THE MAGIC of a former Harlem Globetrotter is rubbing off on basketball camps which aim to boost children’s self-esteem.
Think, Believe, Achieve (TBA) Basketball use the sport as a vehicle to inspire young people to achieve their personal goals and dreams.
Sessions started last year, and are held at Farnham Heath End School, Eggar’s School in Alton and Oakmoor School in Bordon.
Children from five to 17 years old are able to attend.
TBA believe in not only the physical attributes of sport, but the benefits to the mental health, self-confidence and self-belief of young people. The sessions are run by two ex-professional players, Carl Miller and former Halem Globetrotter Alan Cunningham.
Miller starred for a number of British Basketball League teams, including the Guildford Kings, while Cunningham also enjoyed a long spell in the British league, including a successful spell with Portsmouth.
Miller, who leads the sessions, is enthused by the difference he is making to young people’s lives.
“The kids need these sessions,” he said. “When they first turn up we see how low their self-esteem is.
“By the end of the session they don’t want to leave.
“This is all about self-belief and self-esteem. Life is easy. People make it hard.
“I promise to the children that I believe in them. We teach them Think, Believe Achieve, as if they think it, they’ll believe it and achieve it.
“The kids here don’t hate school, they love it. We tell them to dream. We advise the children to be the best version of themselves. Everyone is on their own journey.
“We teach them to be comfortable in their own space. If the children love themselves their life becomes easy.
“Kids look at other kids. This is all about passing the confidence on.
“We want the children to inspire other kids. Hopefully it will be a ripple effect.”
Miller has big plans to expand the programme.
“We’ve got the sessions in Farnham, Alton and Bordon, and my goal is to start a league so they can play basketball against each other,” he said.
“I want to have a hub for basketball in Farnham.
“I invest in people, I don’t invest in money.”
Ex-Harlem Globetrotter Cunningham, who had the nickname Vitamin C when he played for the world-renowned American exhibition team, is also positive about the impact the sessions are having.
“People make mistakes, that’s what learning is,” he said.“We teach the children failure is good as they have to fail to succeed. Everyone fails at something.
“The main thing is the young people can feel safe here.
“They know it’s a place they can go and have fun.”
Sessions at Farnham Heath End School are held on Saturdays, although there is no session this week.
Sessions for children aged between five and 12 years old run from 2pm to 4pm on Saturdays, while sessions for children aged between 12 and 17 years old are from 4pm to 6pm.
The sessions at Eggar’s and Oakmoor are currently on a summer break.
Oakmoor’s sessions, which are held on Wednesdays from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, resume on September 8. The sessions at Eggar’s, which are held on Thursdays from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, return on September 9. The cost is £12 per session or £42 per month.