With snow falling and temperatures dropping, outdoor sports have come to a temporary end. However, the work is never done for recreation sports programs across the state of New Jersey as various youth indoor sports have begun. In the town of Sparta, located in Sussex County, the popularity of indoor sports such as basketball remains strong with kids and parents. Sparta youth basketball is split by age level and gender. The high school programs are open while the middle school children are grouped together by grade.
“I’ve been with the program for about 4 years but this is the first time I’ve coached a team by myself under my name,” said Jake Schultz, the coach of the 7th and 8th grade girl’s basketball team. “I want to try to get everyone involved, give them a role and have them take pride in their role.”
The program is based around helping kids enjoy basketball while building teamwork and promoting physical fitness. Games are played against neighboring towns and all teams work towards playoff and championship games.
“I see the players enjoying the sport and having fun while learning and exercising,” said Schultz. “It’s also important when the kids develop new friendships.”
Schultz has a new outlook for his team this year. He plans to have his kids work together and meet each other while being able to enjoy the sport. Even though the season is just getting started, Schultz has high hopes for his team.
“Plans specifically basketball wise would include developing a defense that requires communication and teamwork called a 2-3 zone and a lot of moving around and passing offensively. But more importantly, I would like them to get more comfortable with each other and make friends,” said Schultz. “Not all of the kids know each other and some are shy. It’s my job and the job of my assistants to loosen them up and focus their attention onto basketball and having fun learning instead of ‘where am I?’ and ‘who are these other girls?’ while worrying what they look like while dribbling or shooting.”