This week’s VJBL In Focus is a short trip down the coast to stop off in the basketball haven of Frankston.

While we were away throughout 2020, our associations, players, coaches and officials continued to work hard to stay fit and stay focused. 

We’ve been back in the swing of things for #VJBL21 for little while now and are loving every second of the action on court as our junior superstars get back to doing what they do best! 

Frankston has impressed throughout the early stages of the VJBL 2021 season with seven teams qualifying for the VC competition; the breeding ground of Victoria’s elite junior teams. There’s still time for the Blues to qualify a few more sides, making for an impressive suite of superstars throughout our highest ranks! 

But wherever they find themselves in the pecking order of our return season, the Blues have been excited to get back on court in 2021 and help reignite the Peninsula’s proud passion for basketball. 

We had a chat to Frankston Under-12.1 coaches Abby Chernishoff (girls) and Darcey Strauss (boys) about what it means to return to the game and seeing the next generation take their biggest step yet onto the VJBL court. 

Both Strauss and Chernishoff have been features of Frankston’s basketball success for a number of years. Chernishoff has starred in the game throughout her time as a Blue, all the way up to captaining the Big V Youth League 2 Women to the title in 2018. She’s also now part of the Frankston NBL1 team and was an assistant coach for Frankston’s 2019 Under-14 Club Championships girls team in Ballarat. 

Strauss has been part of Frankston sides since 2008 and has flourished in his time as a Blue en route to most recently winning the Big V Youth League 2 championship in 2018. 

To have your current youth players already invest into the next generation as young coaches is an impressive sign of things to come. 

Chernishoff is thrilled to finally get off Zoom and get into motion with her 12.1 girls and see just where a high-octane game-plan can take them. 

“I think I’m more excited than the kids to be returning,” Chernishoff said. “I am loving building up the confidence in these players once more after such a prolonged period of no basketball. 

“Sport is so important for personal development and I so look forward to seeing all of the kids back on the court across the state. 

“We did lots and lots of zoom meetings! We did trainings on zoom once a week, I did individual sessions on zoom, I was part of a zoom coaching program that the Blues organised for all of the juniors and we even had a pyjama party on zoom. It was lots of fun but I can definitely say I am all zoomed out! 

“Our game-plan is to run the floor on O and look for quick transition layups. 

“High pressure D, making players feel ‘uncomfortable’ and we’ll see how we go with adding in some run and jumps defence. We definitely play a team-style game so there are no key playmakers, at this early stage anyway.” 

Importantly for Chernishoff, Frankston has given incredible opportunities to its up-and-coming female coaches who are taking the next generation of female junior players to even greater heights. 

“Our girls program, largely thanks to our fierce leader Kerryn Mitchell, is filled with female coaches who are working to empower our players,” Chernishoff said. “We have a culture of girls supporting girls and have instilled a desire for competition and an eagerness to succeed since day 1. I really think our girl’s program is one to be scared of.” 

Strauss is just as excited to see the kids getting back into the action after the challenges of 2020. 

“After so much frustration and disappointment having the season taken from us on the night of round 1 there is so much excitement and anticipation heading into VJBL21,” Strauss said. “This is topped off by having 8 of our 10 guys returning for last season and really instils a feeling that we might be able to reconcile something that we weren’t able to see through.   

“I am most looking forward to seeing the hard work that the majority of these boys have put in over the past three years pay off and their continued development over the course of the season.

“During lockdown we kept connected through weekly zoom meetings that included anything from skills and fitness sessions to trivia night catch ups. 

“I really believe we have a team where all 10 guys will be eligible for the starting 5 every night. This is definitely a credit to Frankston’s opportunities for player development and commitment to coaching development which has been second to none during lockdown and recent return to basketball.”   

For further information on Frankston Basketball, please visit their website. 

Original Story HERE