The Bulls may be locked out until Christmas Day, but Chicago’s other professional basketball organization is making sure the game is still being played at its highest level in the Windy City.
The Chicago Sky, which will start its seventh WNBA season in 2012, held the first of several youth basketball clinics in the Chicagoland area at on Saturday. More than 40 girls and boys participated in the clinic, going through a variety of drills to hone their basketball skills.
“We’ll be doing a lot of our offseason clinics at different high schools and universities,” said Julie Bielawski, youth basketball coordinator for the Chicago Sky. “We try and stay more active in the community with youth basketball, keep our name out there, expose the younger kids to what the Sky is all about.”
Bielawski and other members of the Chicago Sky staff set up different stations focused on shooting, passing, dribbling and defense. The campers, who ranged in age from seven to 17, spent two hours rotating through the different stations and working on fundamentals.
I liked that you had different stations to learn about stuff,” said Daniel Kalinowski, 9, a fourth-grade student at St. Eugene School in Chicago. “Shooting where you pivot on your inside foot and passing with your thumbs down.”
After the training session was finished, campers engaged in a Q&A with the Chicago Sky staff and players on the Loyola Academy girls basketball team. Some stayed afterwards to watch the Ramblers take on Benet Academy and got to see Loyola come out with a win.
By participating in the camp, kids also received a ticket to the 2012 Chicago Sky home opener. Bielawski and the Sky will continue to put on clinics throughout the winter with the goal of improving their brand and the level of basketball throughout Chicago.
“[The drills] are so important,” said Bielawski, who played basketball at . “I just think back to when I was a kid, what would’ve helped me excel as a player and try to implement that here with the Sky at Loyola and wherever we’re running clinics at.”