Men's and Women's Basketball Teams Take Time Out to Participate in Level The Field Youth Clinic
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics

NEW YORK -- Members of the Columbia University men's and women's basketball teams took time out of their busy schedules to participate in a youth clinic on Saturday, Jan. 9. A group of about 20 youngsters from the area were taught the basic fundamentals of basketball during the hour-long event.

The Lion players worked in conjunction with Level the Field, Inc., a non-profit organization started by Erica Woda '04CC, a former women's soccer player at Columbia. The program was created to use sports as a vehicle to cultivate social skills and develop a work ethic in students that will prepare them for future academic, personal and professional success and empower them to become leaders and productive members in their communities.

Columbia women's assistant basketball coach Shanna Cook opened the session by speaking about communication, and what an important tool it is both on and off the court. An introduction to the men's and women's basketball players ensued, and was followed by various warm-up exercises before splitting into four different skill stations.

There, the kids learned about passing, shooting and dribbling all while being cheered on by Columbia student-athletes. The group reconvened at the main court baseline for a final relay race event, and ended the day with a group huddle and cheer.

Both basketball teams will open Ivy League play on Saturday, Jan. 16 against Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y. The men and the women will then return home for a doubleheader with the Big Red on Saturday, Jan. 23 beginning at 4:30 p.m.