Junior WPH is proud to have provided opportunities for thousands of youngsters to learn and play handball throughout 2015. After hosting more than 1200 junior handball clinics and introducing the game to more than 4000 young people in 2013 and 2014, Junior WPH furthered our mission to grow the game in 2015 by sponsoring flourishing junior handball programs, starting new junior handball programs and providing youngsters with the best coaches and opportunities to develop the passion to play handball. Junior WPH focuses not only on proper handball fundamentals, but teaching sportsmanship, integrity, discipline, leadership and camaraderie through handball. Check out what Junior WPH accomplished in 2015!
- WPH No Frills Fundraiser and junior handball tournament (January 2015): Junior WPH hosted a Tucson junior handball fundraiser, with several of the game’s best players teaming with junior players in a special doubles division. Junior handball players also competed in junior singles and doubles divisions, while also having an opportunity to take clinics from a WPH Certified Coach. “The No Frills was a great way to kickoff 2015, as junior players had an opportunity to watch and play alongside their heroes,” stated WPH Youth and Donor Development Director David Fink.
- Junior WPH junior and collegiate clinic at the Houston Race 4 Eight (January 2015): WPH Women’s Race 4 Eight star Ashley Moler and WPH Race 4 Eight star Mando Ortiz coached a clinic for 15 college students at Houston’s annual Race 4 Eight stop. The students were able to develop a deeper understanding of the game’s fundamentals and strategies by learning from two of the best players in the sport. “Most of the students were young ladies and they really enjoyed incorporating some of the cross-training techniques that I suggested,” revealed Moler.
- Junior WPH Weekly after school and weekend clinics (January 2015-April 2015): Junior WPH held after school and Saturday clinics each week between January and April of 2015, providing young people with an opportunity to experience teamwork, camaraderie and being physically active, while developing skills and learning how to compete with integrity and demonstrating respect for their opponents. “The level of improvement has been tremendous throughout the course of the after school and weekend clinics,” revealed WPH Youth and Donor Development Director David Fink. “More importantly, however, is the amount of fun the kids are having in a structured environment that promotes positivity and goal-oriented initiatives.”
- Junior WPH junior clinic at the San Francisco R48: WPH Race 4 Eight star Jon Iglesias coached a group of a dozen junior handball players at San Francisco’s Race 4 Eight stop at the Olympic Club. The young participants were thrilled to improve their games under the keen eye of one of the game’s best. “I really enjoy working with the kids,” stated Iglesias. “When I was a young player learning the game it was always a huge highlight to have the opportunity to learn from top players and I am proud to provide that opportunity for the next generation of players.”
- Junior WPH Welcomes Canadian Junior Stars to Tucson (April 2015): The World Players of Handball welcomed Canadian junior standouts Michael Gaulton and Leslie Amminson to Tucson for an afternoon of coaching and practicing at the Tucson Racquet Club with WPH #5 pro David Fink. Arriving just after coaching handball at Khalsa Montessori School, the WPH jumped on the court with Gaulton and Amminson as they prepared for the USHA Hall of Fame Tournament & Women’s Classic. “These teenagers are immensely talented,” revealed Fink. “Both will be pros in the near future, as each possesses a tremendous passion for the game and incredibly well-developed skills.”
- Junior WPH clinics at Khalsa School (Febraury 2015-May 2015): Junior WPH proudly returned to Khalsa Montessori School in Tucson to coach handball to the entire Khalsa School Middle School during weekly P.E. Classes. Students learned how to play 1-Wall handball on the spectacular 1-Wall courts on the campus of Khalsa School. “The kids really enjoyed learning different games and dexterity exercises that come with playing handball,” revealed WPH Master Instructor David Fink.
- Junior WPH Clinic at the Southwest Regional Handball Tournament in Austin, TX (March 2015): Six colleges from Texas and Florida attended the Southwest Regional Handball Tournament in Austin, TX and were treated to a clinic coached by former WPH #1 Allan “TBB” Garner, current top 25 WPH pro Adam Bernhard and special guest instructor, 2012 USHA Handball Hall of Fame inductee John Bike. “The clinic was really great,” stated Garner. “The participants were taught the warm-up, back wall drills and footwork exercises.
