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DocDrew’s Swish Issue 4, Volume 4

Welcome to the fourth issue of volume four of Swish, a weekly periodical with recaps and photos of Santa Monica YMCA youth basketball games, and other pertinent info such as announcements and updates from the program.

The Santa Monica YMCA currently has teams playing in the Culver-Palms summer league.  The season is getting near the midpoint, and the heat is on, literally. Many games are played in locations of very hot gymnasiums, but these kids are eager and nothing will stop them from playing.  Coaches are making sure that all players are staying hydrated, and as the summer heats up, we recommend all parents do the same for their kids when performing activities in the heat.

The Santa Monica YMCA is now having registration for the Fall Youth Basketball League, at the Santa Monica YMCA or online at http://welcome.ymcasm.org/programs/youth/sports-play/

We are filling up fast, we can only take 300 total kids for the Fall program, and we are currently at a total of 235 signed up.  Please see the flyer below for more information.

Sometimes the car ride home can be tough for the youth player, here’s some advice from the Positive Coaching Alliance to make that car ride home from the game, an enjoyable learning experience.

3 Questions Parents Can Ask For A Better Car-Ride Home Conversation

Michael Connell is a former professional golfer who played on the PGA Tour (@PGATOUR). Connell attended Mississippi State University and now resides in Dallas, Texas.

According to Connell, if a child has played poorly, the parent has the perfect opportunity to fill a kid’s emotional tank, rather than continue to drain it during the car-ride home.

Connell suggests that if you say anything related to the game at all, you might think about asking the following three questions:

1) What did you learn today?

2) What can we improve on next time?

3) Did you have fun?

Connell also reminds parents that most kids do not play professional sports or college sports, so parents cannot forget that third and most important question as they try to keep it fun for their kids. This can help kids focus on the positives more than the negatives of their experience.

6-7 year olds

The Santa Monica Stars took on Culver City Team 3 in a mid-morning run at Culver Middle School.

Continuing his outstanding play, Luca Anderson anchored the team on offense and defense; scoring 10 points, 7 rebounds, 6 steals, and added a couple of nifty passes to set-up his teammates for open shots.  

Theo Decordoba and Kai Badat cooked up some early offense together with Theo assisting on Kai’s 3 baskets.  Kai and Theo finished the game with 6 points each. Roman Gabriel got it going too when he dropped in a 12′ jumper from the right wing.

The Stars jumped out to an early lead, but Team 3 started to heat up and got into the game.  Atticus Sparks got several defensive stops, attacking the dribbler constantly, leading to steals and transition offense.

David Casparian was tough on the boards as usual.  Atticus and David both scored baskets to help keep the Stars ahead in the game.  Miles Smith and Oliver Harris showed some good hustle on defense as well.

Miles came away with a couple of rebounds and made good plays on the court to advance the ball to wide open teammates.  Ollie added some rebounds to his season total and had a couple of looks at the basket thanks to smart passing by the team.

Our best effort of the season so far.  

Final Score:  Stars: 28 Team 3: 16

Submitted by Coach Charles Ellinwood

The amazing photography of Casper Casparian, as he took shots of the undefeated Stars coached by Charles Ellinwood

Samo Stars team 6 vs Culver City team 2

With Summer vacation season at a height, both teams had just enough players to play.  Samo had 5 kids, and Culver had 6. Stars had endless close shots, but this was definitely not their day.  Stars only had one shot connect the whole game by way of a free-throw by Colson Moore who also pulled down 2 rebounds in the game.   

Sylvie Levitt chipped in with 7 rebounds and 1 steal.  Catherine Casa grabbed 6 rebounds and snagged 2 steals.  Laila Elliot took down 5 rebounds, and Tristan Hayes had 6 rebounds.  Stars just couldn’t get anything going offensively and took the loss 8-1 bringing the Stars to a 2-2 record on the season.  Thanks to Jason Moore for keeping stats. Submitted by Coach Holden Hayes

I took some photos of Coach Holden Haye’s Santa Monica Stars in action against the Culver-Palms YMCA.
Undefeated Santa Monica Stars with Coach Charles Ellinwood.  Photo by Pete Arbogast
Photos from Pete Arbogast of the Santa Monica YMCA Stars 28-12 victory over the Culver-Palms YMCA

8-9 year olds

The SM Stars played their 4th game on Saturday coming off back to back victories. Going up against a very strong opponent we lost a tough game 29-12 but everyone played hard until the final horn.  James Cook returned to play his first game of the season after being away, and had a strong game that included a steal and basket. Jordan Blum, Gavin O”Brien, Ryan Etemadnia, and Vaughn Elliott also scored to help the team. Dominic Drew, Bella Kariger, Dylan Kravitz, Ryan Chambers and Chase Jenkins(had an assist) all contributed with rebounding, dribbling and good defense. While our record is now even at 2-2 we continue to grow as a team.  Submitted by Coach Bill Kravitz

12-14 year olds

Another great game on Saturday. The Lakers came up short for the first time this year but honestly it was a great experience for the boys who battled until the end against an undefeated and physically superior Westchester team. I was very proud of the boys willingness to compete the entire game even though we were down on the scoreboard for most of it. As we teach the boys, sometimes we win and sometimes we lose, but in this game and in life we never quit, and that is exactly what the boys showed the entire game. I was so very proud of their sustained competitive effort.  

