Meridian Industrial

THE COURT

5/27/2021 | KEITH O'CONNOR

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Setting foot into THE COURT, a new basketball facility located in Enfield, is like stepping back in time.

“You can’t open your doors without a court to play on,” said Chris Boucher, co-owner of THE COURT with John Hostetler.

“We found a floor in St. Louis, an old Division 1 court that was used by the University of Green Bay-Wisconsin from 2003-2017. It was being stored in a warehouse and we flew out to see it and with a handshake deal it was ours,” he added.

THE COURT offers low volume, high skill premium basketball development services and programs for youth including: AAU, private training, camps, clinics, leagues, shooting machine rentals, facility rentals and more.

The facility’s pristine collegiate basketball floor allows programming options for youth, high school, collegiate, amateur and professional athletes and also provides a top-notch facility for rental by teams who need a home court to play on.

The idea for THE COURT was born with a walk around the park.

“John and I used to walk around Field Road Park in Somers where I was the town’s recreation director and where we both coached Somers high school basketball. While talking and walking, we realized we had the same common goal, to create a basketball facility where we could design our own basketball development program for youth,” Boucher said.

“There was no question that the area was lacking indoor facilities in which to play basketball, and we also saw the need for high-quality basketball development services which we could address,” he added.

Today THE COURT’S mission is to provide a safe and engaging environment for basketball players to learn, grow, and develop their game. THE COURT will develop well-rounded athletes capable of excelling on the basketball court and beyond through the design and execution of professional programs and emphasizing skill development, health and wellness, and competitive achievement.

Skill development clinics - both small group and private training - are offered at THE COURT with their own coaches as well as in partnership with the Brooks Sales Basketball training organization. Sales is a professional basketball player from Bloomfield with years of professional experience playing in the NBA and overseas.

“We hooked up with Brooks after opening our doors during the pandemic last year. People in the basketball world were colliding, there just wasn’t enough indoor spaces in which to play. We struck up a relationship and instead of competing, we realized that we could make one another’s organizations stronger and offer a better service to youth by collaborating,” Boucher said.

Boucher explained that skill development work at THE COURT is “like a practice session.”

“Individuals work on enhancing and improving their basketball skills where they come in for a designated amount of time, usually one hour, and participate in different basketball activities and routines with coaches while learning basketball skills they can apply in the game,” he said.

THE COURT has also combined with Brooks Sales Basketball and HoopNerds Elite basketball and life skills academy to offer a unique and comprehensive AAU travel basketball program. The Amateur Athletic Union is a youth sports organization where groups of players get together and form independent teams, 17 out of THE COURT, competing in AAU tournaments against other teams.

“Coach Lou Roe, a former NBA basketball player and University of Massachusetts legend, came to us in a similar way as Brooks. With a lack of facilities during the pandemic, he was also looking for an indoor space where his students could play. Again, we struck up a relationship with Lou and realized we could align our services and become stronger together,” Boucher said.

Training in the AAU program is focused on team development while also offering participants the opportunity to improve their ball handling skills, shooting, defense and footwork.

With school out for the summer, THE COURT offers half-day camps with morning and afternoon options for boys and girls. The eight-week season runs from June 29 to August 13.

“Each week is designed around a specific curriculum and our first camp this year focuses on shooting. We designed the curriculum ourselves which includes instruction and activities such as drills, competitions, and game play specific to the skill being showcased that week,” Boucher said.

“In addition to the skill instruction, it’s our intention to get kids playing basketball in the summer and providing a safe, fun, instructive experience. We are pairing basketball with some social elements alongside health and well-being elements to create a comprehensive summer athletic experience,” he added.

Additional camp sessions include 3v3 Girls Camp, 3v3 Boys Camp, Ball handling and Finishing Camp, Young Gunz Academy, and Guard Academy. There is a maximum of 25 players per camp. Registration cost per player is $200.

THE COURT promotes good sportsmanship, teamwork, integrity, fair play, hard work, inclusion and respect for all.

“Just as important as it is to understand and master the skills of basketball, is the understanding of how to conduct yourself on the court. We try to teach life instruction as well,” Boucher said.

While the focus of THE COURT is on providing different programs in skill development for youth, Boucher noted that you will find some adults playing a good game of basketball on their prized court.

“We have open times where you can rent our facility for several hours to come in with a group of men or women and play a game of pick up basketball,” he said.

Rentals are also available to use THE COURT’S unique 10K Shoot-a-Way Gun. The self-rebounding, self-passing shooting machine tracks a player’s shooting results and provides the user with data at the end of a workout. The machine - used by some of the best players in the world as a way to become a better shooter - helps players to get the most shots up to help build confidence and muscle memory.

“It is a really versatile tool for players of any level and offers good cardio training to stay in shape at the same time,” Boucher said.

Immensely popular around the world, basketball is played by some 450 million people both recreationally or through structured competitions, according to the Federation of International Basketball Associations (FIBA).

The sport was invented in 1891 just across the Enfield border at Springfield College by James Naismith, an instructor and graduate student who was charged with coming up with a new indoor activity that could be played by college students during the winter.

“Basketball is a fun, accessible sport that can be enjoyed by a wide variety of players. It has a way of bringing people together. We often remark that one of the most rewarding aspects of owning THE COURT is the people we meet that we wouldn’t have otherwise known,” Boucher said.

“For young players, so many aspects of playing basketball are transferrable to other aspects of life….working together, overcoming obstacles, discipline, how you plan and prepare for events. It’s a great tool to not only keep kids physically active and engaged, but to help them grow and develop as individuals outside of the basketball court,” he added.

THE COURT is located at 1 Peerless Way in Enfield, CT.

For more information, call 860-716-1203, send an email to chris@thecourtbasketball.com or visit their website at thecourtbasketball.com.

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