- Team WPH at the USHA Hall of Fame Tournament & Women’s Classic (April 2015): Junior WPH was well represented in the junior and B divisions at the USHA Hall of Fame Tournament & Women’s Classic, with Junior WPH 13-and-under stars Carlos Villegas advancing to the finals and Westley Harden finishing fourth. WPH Team Member Matt Payne advanced to the finals of the B singles in his first tournament, winning three rounds against seasoned players en route to the finals. “The Junior WPH players were extremely eager to play against players from other cities, and each of the players relished the opportunity to make new friends and compete in the tournament,” stated WPH Youth and Donor Development David Fink.
- Junior WPH Mega Clinic and Junior 1-Wall Challenge at the WPH Outdoor Cross Over Revolution (June 2015): The World Players of Handball was thrilled to present the Venice Mega Junior Handball Clinic and Junior 1-Wall Challenge in Venice Beach, CA June 19th-20th. More than 50 junior players between the ages of 8-19 enjoyed multiple handball clinics with several of the game’s greatest players on the Venice Beach 1-Wall handball courts, just 25 feet from the beach. The juniors applied what they learned in the Mega Clinics in the Junior 1-Wall Challenge. The youngsters competed with and against one another in singles and doubles competitions, with each youngster demonstrating tremendous passion for the game and handball skills. “All of the kids showed good sportsmanship, played by the rules, showed discipline, and most importantly, they had fun playing the game,” declared Junior WPH 1-wall Challenge tournament co-director Alexia Lozano. “Thanks to the entire WPH staff who have devoted so much time and effort into making the junior’s clinics and tournaments the success they are today. You have taught my son Michael and all of the kids sportsmanship, fair play, and many values they will need throughout life. Thank you for your guidance and continued support.”
- Junior WPH Program the University of West Florida (yearly): The World Players of Handball is thrilled to have partnered with UWF Handball club Founder Michael Morgan and the University of West Florida’s handball team in Pensacola, Fl. “Mike Morgan is one of handball’s greatest promoters and ambassadors and we proudly support his UWF handball team,” declared WPH Youth Donor and Development Director David Fink. “Coach Morgan has probably introduced and retained more handball players in the past five years than anyone in the world. Great job Michael and we look forward to working with you and your program for many years to come.”
- Junior WPH Natty Gonzalez cd. Juarez, Mexico (yearly): The World Players of Handball is proud to announce our partnership with the handball-crazed city of Juarez, MX. Juarez possesses one of the strongest handball communities in North America, producing WPH R48 top 12 pros Luis and Daniel Cordova, as well as a number of other high level players. The Juarez handball community and Coach Richie “Drft” Fernandez are determined to continue to grow the game in Juarez, hosting weekly junior handball clinics and providing opportunities for juniors to travel to tournaments. “Drft brings an incredible energy and enthusiasm for handball and the kids love him,” stated WPH Youth Donor and Development Director David Fink. “In his first week of clinics, Drft recruited more than 20 kids between the ages of 6-16. The WPH looks forward to tremendous junior handball growth in Juarez and helping the Juarez handball community build and sustain one of the best junior handball programs in the world.”
- Junior WPH Marco’s Kids in Southern California (yearly): Coach Marco Coromac has built one of the largest and strongest junior handball programs in the country and the World Players of Handball is honored to assist Coach Marco in his efforts to teach important life lessons and values through handball in Southern California. “Coach Marco is an incredible influence on his junior handball players and precisely what we hope for in all of our coaches,” stated WPH Youth Donor and Development Director David Fink. “The WPH has held a number of clinics with “Marcos’s Kids” and all of the youngsters are always respectful, appreciative and passionate about playing the game the right way. The WPH is thrilled to be able to provide junior handball equipment, opportunities to travel to tournaments and clinics to “Marco’s Kids.” Thank you Coach Marco.”
- Junior WPH at the Tucson Racquet Club All Sports Camp (May-July 2015): Junior WPH Certified Coaches coached five junior handball clinics per day at the Tucson Racquet Club All Sports Camp throughout the 10-week summer camp. Junior WPH Coaches stressed the importance of warming-up, handball fundamentals, handball strategy and most importantly, having fun! “We have been so fortunate to have had the WPH leading our handball program at the TRC All Sports Summer Camp for the past three summers,” stated camp director Coach Anderson. “The WPH Coaches have been so positive and the kids really enjoy the sessions. Handball is so popular at the camp that each class fills up with volunteers immediately.”
