It's all about sharing. During 3- to 5-year-old games at the Hernando Branch YMCA on Saturdays, every boy or girl needs — and has — a chance to get their hands on the ball. "There's one ball for so many kids and we want them to learn that they can and need to pass it," sports coordinator Jennifer Huden said. "They take turns because we make sure each kid gets a chance to shoot and get it in the basket."
Huden and company shirk down the court and roll out short, plastic rims so players can make shots. However, no scores are kept.
Coaches help players learn about making the right passes, making longer shots each time around and then playing hands-up defense.
"They're excited every time the ball scores," Huden said. "But they learn to dribble as well. And, honestly, you'll have a laugh or two as they try to figure out how to dribble, but eventually, everyone gets it."
Similar to what a same-ages soccer game may look like, a big mob of players chase down the ball, and run up and down the court.
But that's okay. They're learning the game, all with smiles on their faces.
"They just go back and forth and shoot on hoop to hoop to learn the game," Huden said. "The repetition of it really gets through and that's how they pick it up."
For more information on basketball or other sports at the Hernando Branch YMCA, call (352) 688-9622.