Warwick hoops back in action

By ALEX SPONSELLER
Posted 7/2/20

Eric Simonelli and Jim Garcia of Warwick Youth Basketball, along with Higher Learning Basketball, tipped off their first week of summer clinics on Monday at Oakland Beach Park. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization had to

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Warwick hoops back in action

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Eric Simonelli and Jim Garcia of Warwick Youth Basketball, along with Higher Learning Basketball, tipped off their first week of summer clinics on Monday at Oakland Beach Park.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization had to adjust its typical summer camps in accordance with Governor Gina Raimondo’s guidelines for reopening the state.

These clinics, which will run for the next eight weeks, are more than just beginners camps. They teach local players grades 3-8 the skills necessary to take their game to the next level and how to succeed on a competitive program.

The sessions will be held in local outdoor parks and will also be in smaller numbers to ensure the safety of the participants.

“We have tailored our program this summer to follow COVID guidelines, we will have small group workouts going on over the next eight weeks. We have separated them out with competitive workouts for those travel players, we have been working with the City of Warwick with permits for the courts. We’re very grateful for the city,” said Simonelli. “We have a lot of kids in town, some from out of town, we’re happy to be here for the community and will have quite a bit to take in as time goes on.”

Some other precautions include players reporting their temperatures, as well as informing camp leaders of any symptoms similar to those experienced in COVID-19 cases. Campers will be required to bring and use their own equipment, as well as provide their own hand sanitizer, water bottles, while following a handful of other guidelines.

Between the steps taken in terms of safety and the fact that the clinics will be 100 percent outdoors, Simonelli and Garcia are hoping to be able to complete the eight weeks with no issues.

“We’re cautiously optimistic that we will be able to keep this going for the duration of the eight weeks. Obviously, things are changing every day. We will have kids in stable groups, we have created two sessions with the stable groups staying the same. It’s all outdoors. It’s exciting to work with Warwick and to continue to get the youth programs out there and to also use the parks,” said Simonelli.

Simonelli hopes that these rounds of clinics will further improve youth basketball in the city and bring the community together as it fights through the remainder of the pandemic.

“The competitive workouts are different than a normal camp. It’s mostly skill training and understanding the elite concepts of basketball, working in a 3-on-3 setting. This is not about it being an AAU-type of game, or a camp with scrimmages, it is more focused on the fundamentals,” said Simonelli. “The fundamentals have got to improve in Warwick and the kids have got to want to work hard to improve those and to get into shape. We’re excited to get out there.”

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