Hall of Famer Bev Smith heralds benefits of sport for youth development

Former Salmon Arm woman head of Kidsports, says the court is like a classroom

Beverly Smith’s life has taken her on quite the journey through the world of sports.

A former star of Salmon Arm’s high school basketball team, Smith was among the first athletes to get a full-ride scholarship through the University of Oregon and went on to serve as an elite coach for varsity teams, professional clubs and the Canadian Olympic basketball team.

In March, Smith was inducted into the Pac-12 Hall of Fame for her record-breaking college basketball career with the Oregon Ducks – adding to an already prestigious career that saw her enter into the Canadian and Women’s Basketball halls of fame.

“I was lucky to grow up there, we had great teachers and coaches that helped you to discover who you are and what you are capable of,” Smith says of her childhood in Salmon Arm.

READ MORE: Former Salmon Arm Jewel off to Olympics

After a lifetime of involvement in elite sports, however, Smith’s current role sees her heralding the benefits of an active lifestyle and participation in team sports for youth as the executive director of Kidsports, headquartered in Eugene, Oregon.

“An early, positive youth sports experience is part of the education that makes you become a better person,” she says. “I knew from my experience as a child how important that was and felt I would love to work with an organization that tries to do what is best for a child.”

Smith is a strong believer that living an athletic lifestyle and being part of a team has benefits that go beyond simply keeping fit and improving skills on the sports field.

READ MORE: Hoops icon honoured

“I think there is so much to be gained from a positive youth sport experience. I think it’s more than winning a game or a trophy, there is a chance for teachable moments you can’t get in a classroom setting,” she says. “You learn to be a good sport, you learn to be a good teammate, you learn the importance of working together. It’s not just physically important but physiologically, it helps with mindset, attitude and focus.”

She notes that physical activity like sports or other outdoor recreation activities – even as simple as playing a game of tag – can provide moments where youth are encouraged to take ownership of situations and solve problems without relying on adults.

“There is so much more stimulation coming from TV, video games and online that sometimes we need to find a space and place for kids to be with themselves and make their own decisions with peers,” she says. “Those are cool moments for kids, and taking the adults out of the game as much as we can is important. Having kids play the game and have ownership of the game is important, and that is part of why technology appeals to kids, they have ownership of the space.”

READ MORE: Salmon Arm basketball players Joining B.C. Hall of Fame

Smith also encourages youth to try out as many sports as possible, comparing the experience to a well-rounded school curriculum.

“I see youth sport as a classroom: as a coach my classroom is my court so I am not only trying to develop one specific sports skill, I am trying to develop motor skills, teamwork skills and sportsmanship skills. That global development keeps them healthy,” she says.

READ MORE: Salmon Arm Jewels win zone basketball championships


 

@Jodi_Brak117
jodi.brak@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

Spectators asked to be on best behaviour at Shuswap school sporting events

Policy asks that spectators make positive comments remain silent

Rezoning to accommodate Ashley Furniture store highlights traffic concerns

Developer would like covenant requiring traffic study to exclude furniture store site

Knights of Columbus step up for Shuswap community groups

Organizations from Shuswap, Thompson regions receive $15,000

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase from Kelowna to Abbotsford

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

Most Read