Windsor student hosts basketball workshop

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Fri., Apr. 27, 2012
Ayanna McDougald teaches a girl the proper technique to shoot a ball during the basketball seminar. Photos by Colin Rajala.
Ayanna McDougald teaches a girl the proper technique to shoot a ball during the basketball seminar. Photos by Colin Rajala.

More than 20 girls from the Windsor public school system spent a part of April 25 exercising and learning a new sport. Windsor children took time out of their day to come to the Windsor High School gym and lace up their sneakers tight to participate in a basketball workshop. The clinic was run by Windsor freshman guard Ayanna McDougald, Windsor varsity basketball head coach Vinnie Cianfarani and assistant coach Tim Hogan.

“I was excited about the big turnout,” McDougald said. “Originally I had trouble advertising the event, but I was confident that girls would come out for a free event like this.”

The basketball clinic was hosted by the three alongside the Windsor Parks and Recreation Department. The seminar also featured volunteer counselors from the Windsor girls’ basketball team who donated their time to be camp counselors.

“When Ayanna approached us about the workshop, we wanted to help because we thought Windsor needed an infusion of more kids playing the game,” Cianfarani said. “The goal is to increase awareness of the sport; getting more kids to play and more kids to learn will only benefit the basketball program, the school and the community.”

McDougald set up the free basketball clinic as part of her Seminar I class. The gifted and talented classes’ main focus is to provide students with academic enrichment. The promising students are taught how to plan and execute projects and events that they are passionate about from beginning to end.

McDougald’s passion for basketball began at an early age and flourished when she played AAU basketball at 9 years old. She joined the basketball team in the winter. This past season, she started for the freshman team and was moved up to junior varsity shortly thereafter. Towards the end of the season, McDougald was called up to the varsity squad and played in a few games, contributing immediately.

“Sometimes she’s in a shell and events that she likes to do like this one will help her break out of it,” Cianfarani said. “She’s a conscientious kid to put this on and she was conscientious on the court through the season. If she keeps it up, she will be a leader for us in the future and competing for a starting spot.”

The basketball workshop taught girls from elementary school and middle school the basic fundamentals of dribbling, passing and shooting. The seminar started out with basic exercises. The girls warmed up running the court in pairs practicing different passes back and forth to each other.

The girls then were instructed by Cianfarani on the proper way to hold a ball while shooting, as well as the technique behind it. Girls broke off and shot in small groups at hoops, receiving individual assistance and instruction from McDougald and the other Windsor basketball players.

Dribbling and ball-handling skills were also covered in the workshop. The girls raced each other in dribble relays, focusing not only on speed, but also on precision and control, even playing a variation of a game of tag while dribbling. The event also featured a raffle for the participants, with girls winning Connecticut Sun tee-shirts, a Subway gift card, a Parks and Recreation gift certificate and a Windsor pool pass.

“I wanted to help others out and get them interested in the sport,” McDougald said. “I’m shy and I’ve been working to get my voice louder and heard. I hope this event teaches girls the fundamentals they need to grow in the future as basketball players and leaders.”

McDougald and Cianfarani plan on holding another basketball workshop around Memorial Day. Those interested in attending the event should contact or call 860-922-3965.

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