Tucson, AZ, WPH Press, 5/6/19- JR WPH proudly completed weekly winter and spring junior handball clinics at Tucson’s renowned Khalsa School, home to the best 1-Wall court facility on the west coast. JR WPH Coaches introduced handball to every seventh and eighth grade student at Khalsa School during the 2019 winter and spring handball initiative, breaking students into groups of 6-8 per one-hour session.
After a dynamic warm-up, the students progressively worked towards rallying, first throwing the ball with both hands, hitting the ball with both hands, serving, hitting the ball back to the wall, playing cooperative rallies, and eventually playing points. While progressively learning the sport, students were taught the 1-Wall rules and handball trivia, with the emphasis always on having fun and skill-building.
“By the end of each session, the students were not only rallying and having a great time, but all of them could tell you that Killian Carroll and Catriona Casey are the number one handball players in the world,” stated JR WPH Master Instructor David Fink. “That’s really cool!”
“It was really fun being out here with these kids,” stated JR WPH Coach and University of Arizona engineering major Spence Hatcher. “All of the kids gave their best effort and a lot of them were rallying really well by the end of the sessions.”
“The middle schoolers have really been enjoying the handball instruction,” stated Khalsa School director Nirvair Khalsa. “Thank you to the WPH for taking the time to come out and teach them.”
JR WPH will kickoff an exciting summer of junior handball coaching, complete with summer camps and collaborative junior handball coaching efforts with the USHA. Stay tuned!
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Beaverton, OR, WPH Press, 4/15/19- The first ever H S State Championship was held in conjunction with the ’19 OR State Handball Championships, as Horizon Christian School (PDX) brought over a 12 students to the tournament. The students were broken into three round robin pools, with freshman Josh Rogers winning the A division, freshman Caleb Yuan winning the B division, and eighth grader Jacy Johnston winning the C division.
WPH pros and 2019 Oregon men’s open singles finalists Dalton Beall and Cody Townsend generously took time to provide a clinic for the students, with the superstars demonstrating skills to the youngsters and then engaging them in rallies. “The students absolutely loved connecting with the pros,” boasted coach Oscar Stenberg. “This has been such a rewarding experience for the students.”
“We had 27 high school and collegiate students participating, which us the most I can ever remember,” stated OR junior handball coach and donor Steve Grow. “It’s wonderful to see the next generation of players on the horizon in Oregon.”
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-Nick Flores, WPH reporter
Phoenix, AZ, WPH Press, 4/3/19- Carl Hayden High School’s flourishing junior handball program hosted its first “Hayden JR King of the Courts” on the last weekend in March, with Carl Hayden’s enthusiastic handball team members seeking to become the first Carl Hayden High School handball “King.”
Play kicked off on Saturday, with all of Carl Hayden’s 3-Wall courts filled for the first King of the Courts. “The action was so competitive, those players who lost immediately asked for a consolation bracket,” stated Carl Hayden Head Handball Coach Chris Hogan. “The winning players were already asking to have the pizza ordered for their Advisory, the confidence!”
Uziel Rodriguez advanced to the King of the Courts final, overcoming Chris Cedeno in a sensational 16-14 one-game match to challenge Carl Hayden’s top star Rodrigo Silva for the crown. “Uziel’s and Chris’ match was a wonderful exchange of good handball,” beamed Coach Hogan.
The final was dubbed a David vs. Goliath, Uziel vs. Rodrigo. Rising handball scholar, Uziel, entered the match believing he had better odds playing the Power Ball than beating Hayden Handball Legend, Rodrigo Silva. The early play was a classic duel of back and forth exchange of kill shots and eye-popping rallies. Uziel would not let Rodrigo out of his sight, staying within striking distance at 1-3, 3-5, and even taking the lead at 8-7. The lack of experience, however, was eventually revealed. Rodrigo tied the match at eight and never looked back, capitalizing on Uziel’s mistakes to close out the match, 15-8.
“Though Uziel tried to fight back, he was running out of “rocks” and Rodrigo would not allow him to score another point,” stated Coach Hogan. “It was a very good game and a learning experience for Uziel, but a “King” had to be crowned! I want to congratulate Rodrigo Silva as our first Hayden Jr. King of the Court Champion.”
With Rodrigo and Uziel making it to the finals, they both earned a pizza party for their respective Advisory’s. The Carl Hayden Handball Club wants to thank you everyone for the donations, support, and continued encouragement. Have a great week!!
Pictures and recap courtesy of Chris Hogan
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Longmont, CO, WPH Press, 2/24/19- The Redpoint Center, an outpatient substance abuse and mental health treatment program located in Longmont Colorado held the first of what will be an ongoing series of handball clinics for both youth and adults on February 24, 2019 at the Longmont Athletic Club.
