Taken from the New Glasgow News – Jan 9th
(Rosalie MacEachern photo)
Allan Floyd’s passion for basketball developed in the stands, watching his daughters and their friends learning the game but he is now president of the rapidly-growing Pictou County Basketball Association.
You don’t have to be able to sink threes or grab the rim or dunk a ball to organize a thriving Pictou County basketball program for girls and boys.
Allan Floyd does not do any of the above but as president of the Pictou County Basketball Association he looks after registration, equipment, uniforms, insurance, funding, securing court times and a few dozen other important issues.
“I’m certainly not alone, I’ve got excellent people with me in the association,” he said.
In September 2013 the association began with 70 girls and boys and by the end of the season there were 120. Currently, there are 164 and Floyd expects to hit 200 before the season, which will likely run until the end of June, comes to an end.
“The ages run from four to 17 with most in the seven to 13 age range. Right now we have 51 per cent girls and 49 per cent boys and they are all developing their skills.”
Floyd grew up on an Antigonish County farm, where there was always work to be done, and never had the opportunity to play basketball. He graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with a degree in business and was immediately hired by Sobeys. He didn’t give basketball a thought until his oldest daughter expressed an interest in playing.
“She was very interested in music and it took us by surprise when she came home from A.G. Baillie saying she’d like to play basketball.”
Floyd and his wife, Carol, encouraged her to try out.
“We thought it was great for her to try something totally new but we didn’t realize how much fun she was going to have being part of a team. The relationships that developed between the girls and between their parents really amazed me. ”
That team did very well in county play but when they went to provincials it was soon clear they were not up to the level of play in other parts of the province.
“A few couples talked about that and we wondered what it would take to give our girls the opportunity to grow as players. We identified a few things but the issue sat on the back burner until Andy MacKay began coaching the girls in middle school. ”
Floyd described MacKay, who coaches the North Nova Education Centre girls team, as well as coaching within the association, as a dedicated and knowledgeable coach.
“Andy has a real interest in developing players as well as being competitive. Believe me, you can have as many administrators as you want but without strong coaches you can’t have a viable association.”
With that in mind, the association identified a need to develop coaches, as well as players.
“We recognized that coaches are volunteers and come from different backgrounds so we wanted to be able to provide training, to give them some help. We didn’t accomplish that in our first year but we did this season.”
The association organized two Basketball Nova Scotia weekend-long sessions for coaches and assistant coaches.
“The feedback has been very positive so we hope to be able to offer sessions again next year. Right now we’re blessed with people who really want to be good coaches.”
In keeping with its commitment to develop players, the association does not hold tryouts but instead offers a series of skills sessions in fall and spring and then evaluates players with a view to what level is appropriate for their skills.
“We recognize that basketball skills can develop late so it is important to teach kids to play various positions, not to have them get stuck in the first position they are put in. Everyone should get the chance to ball handle, play point guard or try a post position.”
In addition to attending his two daughters’ practices and games, Floyd sees all members of the association on the court.
“Early on I had to go to every session because we had so little equipment I had to bring in the balls from place to place. The plus side of that was I got to see kids of all ages learning new skills. The youngest kids would be just out there having fun while you could see some nervousness in the next age group and then the oldest kids were getting competitive.”
The association’s rapid growth has definitely brought some challenges but Floyd is looking confidently to the future.
“We’re keeping our registration fees low and making sure anyone who wants to play has the opportunity. Some executive members had to underwrite our costs in Year One but we’re treading water now and that’s not bad considering we’ve tripled our supplies and bought six new sets of Pictou County Lightning uniforms at about a thousand dollars a set.”
Floyd, who is currently director of workforce management with Sobeys, had more than 7,000 basketball-related emails in the past year.
Read the New Glasgow News article here.