The Lakers were led by Dash Decker with 10 points and twice as many hard fought rebounds against bigger players. Estevan Rodriquez had his best game of the year with a furious 8 points down the stretch while also playing a physical defense that kept the larger kids at bay. Most impressive however was the fight of our two point guards Eli Eng and Xailoh Hermosillo who were half the size of the opponents guards but fought tooth and nail to prevent penetration of our zone and to make sure that the bigger kids knew they were in a game against a team willing to compete.  All in all a great day for the boys! Submitted by Coach Mark Ulrich

After a back and forth affair, the SM YMCA 15U Stars were down one point with less than a minute left in the game.  After working the clock down to ten seconds, Nasir Luna hit the go ahead basket on a challenging baseline drive. With six seconds left after a timeout, the opponent drove the length of the court and was able to get a point blank shot, but the ball rolled off the front of the rim as time expired to preserve the victory for the Stars.

Nasir Luna led the way in scoring and assists while Keegan Fleigner went eight for nine from the free throw line while leading the team in rebounds and blocks.  Griffin Pine and Mikey Hanasab chipped in a few three pointers while other players who contributed included Kayvon Abadi, Guy Carter, Jaxson Glowacki and Jason Tun.  Submitted by Coach Jim Fleigner

This Week’s Profile

Each week, Swish has a profile of a coach, player, or someone in the program who inspires all of us involved in Santa Monica YMCA basketball.  

This week’s profile is of one out summer coaches, Mark Ulrich who is currently coaching the U15 Santa Monica YMCA team that is currently playing in the Culver-Palms YMCA summer league.  Mark is also the girls varsity basketball coach at Santa Monica High school.

Mark emphasizes positive reinforcement with his players, and offers sound advice, and expects his players to give their utmost attention and performance in practice and games.  For these reasons, he earns the respect and appreciation of his players who are grateful to have him for their coach.

Coach Mark Ulrich pointing out game play to Eli Levi

Mark was gracious enough to answer my questions for the Swish:

DocDrew:  What do you enjoy most about coaching youth basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA?

Coach Mark:  I love working with the kids at the YMCA. The age range I coach is 12-15 year old boys who are at a stage in their lives where they are starting to find their independent wings. Kids at this age are often very open and eager to experience new ideas, making them incredibly fun to converse with and to encourage.  Our practices are at 6:00 p.m. so naturally I can be a little tired sometimes walking into the gym, after a full day of working as a risk consultant in the commercial insurance world. However, I know beyond a shadow of any doubt that when I leave the gym that night I will be smiling and walking on clouds with the energy to do whatever I want because of all the positive and honest energy that I have experienced the last hour and a half. The kids are an incredible fuel to my soul and never do I have one second of regret for the commitment I have made to volunteer with these kids three days a week. It is a blessing for me to work with the diversified collection of kids at the YMCA.

DocDrew:  What do you see in this current generation of young players?

Coach Mark:  I see this generation of kids as much smarter than the generations before and certainly under more pressure. I will not get into all of the social media issues this generation has had to deal with from the beginning of their time, but I see the basketball court as a true emotional relief for each child. There are no phones or devises of any kind on the court, just each other and the challenge. I find the bonding very strong among the players during this time on the court together. The boys are actually talking to each other face to face versus the texting or whatever else they are doing to communicate away from the court. We have one female player who is 9, she is the sister of one of the boys on the team who I allow to play with us. You should see the way all the boys care for her as a sister. Watching these kids work with each other and me as their coach gives me great faith in this generation of young people.

Coach Mark Ulrich working with the kids

DocDrew:  What do you hope to see as these young players grow and mature?

Coach Mark:  I want each player to see and feel a positive perspective in all that they do, even their mistakes. These kids are under so much pressure outside the court that if I can teach them to see who they are as individuals in a positive light then I have done my job, and they are on their way to happy lives and perspectives. Life is good, they are all great young people, and to know and feel good about themselves when they leave our court is the simple goal each day we interact. My hope is that they take these lessons with them wherever they go.

DocDrew:  Any advice that you would give to parents?

Coach Mark:  I have two daughters 30 and 22. I made a million mistakes with each as their parent so I am not judging or lecturing. I learned several things along the way as a parent myself that I would share as a parent/coach. Your time to guide them as impressionable children goes very fast so try to enjoy it while you have them under your wing. Always love your kids, even when they make big mistakes or are impossible to understand. The time that you are next to them in youth sports is the perfect time to unconditionally love and support them as their biggest fans!  Stay away from the score, and if their game means more to you than it does to them please take a honest look at your past experience with youth sports and try to work it out so that it does not hinder your opportunity to unconditionally cheer for them. Unconditional support will give your kids the opportunity to play free and loose knowing that no matter what they do in the game, they have a support that wants to take them out for ice cream to celebrate the fact that they stepped on the stage to play! It takes great courage to play in front of peers and your family so honor them and take them for ice cream.

Coach Mark Ulrich giving encouragement and advice to Sophie Levi.

The Santa Monica YMCA is ever grateful to have Coach Mark volunteer his time to help our generation of youth succeed and become our future leaders.  Coach Mark sets the example of what we all want our youth coaches to be, inspiring and motivating.

Thank you very much,

Dr. Paul Drew, youth basketball coordinator at the Santa Monica YMCA,  editor and publisher of Swish

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