evolve."
'We know how to do it'
The touring clinic, organized by Montreal's West End Sports Association, is also meant to give women a boost in a sport where men get most of the attention, she said.
"Just trying to help that, and help them reach their dreams," she said.
Sasha Oreskobich, a 13-year-old player at the clinic, said it's great to meet somebody who's been through the system on her way to the pros.
"We know how to do it and it's possible," she said.
Kyasiah Derry, also 13, said Fields was teaching them how to control the game and their own attitudes.
Derry also had the opportunity to play a little one-on-one against the pro.
"It's really hard," she said. "We all lost to her. It was like 50 of us against her and we all lost."
The program, which also includes former Team Canada coaches, was in Halifax for the first time.
Long-time Canadian basketball player and coach Wayne Yearwood, now a men's coach at Montreal's Dawson College, said the kids in Halifax were learning the basics: footwork, shooting, passing and ball-handling.
He said he hopes to see even more girls take part the next time the clinic comes to Halifax.
"We know we're going to come back here next year," Yearwood said.
With files from Steve Berry