- Junior WPH Clinic at the University of West Florida featuring top 12 WPH pros Luis and Daniel Cordova (June 2015): Top 12 WPH R48 Pros Luis and Daniel Cordova hosted a sensational Junior WPH Clinic for the University of West Florida’s WPH sponsored team at the end of UWF’s 2015 spring semester. The Cordova brothers explained and demonstrated the importance of footwork and shot selection, fielded questions from the enthusiastic UWF players, played points against each member of the team, provided critiques of their games and staged a thrilling exhibition match for the awestruck collegiate players. “The clinic was a huge success, as UWF team members and several new players participated,” revealed UWF Handball Club Founder and handball ambassador Michael Morgan. “Daniel and Luis provided useful tips that players were working on throughout the clinic and the next day at practice. After a thrilling exhibition match, in which Luis rallied from a 9-10 tiebreaker deficit to defeat WPH R48 Rookie of the Year Daniel Cordova, Luis and Daniel played doubles with several members of the team. From everyone with the University of West Florida Handball Team, thank you to Luis and Daniel and the WPH for putting on a great event.”
- Junior WPH Clinic at the Jr. Vasquez California State Doubles Championships (July 2015): WPH Outdoor superstar Samzon Hernandez led an exceptional Junior WPH clinic at the Jr. Vasquez California State Doubles Championships for the third consecutive year. More than 30 youngsters had the opportunity to participate in the Jr. Vasquez 3-Wall clinic, including Junior WPH’s Marco’s Kids. “Coach Samzon is already a living legend in 3-Wall handball in his mid-twenties and the kids are so excited to be able to learn from one of their heroes,” stated WPH Youth Donor and Development Director David Fink. “Coach Samzon is patient, highly knowledgeable and extremely positive. Every junior handball player that has had an opportunity learn from him loves the experience and always sees a dramatic improvement in his respective handball game.”
- Junior WPH at the RFC 7 International (July 2015): The World Players of Handball sponsored its 7th Rodney Fink Classic, featuring 4-Wall and 1-Wall cross over play, as well as providing several juniors with an opportunity to watch and play with an against several of the world’s best players. The RFC also introduced several first-time players during the event, as youngsters watching the RFC matches jumped into the courts with WPH coaches.
- Junior WPH’s Marco’s Kids Travel to Fresno (August 2015): Junior WPH sponsored program “Marco’s Kids” traveled to Fresno, CA to compete in the 2015 Fresno Open. Ricardo Palma, Andrew Garcia, and Pablo Borja earned the opportunity to travel to Fresno by demonstrating outstanding sportsmanship and a willingness to improve at weekly “Marco’s Kids” practices. Each youngster was able to experience an incredible weekend of handball, as all three young men competed in the Men’s A and B divisions, as well as junior divisions. Playing alongside Marco’s Kids were top WPH R48 pros Sean Lenning, Emmett Peixoto, Mando Ortiz and Vic Perez. “Ricardo, Andrew and Pablo each had a great time competing and playing pick up games with the locals and even the pros,” boasted Marco’s Kids founder and head coach Marco Coromac. “We thank the WPH for helping Marco’s Kids attend this and many other previous events.”
- Junior WPH Battle of the Border (August 2015): Junior WPH Juarez traveled to Tucson to challenge the Fred Lewis Foundation in a special Battle of the Border, pitting eight junior players between the ages of 8-19 from Junior WPH Juarez and seven junior players from the Fred Lewis Foundation between the ages of 8-18 in a junior team competition. Each of the junior players played at least two matches on a day that also featured a pro exhibition between 2015 WPH R48 Rookie of the Year and Team Juarez Coach Daniel Cordova and Top 20 R48 Pro and Fred Lewis Foundation Coach Abraham Montijo and a Calcutta Doubles event for adult players. “All of the kids had such a great time and each requested for a rematch,” stated WPH Youth Donor and Development Director David Fink. “Each of the junior players demonstrated exemplary sportsmanship, an incredible passion for the game and tremendous handball skills. The WPH will host a rematch in conjunction with the R48 Memorial event in November.”
