The girls attending the Titans basketball camp in Hawkesbury had a special guest coach join them on Wednesday for some high-level on-the-court education.

Fabienne Blizzard, a former U19 coach of the year in the Ontario Basketball Association, instructed players at the camp in a series of drills and lessons throughout the morning of August 23. Campers participated in activities designed to develop higher-level skills such as awareness on the court and the ability to anticipate the flow of the play.

Blizzard expressed the importance that venues like the Titans camp play in the development of young athletes—especially young girls.

“It’s all about providing them a forum where they can be have a voice and build confidence in an environment that allows them to compete at the same level as the boys.”

In explaining her own development as an athlete, Blizzard says she recognizes the power that positive role models can play in the lives of young athletes.

“That’s the way I got motivated. Someone showed up at my high school and said how they got there, what they did, and I got hooked from there. I was 13. I’m hoping I can do the same for these girls,” Blizzard says.

So, what did the players think about their time spent with coach Blizzard?

“She’s a very positive speaker. I learned a lot—lots of new drills,” says camper Zoé of the experience.

Another camp attendee, Isabel, added that, “she challenged you to go outside your comfort zone, which was great.”

Blizzard currently coaches at an all-girls prep school in Ottawa. She is also a U15 provincial coach, whose team won gold at nationals this summer, as well as an instructor with Jewel Ottawa, an elite juvenile league for girls.

The Titans basketball camp is co-directed by Sid MacCallum, a retired Pleasant Corners Public School teacher and coach, and current coach of the Ottawa Celtics Major Bantam Boys team; and Marcel Arseneau, a veteran basketball referee and prominent figure in the local basketball scene.

In addition to Blizzard, the camp has featured guest instructors Ian MacKinnon, head coach of this year’s OFSAA champions, Ashbury College and also, Assistant Coach with the Ottawa Gee Gees Women’s University Team, and Merrick Palmer, individual player development coach at Ottawa Hoops Basketball. Long-time head coach at Sun Youth Basketball in Montreal, Les Hughes, is also instructing throughout the camp.

The camp’s culminating event, “Championship Friday”, takes place Friday, August 25. The event begins at 1 p.m., when parents are invited to watch a demonstration of the skills learned at the camp and to cheer them on as they go through individual and team competitions before the camp championship game and awards.