2017 Junior WPH Portfolio

Posted on May 15 2017 - 11:54pm by david
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Tucson, AZ, WPH Press, 5/8/17

JR WPH kicked off the first four months of 2017 with exciting junior handball clinics and tournaments in New York, Florida, Idaho, California, Louisiana, Texas, Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Oregon with junior handball players receiving instruction from the world’s best handball coaches and players. JR WPH also proudly sponsors junior handball teams and programs across the country, providing youngsters with opportunities to play handball weekly on organized and structured junior handball teams led by certified WPH instructors.

The mission of JR WPH is to inspire the next generation of players, and since JR WPH’s inception in 2013, JR WPH has provided opportunities for more than 7,000 youngsters to experience the thrill of learning and playing handball in structured, organized, safe, and supportive clinics and tournaments that emphasize camaraderie, teamwork, discipline, and developing life skills and a physically active lifestyle through handball.

Check out JR WPH’s sponsored clinics and programs thus far in 2017.

JR WPH Sponsored Clinics

JR WPH Westside YMCA 2017 Clinic (January): JR WPH is proud to sponsor the Harry Mellis Westside YMCA junior handball program for the second consecutive year. Led by WPH Certified Coach and Women’s Race 4 Eight and WPH Outdoor superstar Danielle Daskalakis, the JR WPH Harry Mellis Westside YMCA program provides opportunities for hundreds of New York City youth to play 1-Wall, 3-Wall, and 4-Wall handball each year.

The JR WPH Harry Mellis Westside YMCA program kicked off 2017 with a 4-Wall clinic for more than two-dozen youngsters between the ages of 13-17 at the Westside YMCA in Brooklyn, NY. Coach Daskalakis was joined by Coach Shirley Chen, Coach Steven Woo, Coach Kadeem Bush and recent Harry Mellis junior program graduates Jessenia and Melanie Garate, providing the youngsters the opportunity to learn from the game’s best coaches and players. Clinic instruction focused on 4-Wall fundamentals, back wall drills, and introducing “two-bounce” to the students.

“The clinic was a really great success,” stated Coach Daskalakis. “We had a lot of good food and prizes available. We also announced that we will be holding a Junior 4-Wall Big Ball tournament during the first weekend of February to promote junior cross over play.”

Congratulations to Coach Daskalakis and her coaching team and the JR WPH Harry Mellis Westside YMCA program!

JR WPH UWF Argos Classic (January): The WPH proudly sponsored the JR WPH University of West Florida Argos Classic for the fifth straight year, featuring more than 50 collegiate handball players from the University of West Florida, the University of Texas, and Missouri State University. UWF Argos Head Coach Alan Moore and UWF Handball Club Founder Michael Morgan hosted the sensational event, ensuring that all collegiate players played at least four matches throughout the weekend. WPH Certified Coach and Race 4 Eight superstar Luis Cordova made the five-hour trip from Atlanta to serve as the event’s handball pro emeritus, providing playing tips and coaching throughout the weekend to the collegiate players and organizing a “Play the Pro” challenge.

“It was a really cool event and I’m really glad I made the five-hour trip from Atlanta,” stated Cordova. “I’ve never seen so many college players at one event and they are all really into handball and they are all getting really good.”

Cordova continued his domination on the court at the Argos Classic in a strong open field that included Sam Esser, Max Langmack, Michael Morgan, and Matt Vollink. Cordova defeated Sam Esser in a tiebreaker to win the Argos Classic for the fourth straight year and teamed with UWF’s Alex Grochowski to slam the doubles. “Sam was playing really well, hitting a lot of cracks,” stated Cordova. “It was great to see how much he’s improving.”

“This was a very successful tournament,” stated Moore. “A lot of great matches were played throughout the weekend. The University of Texas and Missouri State University were a huge part of this tournament. All three universities had a lot of fun and we created new friends and strengthened old relationships. To sum up, all of us came out of it having a great time and that was the main goal for the tournament.”

Check out the rest of the 2017 Argos Classic results below. Thank you to Alan Moore, Michael Morgan, Luis Cordova, and all of the collegiate players who made the 2017 Argos Classic such a great event.

JR WPH Skills Competition at the Plummer Bash 8 (January): JR WPH proudly hosted a junior sports skills competition for more than a dozen youngsters between the ages of 3-19 attending the Bash. The youngsters were timed in a sports course that tested running, shooting basketball, and throwing a football, with each of the participants receiving a prize from tournament host Jake Plummer.