Sponsored by the Costigan youth Handball fund and JR WPH, the clinic was led by handball coach Bob Hickman, WPH Race 4 Eight 10th ranked player Jonathan Iglesias, former Colorado State Singles Open champion Armando Ibarra, and local handball favorites Jason Gregory and Kyle Jones. 11 young men and women between the ages of 15 and 20 got to learn the fundamentals of handball, practice with the veterans, hear life stories, and watch an intense scrimmage.
Redpoint Center owner/founder Cody Gardner, “As a person who is in long-term recovery myself, and having developed a passion for the sport of handball, this has been an amazing opportunity to expose these young men and women to a sport that they can play the rest of their lives. The stories of commitment, practice, friendship and perseverance were not lost on these young men and women.”
Initially somewhat hesitant, each participant met with Bob Hickman in the main court to hear introductions from the coaches, followed by the fundamentals of how to make contact with the ball, returning, defense, footwork and serves. 16-year-old Charles, “I have played sports my whole life and thought this wouldn’t be that hard to figure out, boy was I surprised.”
With a little practice, each youth was then given the opportunity to scrimmage. This was followed by a demonstration with Iglesias pitted against Ibarra and Gregory against Jones.
“This really was an awesome opportunity,” stated Iglesias. “So many people have supported me over the years in playing handball, it was really exciting to be able to give back. And, these are some fantastic young people.”
At the conclusion of almost two hours of practice, all youth were offered the chance to sign up for the 2019 Colorado State Singles Handball Tournament, to be played from 4/11/19 to 4/14/19 at the Denver Athletic Club in Denver. All students/juniors receive free entry to the event courtesy of the Costigan Youth Handball Fund.
“We are really so lucky here in Colorado with so many great handball players and such a passionate group of handball players,” stated Gardner. “The Redpoint Center is so grateful to Jon, Jason, Kyle, and Armando for donating their time and being willing to teach the perfect game to these young men and women. At Redpoint we know there is no one way to find recovery or healing, we want to help each person who comes through our doors to create a compelling vision for their future. We hope handball can be part of that vision for some.”
**Please note, names of participants in the clinic have been changed to ensure confidentiality.
*** Post Script: Since the initial clinic was held, 4 youths have committed to twice weekly handball training sessions and are eagerly anticipating the Colorado State Singles Tournament.
by Cody Gardner
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21 JR WPH Hood River players were treated to a very unique junior clinic on the second Friday of March, as three of Oregon’s top 12 players traveled to the Hood River Elks Lodge to share their handball knowledge with the young handballers. Portland’s Stephen Stenberg and Nick Flores joined Michael Stenberg, Andrew Stenberg, and JR WPH Hood JR WPH coaches Ron Harder, Oscar and Helen Stenberg and the students. Seven coaches created a high coach-to-student ratio, which allowed the lessons to be very focused. In addition to the coaches, a photographer from Hood River News was on hand to take pictures.
The morning class consisted of eight students from Horizon Christian School, ranging from 7th to 8th grade, including three young women players. The class was divided in half with four students on each of the two Elks Lodge courts. Stephen and Andrew Stenberg led one group and Michael Stenberg and Nick Flores led the other group.
The 60-minute class was divided into four 15-minute segments. The first 15 minutes consisted of the coaches leading the students in stretching, followed by a game of short court. The second 15-minute segment featured skill-based instruction, in which the students practiced serving, returning, and hitting the ball to the ceiling. During the third 15-minute segment, students watched Coach Stephen play Coach Andrew and Coach Michael play Coach Nick, while coaches Ron Harder and Oscar and Helen Stenberg narrated the action for the students. The final 15-minute segment brought the students back onto the court to play against one other, while the coaches encouraged the players and provided further instruction.
The afternoon class consisted of thirteen students ranging from 9th to 12th grade, retaining the same lesson structure as the morning class. During the segment where the students watched the coaches play, one student commented that it looked like Stephen Stenberg was left-handed, which gave coach Oscar Stenberg an opportunity to explain that Stephen is actually not left handed, and how important it is for players to develop their off hands.
Following the clinic, the coaches gathered the students and discussed opportunities to play in upcoming WPH sponsored tournaments, including the 2019 Oregon State Singles Championship to be held in Beaverton in April, where Horizon Christian School players will play against Eugene’s Sheldon High School players. Additionally, the Horizon Christian School students will be featured at the WPH sponsored Hood River Invitational on June 1st. The students, especially the 7th and 8th graders, were very excited for the opportunity to play handball. Thank you to the Alten Handball Foundation for the “covered” student entry fees and travel expenses for both upcoming tournaments.