- Junior WPH Tuesday Night Showdown and Junior Skill Competition (August 2015): Junior WPH Tuesday Night Showdown and Junior Skills Competition (August 2015): Junior WPH was proud to present the Tuesday Night Showdown and Junior Skills Competition, featuring a Junior WPH clinic with Tucson’s Fred Lewis Foundation. WPH Coaches David Fink and Jonathan Iglesias introduced several shots to the enthusiastic junior players, and the Fred Lewis Foundation junior team members participated in exciting target-hitting competitions to practice their new shots. “The junior players really had a great time testing their accuracy and aiming for targets,” stated WPH Youth Donor and Development Director David Fink. “Trying to hit targets is nerve wracking but also great practice.”
- Junior WPH Back 2 School Junior Handball Tournament, Junior Skills Competition, and Junior WPH Clinic (August 2015): Junior WPH Clinic and Tournament at the Back 2 School Bash at the WPH Outdoor Stop Hemborg Ford Cup Stop #4 (August 2015): Junior handballers stole the show at the Back 2 School Bash, inspiring and impressing more than 300 players and fans in Marina Park with outstanding sportsmanship, incredible skill, and tremendous passion for the game. WPH Master Instructor David Fink and WPH Coaches Sal Duenas and Jonathan Iglesias led an exciting junior clinic with a group of more than 50 junior players, demonstrating various handball drills and games, including left-hand defense, the fly kill and the corner kill. Juniors showed off what they learned, as they competed in target-hitting competitions for school supplies and handball jerseys. “Junior WPH is incredibly proud to inspire the next generation of players,” boasted Fink. “WPH Outdoor events are tremendously exciting because of the infectious junior energy at all of the WPH Outdoor events. The juniors are inspiring to even the pro players, as each junior player exemplifies why we all play the game.” Editor’s Note: 75 junior handball players competed in the junior singles and doubles tournament at the Back to School Bash. Ezequiel Marin was awarded with the WPH Courage Award for his courageous and inspiring battle with leukemia. Ezequiel defeated leukemia and serves as a role model to junior and adult players at every tournament for his quiet strength and compassionate disposition. See Ezequiel’s inspiring story here>
- Junior WPH Clinic at the Plummer Bash (September 2015): WPH Master Instructor David Fink, NFL Legend and Plummer Bash Host Jake Plummer, and Top 10 R48 Pro Stephen Cooney hosted a Junior WPH Clinic for seven enthusiastic youngsters at the 2015 Jake Plummer Family Bash. The coaches taught footwork, throwing and hitting the ball with both hands and having fun on the handball court. The youngsters took center stage at the premier handball event in Idaho, relishing the opportunity to learn from an NFL great and two R48 pros. “I just love seeing the kids on the handball court,” declared an excited Plummer. “This is such a great game and I could already see some of the kids getting hooked.”
- Junior WPH Clinics at the Vegas 3WallBall World Outdoor Championships (September 2015): Junior WPH kicked off the 6th annual WPH/WOR 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships at the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino with a Junior WPH Clinic for several dozen Las Vegas youth, with outdoor greats Timbo Gonzalez and Shorty Ruiz joining WPH Master Instructor David Fink in an exciting 3WallBall instructional. Editor’s Note #1: Fink, Gonzalez and Ruiz stressed the importance of technique throughout the coaching session, with each coach teaching a different shot. After practicing the various shots introduced, the 50 junior players jumped into target-practice games and doubles action with one another. “It’s always great to see so many youngsters enjoying the game for the first time,” stated Fink. “Our hope is that they continue playing this great game and enjoying all that it has to offer. Editor’s Note #2: Following the kickoff clinic at the 2015 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships, juniors from across the U.S. and Mexico competed in the junior 3WallBall World Championships, featuring the most junior participation in the six-year history of the event. Junior handball players dazzled galleries with their spectacular play and sportsmanship. Juniors were treated to another Junior WPH clinic on the final day of the event. “The kids are so passionate about playing the game and so eager to learn and improve there games,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “Having juniors from across the U.S. and Mexico at our events is inspiring to all of the older players and dramatically elevates the energy and excitement of our events.”