“Learning new skills is what sports is all about,” barked former NFL star quarterback Jake Plummer while catching passes from the skills participants. “It’s all about having fun!”

JR WPH aims to make learning and developing a healthy and active lifestyle fun by incorporating handball, cross-training, and other sports into clinics to develop all-around sports and life skills.

JR WPH Clinic at the WPH Outdoor IceMan (January): JR WPH proudly hosted a junior handball clinic for the second consecutive year at the IceMan, with WPH Outdoor superstars Juan Santos and Sal Duenas coaching a dozen boys and girls between the ages of 7-16. Coaches Santos and Duenas worked on drills for nearly an hour with the youngsters, focusing on the serve, kill, fly kill, stretching exercises, and ending the session with pro-junior challenge doubles matches. “I always enjoy working with the next generation of players,” stated Coach Duenas. “The kids are the future of our sport and its great to see them so excited about playing.” Thank you to Coaches Santos and Duenas for volunteering their time and expertise in Stockton!

The 2017 JR WPH Harry Mellis Winter Classics (February): JR WPH was thrilled to sponsor the 2017 Harry Mellis Winter Classics at Brooklyn’s Westside YMCA, featuring junior 4-Wall Big Ball singles and doubles. Tournament directors and JR WPH Coaches Danielle Daskalakis and Sandy Ng played host to 20 junior players between the ages of 15-18, many of whom participate in the bi-weekly JR WPH sponsored Harry Mellis Junior Handball program at the Westside YMCA.

The junior play was outstanding, with the teenagers demonstrating sensational skills throughout the tournament. Gary Luck slammed in the singles and doubles with Justin Quach, while Henry Santana, Albin Tahirovic and Vincent Chen took runner-up honors in the singles and doubles, respectively.

“The performance of the junior players at this event was impressive,” stated WPH Outdoor superstar Hector Velez. “With Danielle and Sandy’s coaching, these juniors are developing much faster at a younger age.”

Junior Results:

Boy’s singles champion: Gary Luck

Boy’s singles runner up: Henry Santana

Boy’s doubles champions: Gary Luck and Justin Quach

Boy’s doubles runner up: Albin Tahirovic and Vincent Chen

“It is great to see the WPH run another successful junior play/clinic tournament,” stated R48 star and Harry Mellis Winter Classic Small Ball singles champion Stephen Cooney. “These tournaments are extremely important for the future of our sport as the stars of tomorrow are born and bred during these fun weekends. ”

Coaches Daskalakis and Ng also coached a clinic for the juniors during the event, aiming supplement the 1-Wall skills of many of the juniors into the 4-Wall game.

“The WPH cannot say enough about what Danielle and Sandy do for the game and inspiring the next generation of players,” stated WPH Youth Donor and Development Director David Fink. “In addition to being handball role models and ambassadors worldwide, Danielle and Sandy spend countless hours each month mentoring and coaching junior players in the JR WPH Harry Mellis Program in Brooklyn, providing opportunities for young people to develop life skills through handball. Thank you!”

The Harry Mellis Winter Classics also featured 4-Wall Open Small Ball and Big Ball brackets, headlined by Harry Mellis junior stars, Race 4 Eight pro Stephen Cooney and one of New York’s top 4-Wall Big Ball players Ignazio Accardi. Cooney captured the small ball singles against WPH historian Babalola Ajisafe, Accardi grabbed the big ball singles against Robert Ortega, and Harry Mellis’ Jessenia Garate teamed with Gabriel Carbuccia to win the Mixed Doubles against 1-Wall stars Allan Sanchez and BeeBee Garcia.

JR WPH New Orleans Clinic (February): JR WPH proudly hosted an instructional clinic for the JR WPH sponsored University of West Florida Argonauts Handball Club at the 2017 New Orleans Race 4 Eight Mardi Gras Open. WPH Coaches David Fink and Daniel Cordova led the clinic, with the Elite 8 pros teaching the enthusiastic college students the proper footwork and swing for the power serve and the right corner kill. Following the demonstration by Coach Cordova, the UWF team played a skills competition trying to hit targets with the serve and kill shot. Each of the collegiate handballers then had the opportunity to play singles points with R48 #7 Daniel Cordova. “This group of players was one of the most eager and appreciative groups we’ve ever taught on the R48 tour,” stated Coach Fink. “You could see each player soaking in the information and really trying to apply it.”