A huge thank you to the World Players of Handball for their generous donation of gloves, eye guards, and handballs to Horizon Christian School. Without support from the WPH, the Junior WPH Hood River program would not be possible, and both the Oregon Handball Association and the Hood River Handball Association look forward to working with the WPH for years to come.
WPH Correspondent/Chairman, Oregon Handball Association
Springfield, OR, WPH Press, 2/26/19-
Before clashing in the 2019 EHA End of February Weekender Men’s Open singles final, Dalton Beall and Cody Townsend dawned their JR WPH Coaching Hats, teaching a clinic for a group of awestruck 10-and-under future Oregon handball stars. “The kids were very excited to be on the court with the two best players in the Pacific Northwest, as they learned new skills while playing big ball short court,” stated WPH reporter/ambassador/50-year member Nick Flores.
“Dalton and Cody are incredible ambassadors to the sport and equally inspiring role models to the next generation of players,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “Dalton and Cody are always willing to give back, whether it’s teaching clinics, mentoring aspiring players, throwing tournaments, or spending time with their countless Oregon fans. Thank you Dalton and Cody!”
Clinic picture courtesy of Leah Dean
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JR WPH Hosts Carl Hayden HS and FLF
Tucson, AZ, WPH Press, 2/23/19- JR WPH proudly hosted junior handball clinics and match-play for the Carl Hayden High School’s flourishing junior handball program and Tucson’s Fred Lewis Foundation’s stars at the Tucson Racquet Club on the last weekend of the month. The juniors were treated to top handball instruction and the opportunity to make new friends.
WPH Master Instructor David Fink, Fred Lewis Foundation Executive Director and Head Coach Abraham Montijo, and three-time WPH 3WallBall world champion and JR WPH coach Shorty Ruiz led the clinics for the juniors, as the junior players had the opportunity to learn from three of the game’s best coaches. The juniors were split into three small groups, based on their level of experience, with each group rotating courts every 30 minutes to learn from each coach.
Coach Montijo focused on the power serve technique, teaching leverage to make the correct stroke for maximum power.
Coach Ruiz focused on the corner kill, emphasizing the importance of letting the ball drop and swinging parallel to the floor to hit the ball low.
Coach Fink discussed the warm-up, handball conditioning, diet, and cross-training for handball, providing the youngsters with a plan to become physically active and healthy through handball.
“This is so great for our program,” stated Carl Hayden head coach and handball ambassador Chris Hogan. “Our kids need to see this great handball community in Tucson and realize they are a part of it and coming here allows them to see that. It’s also great for our kids to see how seriously the pros take this sport and how much they expect of themselves. That discipline is what I am trying to instill in our kids. We look forward to working with the WPH much more in the future.”
The WPH sponsored a pizza lunch following the clinics. Following the slices, the kids rushed back to the courts, with many playing for the remainder of the afternoon.
“We love having the opportunity to bring kids from different programs and different cities together to form friendships and inspire one another,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “We really appreciate the Phoenix group making the trip and the Fred Lewis Foundation participating as well.”
Thank you to Abraham Montijo and Shorty Ruiz for volunteering their time on a Saturday morning to coach and inspire the next generation of players and to Chris Hogan for organizing and driving his team from Carl Hayden High School.
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Manhattan, NY, WPH Press, Jan 14th, 2019 – JR WPH is extremely proud to support the Harry Mellis jr handball program at the Westside Y in Manhattan, NY for the 4th consecutive year. Several hundred youngsters have been introduced to 4-Wall handball through the JR WPH Harry Mellis junior handball program since 2015, with more young people catching the handball bug in 2019 through the outstanding initiatives of the JR WPH Harry Mellis youth development program.
“The program is off to a great start this season,” stated 2015 World Champion and JR WPH Harry Mellis head coach Danielle Daskalakis. “We have a lot more girls this season, which is a plus.”
“The WPH has been a great supporter of our Youth Handball program throughout the years,” stated Lucria Ortiz, Esq., Senior Director of Fund Development & Communications, YMCA of Greater New York. “Thank you to the WPH for that commitment to our kids and their development in the sport. We are excited to have cemented a partnership with the WPH and we are grateful to have Danielle on staff.”
“The WPH cannot thank Danielle enough for her incredible commitment to giving back to the sport,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “Danielle is a bona fide handball superstar in her prime who is still willing to devote countless hours to introducing and coaching the game to new players every year…what could be more inspiring than that! Thank you to Danielle for leading one of the country’s premiere junior handball programs at the Westside YMCA in Manhattan.”
The JR WPH Harris Mellis program practices twice a week, transitioning from the Big Ball to Small Ball each semester. Each lesson starts with handball drills and ends with various games designed to implement the lessons from the drills and to have fun. Stay tuned for updates from the JR WPH Harry Mellis program throughout the winter.
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