The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) today announced a series of partnerships and initiatives to advance access in youth sports as part of the seventh annual Jr. NBA Week, which will take place Oct. 9-15. The partnerships and initiatives aim to combat barriers to participation as well as the disruption to youth sports access caused by the pandemic by enhancing youth sports coaching, increasing opportunities for girls to play and learn the game, and offering new school-based programming in communities across the U.S.:
Jr. NBA Coach Training and Resources:
Understanding that coaches play a critical role in developing young athletes and creating a positive youth sports experience, the Jr. NBA is partnering with Laureus Sport for Good USA - an organization committed to improving the lives of young people through sports - to launch a free online training program for youth basketball coaches, organizers and educators. The curriculum, which will include topics such as social and emotional learning (SEL), leadership, and player-coach relationships, will focus on fostering inclusiveness and positive experiences for youth players.
The program aims to train more than 10,000 youth basketball coaches to become SEL-credentialed over the next 12 months.
Her Time To Play:
Through a new partnership with Girls Leadership, a leadership development nonprofit organization that teaches girls to exercise the power of their voice, the NBA and WNBA will provide resources and leadership development curriculum rooted in SEL to enhance Her Time To Play, an initiative launched in 2018 to inspire young girls to play the game, develop as leaders and connect with one another through basketball. The partnership will help expand Her Time To Play to reach 20,000 girls through basketball clinics, life skills sessions and online learning.
During the week of the 2021 WNBA Finals presented by YouTube TV, the Jr. NBA and AT&T will be hosting Her Time To Play community conversations for girls ages 10-17 in the home markets of each WNBA Finals team. Each conversation will feature a WNBA player and coach from the market's corresponding Finals team who will lead a discussion about the challenges and opportunities for girls in sports, followed by a live Q&A with the participants.
With a continued focus on providing broad-based access to the sport and eliminating barriers to participation, the Jr. NBA will bring enhanced basketball programming to more than 3,000 elementary and middle schools across the country. This includes mental health and performance programming through Jr. NBA Next Level Mentality, a digital content series dedicated to teaching kids the importance of mind-body connection and how to gain a mental edge in sports and life using tips and resources from professional mental performance coaches and players from the NBA and WNBA.
"Every child deserves the opportunity to participate in sports and benefit from the values they teach, including teamwork, respect, determination and community," said NBA Senior Vice President, Head of Youth Development David Krichavsky. "Making basketball more accessible to young people - regardless of race, gender or socio-economic status - and fostering positive youth sports experiences has been a part of the Jr. NBA's mission for years, but is even more imperative as the youth sports community builds back from the pandemic. We look forward to working with Laureus Sport for Good, Girls Leadership and other community organizations to do our part to address gaps in youth sports participation."
Throughout Jr. NBA Week, all 30 NBA teams will host a series of virtual or in-person youth basketball events and programs for players, parents, coaches and referees in their communities in accordance with local public health guidelines. In partnership with Laureus Sport for Good, the Jr. NBA will host an outdoor basketball clinic at Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York for youth from three local community organizations: PeacePlayers, Riverside Hawks and Kids in the Game. The clinic will feature on-court skill development and life skills sessions that will allow participants to reflect on their youth basketball experience and ways to make the game more accessible.
For more information about the Jr. NBA, fans can visit http://jr.nba.com/, download the Jr. NBA Coach app, and follow the Jr. NBA on Facebook (Facebook.com/jrnba), Instagram (@jrnba) and Twitter (@jrnba).