JR WPH Houston Clinic (March): JR WPH was thrilled to coach a collegiate clinic for the University of Texas handball team at Houston’s R48 6 stop, with WPH Coaches David Fink and Luis Cordova leading the enthusiastic collegiate handball players in an instructional clinic focusing on strong-hand offense and footwork. Following demonstrations by R48 top 10 star Luis Cordova, each participant was given the opportunity to hit shots under the watchful eyes of Coach Fink and Coach Cordova.

“We really stressed the fundamentals and how to practice the fundamentals by simulating game-like scenarios,” stated Coach Fink. “We’ve been fortunate to have coach of the University of Texas handball team on several occasions and the players have improved dramatically from one lesson to the next. It’s inspiring to see.”

JR WPH Juarez Clinic with R48 Superstar Sean Lenning (March): JR WPH Juarez was thrilled to welcome special guest coach Sean Lenning to its Saturday morning junior handball clinics. The current 1-Wall world champion, current 3-Wall national champion, and 5-time R48 champion joined 2016 JR WPH Coach of the Year Drft Fernandez in leading the enthusiastic group of youngsters through an exiting clinic that stressed having fun, strategy, and serving. The clinic started with the popular game of “two-bounce” on multiple courts, followed by doubles, with Coach Lenning rotating from court to court advising the youngsters on proper shot selection and effective serves.

“We were thrilled to have handball superstar Sean Lenning working with one of our preeminent JR WPH programs in Juarez,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “The youngsters that participate in JR WPH Juarez are some of the most eager and passionate junior handball players in the world, and for them to have an opportunity to learn from one of their idols was a thrill of a lifetime.”

WPH/USHA Clinic at the Hall of Fame & Women’s Classic (March) The WPH proudly collaborated with the USHA in hosting a junior handball clinic at the 2017 USHA Hall of Fame & Women’s Classic Handball Tournament in Tucson, AZ. WPH Master Instructor David Fink led a group of junior and collegiate players through various drills to improve their techniques and skills, to include right and left handed kill shots, footwork, and return of serve strategy. The clinic concluded with doubles and conditioning exercises. Prior to the clinic, Coach Fink played an exhibition match with ASU first-year player and Hall of Fame “C” champion Qwaun Thomas, working with the first-year player on court positioning, strategy, and shot selection.

“We always enjoy collaborating with the USHA on junior handball clinics and tournaments,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “The kids had an outstanding experience at the event all weekend and the clinic was an added bonus.”

JR WPH Exhibition and Clinic at the R48 NYAC (March): The day before the start of the Race 4 Eight NYAC ’17, R48 #1 pro and Master WPH Instructor David Fink played a special exhibition match against Alex Carew, one of Canada’s top junior stars. Fink sparred with the precocious 16-year-old for several games and provided tips on training, strategy, and diet following the practice session. Later in the day, Young Carew played SR48 #1 Marcos Chavez in the R48 NYAC qualifier, a huge thrill for the Newfoundland man. Following the qualifier match, Chavez demonstrated several serves for the future pro to use in his upcoming 19-and-under matches.

“There is nothing more exciting at the Race stops than seeing youngsters with tremendous talent and enthusiasm for the game entering the qualifiers and being a part of the event,” stated Fink. “The Race 4 Eight tour exists to inspire the next generation of players, and seeing young men like Alex Carew and a number of other top teenagers throughout the season is really awesome.”

JR WPH Heads to ASU (April) JR WPH headed 100 miles west of its headquarters in Tucson to host an exciting collegiate handball clinic with the Arizona State University Handball Team. 16 collegians, ranging from “A” players to beginners, took part in the clinic led by R48 #1 pro and WPH Master Instructor David Fink that focused on the proper handball warm-up, fundamentals, drills, diet, and cross-training exercises to improve their handball abilities.

“I was so impressed when I walked into the ASU Rec Center and saw that every court was filled with collegiate handball players!” exclaimed Fink. “All of the collegiate players were having fun and were extremely eager to learn. Coach Dan Willeford has worked tirelessly to build one of the most flourishing junior handball programs in the country and JR WPH was thrilled to be able to supplement his weekly practice sessions with some tips. Thank you to ASU head coach and handball pioneer Dan Willeford for all he does for handball!”

