Todd Kazinka’s son and a friend engaging in a bit of one-on-one

Dribbling is acceptable in certain circles

Sooke’s Todd Kozinka is heightening awareness of basketball, a low-cost, high accessibility sport steadily gaining popularity.

As the summer season gently comes to a close, some activities wind up and others start again.

Sooke’s Todd Kozinka is turning his efforts to heighten awareness of basketball, a low-cost, high accessibility sport that is steadily gaining popularity.

“I’m trying to get basketball more popular in Sooke,” said Kozinka. Kids “need to be starting younger if they want to do well when they are older.”

“It’s a really cheap sport,” he adds. “All you need is a pair of shoes and a basketball. You can play outside; you can play inside.”

Kozinka is once again offering a once-a-week basketball program through SEAPARC, promising “ample time for game play” and a focus on “fun and learning,” according to the program description.

Last year, Kozinka offered two programs at SEAPARC: one for six to eight year olds, and another for the nine to 11 group. This year, they are expanding and offering two additional programs: ages 12 – 15, and 16 – 20. All programs will run for six weeks, and then players can re-register for the next six-week session. The programs will run at either Poirier elementary or Journey middle school. (Refer to the SEAPARC program guide for complete information.)

The nine to 11 group will have an opportunity to play with the Westshore basketball and play in the Friday night league for an extra cost.

In speaking to the growth in popularity of basketball, Kozinka referenced a Forbes article (Forbes.com, July 12, 2013, “How Basketball Overtook Hockey As The Most Popular Youth Sport In Canada,” by Alicia Jessop) that stated how basketball is gaining popularity in Canada. “Today, the growth rate of basketball participation in Canada among the country’s youth exceeds that of hockey and soccer,” reads the article. “Since 2010, basketball participation has seen a growth rate of 16 percent. “

“When you play it right and get good coaching,” sums up Kozinka, “it’s a really fun game.”

Younger players are still learning basic skills. Most of their learning comes from actually playing the game, connecting with the basketball. “They just want to dribble and shoot.” Finesse, such as teamwork and playing the different position, develops with experience and age.

“My philosophy is that kids should play many different sports growing up … to develop physical literacy.”

Colleen Hoglund, the Recreation Program Coordinator, at SEAPARC spoke highly of the basketball program.

“The program has been really well received. Both sessions (in the past year) have been full or almost full.”

Hoglund says they have received positive feedback from parents. “Todd is an excellent coach, well received” by both the players and their students.

Repeat enrolment throughout the year confirms the popularity of the program.

Registration for these programs have just opened at SEAPARC.

“The sooner they register, the better,” said Hoglund, adding that space is limited.

“Fitness, the social aspect, meeting new friends, fun — which is essential for any age even adult,” said Kozinka.

And with his more-than-25 years of experience, Kozinka offers fun, fitness and extra dribbling on the courts of Poirier elementary and Journey middle schools this fall. And beyond.