- Junior WPH Clinic at the University of Florida’s WPH Argonauts Classic (September 2015): Junior WPH was thrilled to present a collegiate handball clinic at the WPH sponsored University of West Florida’s 2015 Argonauts Classic. WPH Certified Coach and Top 12 R48 Pro Luis Cordova led clinics for more than 30 collegiate handball players from the University of West Florida, University of Texas, Angelo State University, and the University of Illinois. “We split the clinic into two groups based on skill level, working on swing mechanics, serves, return of serve, and shot selection,” stated UWF Team Founder and WPH Handball Ambassador Michael Morgan. “Overall everyone had an amazing time and is excited about next year.”
- Junior WPH fall and winter clinics at Khalsa School (Fall 2015): For the third consecutive year, Junior WPH heads the handball coaching at Khalsa School’s P.E. classes in Tucson, AZ for the 6th, 7th and 8th Each of the 60 middle school students are given the opportunity to learn and play 1-Wall handball throughout the semester on one of the country’s premiere 1-Wall court facilities at Khalsa School, one of Southwest Arizona’s most highly rated charter schools. The middle school students are introduced to each handball lesson with a specific handball warm-up and taught the proper fundamentals of throwing and hitting the ball with both hands. By the end of each lesson, the students are often serving and rallying with one another. “We are very fortunate to have the kids learning handball from one of the world’s best instructors,” stated Khalsa School P.E. Teacher Kevin Nichols. “The kids are really taking to it and it’s a great opportunity for them to learn new skills and have fun doing it.”
- Junior WPH Clinic at the Simple Green U.S. Open (October 2015): The World Players of Handball was proud to present a junior 3-Wall handball clinic at the 2015 Simple Green U.S. Open featuring nearly a dozen junior players between the ages of 7-15. 2015 WPH R48 Rookies of Year Daniel Cordova and Martina McMahon led the clinic, teaching the serve, corner kill and point-play strategy. “The World Players of Handball is a junior development organization and we are proud to provide opportunities for junior handball players to play and learn the game of handball in positive and encouraging settings,” declared WPH Youth Donor and Development Director David Fink. “Having the opportunity to learn from Daniel Cordova of Mexico and Martina McMahon of Ireland is a thrill for any player, particularly junior players who are rapidly developing their games.”
- Junior WPH Tournament and Clinic at the 2015 Tucson Memorial/Junior WPH Benefit (November 2015): More than 50 junior handball players from Arizona, California, Ohio, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico participated in various small ball and big ball junior handball divisions, as well as learning from several of the game’s best pros in an exciting junior clinic and skills competitions. Emerging R48 top pro and Irish Senior handball sensation Killian Carroll teamed with WPH Master Instructor David Fink to teach an unforgettable junior instructional and target-hitting competition. “Having a top pro like Killian stepping into junior clinics is incredible for the kids,” revealed Fink. “The kids were treated to world-class instruction from one of the game’s future legends and learned techniques that will help them become better players.” Between the Junior WPH clinic, juniors participated in multiple small ball and big ball age and skill level divisions, with many of the junior players playing in three divisions. “Our kids are having an amazing experience at the Tucson Memorial,” stated WPH Juarez Coach Drft Fernandez. “We are so thankful to the WPH for providing our juniors with the opportunity to travel, compete against other juniors, and learn from the best coaches and the game.”
- Junior WPH Battle of the Border II (November 2015): Tucson’s Fred Lewis Foundation and Junior WPH Juarez faced off for the second time in three months in November of 2015 in the exciting junior handball team competition “Battle of the Border.” Fred Lewis Foundation’s Head Coach Abraham Montijo and Junior WPH Juarez Coach Richie “Drft” Fernandez proudly coach two of the most organized and successful junior handball programs in handball, and both Coach Montijo and Coach Fernandez were thrilled to watch their players pulling together as a team in the unique competition. Just as FLF had done in the first Battle of the Border in August, Team FLF won five of the seven matches to clinch the cup. “We love hosting the Battle of the Border and providing opportunities for the Tucson and Juarez juniors to compete as a team,” revealed WPH Youth Donor and Development Director David Fink. “The kids are really an inspiration to players of all ages and levels and we are thrilled to have their passion for the game, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the sport.”
- Junior WPH at Lohse YMCA (Fall 2015): Junior WPH proudly coaches weekly Saturday clinics at Tucson’s downtown YMCA in the fall of 2015, introducing the game to numerous junior players and establishing a group of consistent players that have developed a passion for the sport. The Lohse YMCA clinics are partially funded by the Tucson Conquistadores, one of the country’s most philanthropic youth sports foundations and hosts of the Champions Golf Tour’s Conquistadores Classic every March. Junior WPH’s Tucson Lohse YMCA clinics provide opportunities for Tucson youth to develop handball and life skills under the guidance of WPH Certified Coaches. The World Players of Handball is extremely excited to have the opportunity to work with Tucson’s Lohse YMCA and to provide young people with the ability to flourish through handball. The mission’s of the Lohse YMCA and the World Players of Handball are parallel, as promoting leadership, character building, discipline, integrity, social responsibility and developing physical health through physical activity are the cornerstones of both the YMCA and the World Players of Handball. Both the Lohse YMCA and the World Players of Handball are dedicated to improving the lives of young people to make for a better future. Junior WPH is also thrilled and honored that the Tucson Conquistadores recognizes the value in the tremendous opportunities that Junior WPH is providing for young people. As with all Junior WPH handball programs and youth sports programs supported by the Conquistadores, sportsmanship, camaraderie, respect for yourself, respect for the sport and respect for your opponent is paramount.”
- Junior WPH at the 50th Anniversary Juarez Handball Tournament Presented by the WPH (November 2015): Junior WPH was thrilled to sponsor the 50th Anniversary Juarez Handball Tournament in one of North America’s best adult and junior handball communities. 17 junior handball players competed in advanced and beginner small ball and big ball singles tournament divisions, with each junior playing multiple matches in both codes throughout the weekend. Junior WPH is proud to sponsor Team Junior WPH Juarez, providing equipment, clinics and opportunities to travel to tournaments across the United States and Mexico. The WPH excited to watch the growth of the Team Junior WPH Juarez program at each event.
- Junior WPH Thanksgiving Clinic in Nemacolin Woodlands, PA (November 2015): Junior WPH offered a special junior handball clinic at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa in central PA. Several first-time junior handball players enjoyed world-class junior handball instruction in the beautiful backdrop of the Laurel Highlands. The first-time players learned to throw with their off-hands and hit the ball with both hands during the lesson.
- Junior WPH Kansas City (Fall 2015): Junior WPH is pleased to announce the newest Junior WPH sponsored team, the Junior WPH Kansas City. Junior WPH KC features more than a dozen handball players between the ages of 5-14 learning from KCAC’s WPH Coach Nick Scherzer and other KCAC volunteer WPH Coaches. The young handballers are generally separated into two groups, based on their ages, and taught the proper throwing and hitting motions. The older group transitioned quickly into rallying and playing points, while the younger group relished the opportunity to hit the ball and play cross-court two-bounce. “All of the kids loved playing and receiving and praise from the coaches,” revealed Coach Scherzer. “The kids learned the side-arm stroke, the back wall shot, defensive shots, the “bowling alley” swing, the V-pass and handball strategy.” The conclusion of the 2015 fall/winter Junior WPH KC session was participation in Kansas City’s Handballesta winter handball tournament. The Junior WPH KC players entered the junior brackets, while the older Junior WPH KC players also entered the Contender Men’s B. Many of the Junior WPH KC members will be heading to the USHA Junior Nationals in Chicago in late December. Junior WPH KC will continue in 2016, with the next session starting in February. “It blows my mind how teachable juniors are in this sport,” stated Coach Scherzer. “All of the kids listen so well and are eager to learn. All of the kids from the 2015 fall/winter session are registered for the 2016 winter/spring session and we’re going to try to round up more.”
Junior WPH will continue its ambitious junior handball initiatives in 2016 with Race 4 Eight junior clinics, WPH Outdoor Clinics, Junior WPH Teams in action, clinics at summer camps, YMCA’s, athletic clubs, schools and much more!
Stay tuned to wphlive.tv and juniorhandball.org for all of the exciting junior handball updates.
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today and supporting the growth of the game. 100% of the donations received by the WPH go towards junior handball development and supporting Junior WPH sponsored programs and teams, Junior WPH clinics at tournaments, summer camps, athletic clubs, as well as providing junior handball equipment and opportunities for junior handball players to travel to tournaments.
David Fink~WPH Senior Writer