Chad Dahlen is hoping to keep some local children as active as possible – while also learning more skills they can develop on the basketball court.
“The goal of the skill sessions and open gyms are to help kids stay active, develop self confidence, and learn fundamentals of the game of basketball, Dahlen said recently.
“It has been mostly geared towards fifth and sixth grade boys but we also have a group of third graders that have been getting into the gym being coached by Halliday resident, Carissa Swenson.
“Eighth grader Gracie Doe and Ryan Schleppenbach have been assisting me in going through work-outs with the young men,” he added.
“We currently have three boys teams that have been traveling around and playing in basketball tourneys through out North and South Dakota. Our sixth grade team has been active in playing in basketball tourneys in Bismarck, Mandan, Dickinson, Wilton, Watford City, Killdeer and Rapid City. They are also planning on playing in a big tourney down in Kansas at the end of the summer,” Dahlen said.
The goal for the coaches has been to offer the kids an alternative to the popular AAU programs that are big in the other states.
“The difference between the AAU programs and many of the teams that we are playing against in the tourneys is that the AAU teams recruit only the best, tallest and most athletic players to their teams.
“We are playing with only Killdeer kids and we are looking to develop all of our players.
“We do our best to make sure everyone has equal playing time and stress development over winning. That does not mean we are not competitive as we have made the championship game several times this season and have been competitive in most of the games we play.
“Coach Schleppenbach and I both have been studying what the successful programs are doing through out the United States and it involves a lot of skill sessions and fundamentals.
“We tell the boys that they are not going to pick up everything in one practice but rather it takes plenty of repetition and they have to be patient with the process.”
According to Dahlen, many of the successful programs have their boys starting as early as third and fourth grade in these tourneys.
“Most teams that are not playing by this time have a hard time competing.
“We have found few Class B teams in these tourneys so we feel a sense of pride in competing against some of the best sixth graders in the state.
“The boys all have dreams of putting Killdeer back on the map again for basketball and playing in the state tourney,” he added.
So they feel that they are the ones that are going to blaze a trail to push each other to get to that next level.
Mr. Brock Pittsley has been instrumental in providing strength training to the 6th grade boys as he has been pushing them in the weight room teaching them the basics of correct form in push ups, sit ups, abdominal work as well as pull ups and other body weight exercises to help give them the edge on the court. He has also started teaching some of the important core lifts to the boys that has really started to show up on the court. A big hats off to Mr. Pittsley in getting these student athletes excited about lifting.