Women athletes: we start ’em out young

The Lady Miners are serious about women’s sports and they’re determined to pass along their knowledge to tomorrow’s stars. Women in volleyball, soccer, softball and basketball all take time out of their seasons to host youth camps for area girls. To the women’s basketball team, these are not just sports lessons, they’re life lessons.


Every year, girls as young as 8 years old take the court in the Gale Bullman Multi-Purpose Building to learn the basics of basketball at a youth camp hosted by the Lady Miners. Campers learn how to pivot, dribble and shoot the ball, and run sprints. Lots of sprints. Once they have the basics down, they play a little three-on-three and four-on-four.

Some begin the four-day camp knowing next to nothing about the game; others are playing on their junior high school team. All of them are looking to the college stars for guidance.

The goal is not only to get girls interested in basketball, but to get them interested in the women’s basketball program at Missouri S&T, says Keri Hessel, assistant women’s basketball coach. She knows all about the importance of sports for girls.

“Competition is good at a young age,” Hessel says. “Playing sports gets girls used to working with each other. It prepares them for interacting with other women as adults and teaches them teamwork and leadership.”

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