JR WPH Salt Lake City Aces Pro/Junior Doubles and Clinic (April): JR WPH proudly hosted the Salt Lake City Pro/Junior Doubles and Instructional Clinic on the opening night of the 2017 WPH Race 4 Eight Salt Lake City Aces Player’s Championship 6. 10 WPH R48 and WR48 pros teamed with 10 JR WPH Salt Lake City Aces junior stars and newcomers in a special Pro/Junior Aces Doubles Shootout. Salt Lake City juniors and new players had the opportunity to team with and play against WR48 #1 Catriona Casey, R48 #1 Killian Carroll, 2016 Simple Green U.S. Open Champion Robbie McCarthy, WR48 #2 Martina McMahon, WR48 #3 Aoife McCarthy, R48 top 16 pro Abraham Montijo, Hall of Fame legend Fred Lewis, Hilary Rushe, Michael Gaulton, and Gabhain MCrystal. ! What an experience!

Robbie McCarthy and Carlos Sotelo advanced to the final in the upper bracket and met Abraham Montijo and Sergio Sotelo in the final. Montijo and Sergio Sotelo grabbed the title in the first Pro/Junior Aces Championship.

“This was just an outstanding night of handball,” stated JR WPH Aces Head Coach Ted McManus. “This far exceeded my expectations and this will be an experience our players will always remember. Having a chance to play with the pros will keep these players playing forever.”

Following the Aces Pro/Junior doubles, six-time USHA 4-Wall Pro National Singles Champion Fred Lewis coached a clinic for 10 Salt Lake City juniors and newcomers, emphasizing the importance of watching the ball and limiting errors. “Basically, what I’m trying to teach new players is to not lose by making errors and giving setups,” stated Coach Lewis.

Thank you to all of the Race 4 Eight superstars and living legend Fred Lewis for donating their time to growing the game on the eve of the biggest event of the year.

JR WPH PNW Clinic (May): JR WPH was proud to partner with the PNW Regionals in hosting a JR WPH clinic on Saturday evening at the PNW Regionals, hosted by tournament director Nick Flores and led by WPH coaches Dalton Beall and Cody Townsend. Coaches Beall and Townsend started the clinic with the group of junior and collegiate players discussing the importance and benefits of the proper warm-up, then divided the groups into two, with Coach Beall teaching the Power Serve and Coach Townsend teaching the back wall kill. After 15 minutes, the groups switched, with Coach Beall’s group shifting to Coach Townsend’s court to learn the back wall kill and Coach Townsend’s group shifting to Coach Beall’s court to learn the Power Serve. Following the stroke instruction, the students played King of the Court singles against one another and the coaches, gaining valuable experience and knowledge in point-play situations against Oregon’s top two players. Coach Beall and Coach Townsend wrapped up the clinic with cross-training handball tips for the group. Huge thank you to Nick Flores, Dalton Beall, and Cody Townsend for the outstanding clinic.

JR WPH also sponsors junior handball programs and teams across the country with certified coaches that teach handball fundamentals, as well as sportsmanship, teamwork, and discipline through handball. Check out the junior handball programs that JR WPH proudly supports below.

Junior WPH Park City (yearly): Junior WPH is proud to support JR WPH Park City (Utah), home of the annual Race 4 Eight Salt Lake City Aces. WPH Coaches Ted and Zac McManus started a youth/collegiate group with six players late in 2015 that has blossomed into 25 enthusiastic players that play in the local league and up to four times a week. Coach Ted and Coach Zac emphasize fun and learning from the pros, as Jr WPH Park City players have the opportunity to watch the pros live every April at the R48 Aces, while also watching all of the R48 events on the ESPN3. “The Utah Handball Association would like to thank the World Players of Handball for supporting our youth/collegiate handball club at the Wasatch County Rec Center, just outside Park City, Utah,” stated Coach Ted McManus. “Thank you to the World Players of Handball for all that you do for handball.”

Junior WPH Natty Gonzalez cd. Juarez, Mexico (yearly): Junior WPH Juarez continues to thrive in 2016, setting the standard for all junior handball programs in North America. Led by WPH Certified Coach and Texas State Doubles Champion Richie “Drft” Fernandez, Junior WPH Juarez holds weekly practices for more than 20 active junior players in the JR WPH Juarez program, as well as holding local junior tournaments and organizing trips for the junior players to compete in indoor and outdoor junior handball events across the United States. Thank you to Coach Drft and the entire Juarez handball community for providing the opportunity for dozens on young people to become active, responsible, and goal-oriented people through handball.

