Armstrong, MacKay hosting weekly training sessions in New Glasgow
© CHRISTOPHER CAMERON – THE NEWS
Jaya Sood, left, looks for an open player while Hailey Conley guards her during an open training session on Tuesday night at North Nova. The sessions, which run each Tuesday until Oct. 15, are for girls in grades 8-12 at any school in Pictou County.
NEW GLASGOW – Anne Armstrong has only been involved with basketball in Pictou County for the last four years, but said she’s witnessed nothing but positive growth.
In the summer program that she is involved with there are 28 kids involved in two separate groups, on top of 24 kids from grades 4-6 who are involved in their open gym sessions.
“I think there’s a pretty big movement of people that want to coach and want to get the kids involved and make it fun for them,” she said. “For the season of the sport itself, if you aren’t involved with hockey there are not a lot of other things for girls to participate in for a team sport. You can go snowboarding or something along those lines, but not an actual team sport.”
Armstrong, a coach and former player, is currently the head coach of the North Nova girls basketball team. With the help of Andy MacKay, the head coach of the girls team at New Glasgow Junior High, they are currently running training sessions each week at NNEC on Tuesday nights from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. They are free and are meant to work on players conditioning, skills and game play.
“Well we take the summer off with our club program – after the end of July we might play once,” she said. “We just like to get the kids in the gym and keep them active. We took an eight-week hiatus and now we’re back in the gym to get everyone prepared for their tryouts basically.”
Although she coaches at North Nova and the training sessions are held there, with kids from all three high schools and various junior highs involved. The focus is on improving Pictou County players as a whole.
“I’ve always been part of programs that once you stop competing against each other that you want your area to do the best that they can do,” said Armstrong. “If we can develop programs and a few kids from Pictou Academy, for instance, want to come and that helps them win a regional banner, that’s terrific. It’s the same with Northumberland if we can help improve players in the county and help them bring a regional banner to the area and grow the sport even more.”
Armstrong continued by saying that having the girls from throughout the county come together for the training sessions or for the summer program it helps improve the fundamentals in players from various programs, which will in turn help those schools improve as their own group, hopefully gaining more interest.
“It’s great for us because what it allows us to do is it allows the kids to develop fundamentals all in the same way, so their base is really strong,” she said. “As they continue to grow and develop it strengthens all the high school programs, which we’ve definitely seen in the last two years that I’ve been coaching here. We’re gaining a reputation of a program that’s developing and growing and the kids are improving in their skill level.”
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris