PBA gets youngsters involved in basketball

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 27, 2019

Picayune basketball Head Coach Eric Vianney uses the Picayune Basketball Association as a way to introduce kids to the game and all of its intricacies.

The program is about eight weeks long in Vianney’s estimation, and allows children from kindergarten up to sixth grade to try out basketball and see if it’s something they like.

The main focus of the program, aside from showing children the game, is to teach them the fundamentals of basketball in a lighthearted, educational environment.

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“You see some of those guys how they perform, they don’t know anything,” Vianney said.

“They just run everywhere and you just try to use that energy.”

“You try to teach them certain fundamentals, because at the beginning some of the kids have never played basketball.”

Vianney said that when teaching kids at such a young age, he really just wants to see them put in effort, and for the kids to feel involved.

“You see those guys who learn how to compete and go hard and you want to see that at that age,” Vianney said.

“You have to go back and reach those kids.”

Additionally, the program has long-term benefits for Vianney and his staff because it can teach the kids concepts that will be helpful come high school.

“If you learn something when you’re young, by the time you get to high school there’s no limits,” Vianney said.

“You understand concepts so easily compared to a guy who just started and will have to learn the whole game.”

Along with the concepts and strategy of the game, the program helps young players learn about ball handling, passing, running and other fundamentals.

The kids learn how to play as a team, and that when in a group with four other kids they have to share the ball.

“We teach the team concept and get them to understand they play with other people,” Vianney said.

“At that age you just learn how to compete, run, sprint back on defense.”

“For them they’re allowed to have fun.”

Vianney also sees the program as a pipeline for young talent to reach the high school level.

He said the concepts are easier to teach when the kids are younger.

“You watch and understand that it’s important to reach those kids,” Vianney said.

“You watch those kids improve, and when they come to you in high school you’ve got a product.”

“You’ve got guys who understand their assignments.”

Vianney hopes the program keeps growing, and he said that in order to do so the parents will need to let their child experience what it’s like to play basketball.

“They have to let them get involved,” Vianney said.

“I wish the parents would let the kids come out and expose the kids to basketball. All you have to do is expose a kid to a sport and then he’ll make a decision if he wants to play or not.”