The WNBA”s Detroit Shock sent director of community relations Eve Claar and all-star power forward Wendy Palmer to teach the fundamentals of basketball in a clinic at Crisler Arena before yesterday”s game between Michigan and Northwestern.
“In order for them to be great players, they have to work at the basics first and get that down,” Claar said.
Palmer stood in front of attentive children and shared some of her basketball philosophies.
“My motto is offense does not win games, defense does,” she told them.
She showed defensive stances and had the children emulate her. For most of the clinic, it was Claar, a high school coach at Birmingham Groves in the Auburn Hills area, who gave the instructions while Palmer walked around the court, almost acting as an assistant.
“Eve is really the clinic specialist,” Palmer said. “I”m just here to help in any way and interact with them on a more personal basis.”
With smiles and a playful nature, Palmer exhibited a sincerity in her work for the community, as well as her skill.
“Once we get out there with the kids, that”s what it”s all about,” she said. “I enjoyed giving back to the game. I don”t want to give back when my shoes are hung up and the ball stops bouncing I want to give back while they can still see me put everything to use that I tell them.”
This is the third year in which the Shock has set up clinics at different local universities to share its basketball knowledge. Claar and Palmer held a clinic just last Thursday at Michigan State before the Spartans hosted the Michigan women”s basketball team.
Some Wolverines took a peek at the yesterday”s event before the game.
“I think it”s awesome that they take the time to come down here to Ann Arbor and work out with these little girls,” guard Alayne Ingram said.
Mary Rogers from the Detroit Shock”s front office reported that last year”s attendance at the clinic in Crisler reached 50, whereas this year it totaled 75 an encouraging sign for the growth of the Shock and women”s basketball. In addition to learning from Claar and Palmer, participants of the clinic were invited to stay for the following Michigan game.
“It”s kind of a close sorority of women”s basketball fans, players and coaches,” Claar said. “We just want to be here to support them and hope that they”ll come out and support us.”
Parents and coaches brought their children to come learn from the Shock”s star forward, but gained more than just lessons in drills. With the WNBA still a relatively new league, it needs to show young female athletes positive role models they can look to follow.
The opportunity to meet with Palmer and watch the game allowed the kids “to be able see players playing at higher levels and dream to be at that level,” Claar said.