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Storm, Allstate Team Up for Basketball Clinic

Ashlee Folsom, storm.wnba.com | June 28, 2008
RENTON -- Tickets should have been sold to the Allstate Youth Basketball Clinic held recently at the Renton Skyway Boys and Girls Club. Twice as many spectators as participants came out to watch some very talented youngsters beat the Saturday heat by taking part in an afternoon of basketball fun led by Storm forward Shyra Ely and assistant coach Shelly Patterson.

“There’s a group of guys that play on an AAU team. They were showing their stuff and they looked really good,” Ely said.

The afternoon kicked off with all 20 kids huddling up at the center of the court and clapping in unison behind Coach Patterson, something the Storm also do at practice. It took the kids only four times to work as a team and stop all together. By then everyone was pumped and ready to begin.

“It was fun. I enjoy working with kids, especially in the early stages,” said Ely, who primarily coached the younger, more inexperienced players.

After lining up on the baseline, the group followed instructions from Coach Patterson on proper ready stance, how to jump stop and pivot, and ball-handling drills where Ely stressed the importance of control.

Not only did the kids improve their basketball skills they also learned that communication is a big key to the game. One of the older boys demonstrated another important aspect -- teamwork -- on accident when he grabbed a runaway ball for one of the younger girls during dribbling drills.

“I had to jump ahead with the bigger kids and do more things like v-cuts, square up, triple threat, and I used different terminology. The younger kids just take it at a little bit slower pace and we just made sure they understand what it is they’re doing and why they’re doing it this way,” said Coach Patterson.

While Coach Patterson took the bigger kids to the main basket, Ely demonstrated the most basic shot in basketball, the layup.

“It’s back to teaching again so I get a chance to remember how to teach how to do a layup. When you already have it you just take it for granted ... so just slow it down and make it a little more fundamental,” Coach Patterson told Ely.

Ely followed the advice and took it step by step, but when it came to actually shooting the ball, the only boy in her group was embarrassed because he was so small. After Ely picked him up so he could lay in the ball, he had a giant grin on his face and thanked her but he wasn’t the only friend Shyra made.

During autographs, a little “fashion queen” as it said on her shirt talked to Ely about their shared interest.

Besides autographs from both Ely and Coach Patterson, each participant received a voucher for tickets to one of three upcoming Storm games and an Allstate Insurance duffle bag with the Storm logo on the side.