A $US12,000 basketball shooting machine at Mornington Secondary College is taking students’ skills to new heights.
The imported US equipment, donated by former student Martin Scanlon, is a focal point at the morning Basketball Academy training sessions. It can be adjusted for speed, different angles, and ball returns giving students a range of shooting experiences in pre-set timeframes.
“I grew up in Mornington and went to the school here and saw the kids training in the morning and wondered how I could support them,” Mr Scanlon said.
“I think there is a real opportunity for the kids to improve using this machine because they can do 100 shots in five minutes – instead of the previous half an hour it would take to have to fetch the balls back.”
After many years of cricket and other games Mr Scanlon is aware of the value of sport on young minds and bodies. “I know how good sport is and I want them to get the most out of it,” he said.
Teacher Johnny Walker said Mr Scanlon’s “significant gift” was much appreciated. “We have 25-50 children practising here from 7.15-8.15am and the shooting machine is certainly improving their skills and fitness,” he said.
Three coaches, including basketball squad coach Jason Darlington, guide the students in the free sessions.
The shooting machine – with its practice-repetition features – will, hopefully, be an effective “hook” to attract them to basketball.
Up to 100 students also practise swimming, netball and volleyball in the school’s morning sessions.
“It’s all free; we don’t want any kids excluded because of the cost,” Mr Walker said.