The wins have been tough to come by this season for the juvenile and junior boys basketball teams at Chatelech Secondary School. But that isn't for lack of effort, passion and dedication by the coaches and players.
Coach Brian Scarr is trying to build a foundation for future success and growth at the senior level.
"They are a splendid group of young fellows and I am really enjoying my time with them," Scarr said. "What I have been doing the last couple years is trying to build a program of development so we can have continuity and structure at least with grades 9 and 10, have the boys play ball and move a group up to senior. The challenge is to get solid coaching at the Grade 8 level so I can build on the work done there, and then have coaches at the senior level take my guys to the next step."
But for various reasons this has been a challenge at Chat with a changing coaching staff or a sometimes non-existent coaching staff. Coupled with that were health issues for Scarr in December 2011, which essentially wiped out that season, and having to rebuild the program in 2012.
Scarr is coaching the juvenile squad (all Grade 9 players) and the junior team (a blend of grades 9 and 10). He's being supported by Ellen Thomas and senior coaches Dave Teichrob and Dikran Zabunyan.
"These additional coaches have been awesome, and Ellen is a true saint - an unsung hero in my eyes," Scarr said. "I know the score sheet looks dismal, but what I have is a bunch of keen, athletic boys who lack a lot of experience, combined with a coach who is learning the intricacies of the game. The boys and I have said this year is a development year, building for the future. We are all about the team gaining experience. The wins will come next year and beyond - we hope."
And the results are getting better as the season has worn on.
"The boys are all competing and fighting every game against some pretty stiff competition," he said. "They are making vast improvements as they get battle hardened. They now see what the North Shore teams are like, what they do in warm ups, their skill level compared to us, etc. They know they need to work much harder and they are doing that. I need to learn more as a coach, and I'm doing that. We are already talking about summer ball camps, the boys working on their own away from official practice sessions. I rarely leave the gym, and I see daily that my guys are beginning to be gym rats."
On Tuesday both teams as well as some of the girls teams got a chance to learn from the best as Mike and Allison McNeill from Simon Fraser University and the National Women's Team were on hand for a pair of coaching sessions.
"I contacted Mike on a chance that he would come up, and he jumped at the opportunity," Scarr said. "To have Allison here as well, well that's just something really special. This is a type of opportunity for our players to see what it takes to be winners. It's a long process, but I'm confident we're building something here at Chat that everyone can be proud of."
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