Junior WPH Program at the University of West Florida (yearly): Junior WPH is pleased to sponsor the University of West Florida Argonauts Handball Club in Pensacola, FL for the fourth consecutive year. In just its fifth year in existence, the UWF Handball Club has become one of the preeminent collegiate handball programs in the country, as UWF Handball Club founder Michael Morgan and the UWF handball team recruits new players year-round, holds weekly practices, hosts collegiate and open tournaments throughout the year, and travels to various handball tournaments across the country. “The UWF Handball Club has become a model for all new and future collegiate handball programs,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “The Argonauts have shown that dedication, organization, and passion can inspire dozens of new collegiate handball players to make enjoy handball for a lifetime.”

WPH Sponsored Westside YMCA Harry Mellis Program (yearly): Junior WPH is proud to sponsor the Westside YMCA Harry Mellis Program in New York City, led by WPH Coach Danielle Daskalakis. WPH Coach Daskalakis leads two 4-Wall clinics each week in the winter and fall seasons, as well as organizing New York City junior handball tournaments and arranging trips for the Westside YMCA Harry Mellis Program to regional and national small ball and big ball junior handball tournaments. “The Westside YMCA Harry Mellis Program has become the premiere junior handball program in the Northeast, and the WPH is honored to be able to support the youngsters in their quest to play recreational and tournament handball,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink.” Thank you to Coach Daskalakis for all she does to grow the game and to all of the junior handball players for their passion for the game.”

Junior WPH Clinics at the Columbus, MS YMCA (yearly): Junior WPH is proud to be coaching weekly clinics at the YMCA in Columbus, MS, lead by WPH Coach Joel Levy. Coach Levy leads twice-weekly clinics at the Columbus YMCA, focusing on safety, footwork, hitting the ball, serving, returning of serve, introduction to singles and doubles. The juniors start learning with half court and eventually graduate to full court. Upcoming classes will focus on the back wall, rules, and teamwork.

“The clinics are going really well,” stated Coach Levy. “In the last class some of the boys and girls asked to play full court. They are really enjoying the game.”

“The WPH proudly hosted a clinic at the Columbus YMCA over the summer with Coach Cordova, Coach Morgan, and Coach Levy,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “The administration at the YMCA was so impressed with the clinics and how much fun the kids were having that Coach Levy is now coaching multiple clinics per week. Thank you Coach Levy!”

JR WPH Pittsburgh (yearly): JR WPH Pittsburgh enthusiastically kicked off its junior handball program in 2014 with weekly handball clinics at Amerifit Handball Club, home of the WPH’s RFC. WPH Coaches Rodney Fink and Mike Semplice lead weekly sessions for the young handballers, with handball serving as a cross-training vehicle for Pittsburgh baseball, football, and basketball stars. The athletic juniors quickly progress on Amerifit’s 4-Wall courts, hitting the ball well with both hands and rallying after just a few sessions. The juniors are inspired by the annual RFC, in which Race 4 Eight, WPH Outdoor, and junior stars travel from Arizona, New York, Canada, and Ireland to compete.

“We like to introduce handball as a cross-training tool to get new players on the court,” stated Coach Fink. “Once the kids are on the court, we hope they become addicted to the game, as I did 50 years ago, and play handball for a lifetime.”

JR WPH has an ambitious 2017 spring and summer planned, with several hundred junior handball clinics and tournaments planned in Oregon, Nevada, California, Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania between May and September.

Stay tuned to juniorhandball.com for all of the latest JR WPH initiatives.

To view the 2016 JR WPH Year in Review, click here

Keep an eye out on juniorhandball.org, as new clinic opportunities and recaps pop up weekly. Want to coach a clinic or a junior handball program? Need more information regarding junior handball? The Junior WPH group spans multiple countries, continents and oceans with clinics happening daily. We can help! Contact WPH Development Director David Fink atfink@race4eight.com

To enable Junior WPH to continue to host junior handball clinics and tournaments across North America with Certified WPH Coaches, the World Players of Handball invites you to make a tax-deductible donation today in supporting the growth of the game. 100% of the donations received by the WPH go towards junior handball development.  Donate on-line here, or send your generous gifts through PayPal (extremehandball@cs.com) or by mailing checks to:  WPH, 3561 E. Sunrise Dr. Suite 125, Tucson, AZ, 85718.

David Fink

WPH Senior Writer

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