Healthy Kids Healthy Living

Celebrating the 125th anniversary of basketball: the sport invented at the Y

YMCA Basketball

In December of 1891, YMCA members in Springfield, Mass. were struggling to stay active through the frosty winter. Canadian-born YMCA gym teacher James Naismith decided to get creative. He nailed two peach baskets to opposite sides of the gym’s balcony, about 10 feet off the ground, and directed the 18 young men in his class to try to sink a soccer ball into their opponents’ “net.” The game was an instant hit. By January, two teams had already faced off against each other in the first unofficial game of what Naismith called “Basket Ball.” The first 13 rules of the game – many of which remain in place today – were first published in the YMCA newspaper.

Today, basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world, and remains a favourite at the Y. At all 9 of our centres across the GTA, children, youth, and adults play hours of basketball every day, seven days a week. Right now, across all of our centres combined, we’re offering more than 230 hours of basketball instruction and games weekly. And, when classes and games aren’t scheduled, our members opt to use available gym space to play basketball 90% of the time.

It’s only fitting that, as the sport’s 125th anniversary approaches, basketball players and fans celebrate their roots. That’s why the YMCA has expanded its already extensive basketball programming: to ensure the kids in our community stay excited about basketball for years to come.

Starting in September, we’re debuting our new basketball curriculum for children ages 6 – 9. Participants work through 6 levels, learning new skills and techniques as they progress through these development stages, helping our youth improve their:

1. Stamina

Constant running, jumping, and dribbling keep heart rates high, allowing players to build their cardiovascular endurance.

2. Strength

Basketball players get a full-body workout and build lean muscles in their legs, arms, and core.

3. Coordination

Hand-eye coordination develops quickly when you’re always practicing dribbling and free-throws.

4. Self-discipline

This fast-paced game demands players’ full attention and commitment to their team, forcing them to become focused, speedy decision-makers.

5. Agility

Quickly avoiding opponents – or stealing the ball from them! – improves flexibility and dexterity.

In addition to being a fun way to stay fit, YMCA basketball programming also teaches kids our core values: Caring, Health, Honesty, Inclusiveness, Respect, and Responsibility.

By signing your child up for basketball lessons with us, you’re giving them the chance to get involved in their communities and develop their team-building skills, all while making new friends and building self-confidence. Check out the schedule of programs, then visit the membership desk at your local Y to register.