New program is designed to keep girls involved in sports and train female coaches and mentors.
By KELLEY D. EVANS, The Undefeated
Fourteen is a pivotal age for girls. It marks the point at which many of them have dropped out of sports — twice the rate as boys of the same age, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.
In an attempt to reverse those numbers, this week the NBA announced Her Time To Play, a new initiative to inspire girls ages 7-14 to learn and play basketball.
“In the age range of 7 to 14, when girls are facing many of the challenges, we’ve seen decline in participation,” said David Krichavsky, NBA vice president of youth basketball development. “We’ve also seen that there aren’t as many opportunities for women to serve in coaching and mentorship roles for girls. So we’ve launched a program this year as part of our Jr. NBA Week,” which runs Oct. 8-15.
The program will provide hundreds of youth organizations with a free basketball curriculum and life skills lessons developed specifically for young women. It also aims to train and license 500 new female coaches and mentors through USA Basketball’s Coach Licensing Program. Select coaches will be honored at the 2019 Jr. NBA Youth Basketball Leadership Conference for their commitment to growing the game.
“The response from the basketball community, the WNBA community and on social media has been that this is a truly important campaign, and a timely one too,” Krichavsky said. “We’re dealing with a society that’s evolving in a lot of ways, and we think this meets the needs of girls today.”
Her Time To Play is a collaboration with the WNBA, USA Basketball, YMCA of the USA, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Women’s Sports Foundation.