This is the 62nd in a series of postings. It is designed to keep you informed about improvements we are making with Island Garden, Lightning and NY Metropolitan AAU.

  • Super League concluded its best season ever in late March. The numbers were larger than ever, the competition was intense but balanced and the sportsmanship was outstanding. While we cannot be perfect, I truly believe my staff did an outstanding job of providing a highly organized league that catered to coaches in an outstanding manner. Watch for the 2018-2019 Championship Banner to be hung in the Island Garden very soon. The improvements worked very well in terms of the video streaming and roster verification system.
  • Spring League has started and the biggest thing everyone may notice is that we have expanded to a number of new locations during the past couple of years. In addition to Island Garden, we now are playing at the JMF Center in Westbury, Long Island Sports Hub in Syosset and most recently at LIU Post which is our newest addition for league play. LIU is a beautiful facility located in Brookville on a spacious college campus that we previously used for AAU tournaments. More about this below.
  • During the past month, my team and I have expanded our vision and started a new venture which we hope will enhance the services we provide to all young athletes. We have reached agreement with LIU Post to place all types of youth sports in their facilities. We will have exclusive rights to fill all of their sports venues (not just their incredible gymnasium) with youth and adult sports. We intend to fill these sports venues with leagues, tournaments and practices. In addition to the gymnasium, we have access to the baseball, softball, lacrosse and soccer fields. Our vision is to continually grow youth sports with high quality and safe venues that are operated by respected, well organized and highly professional youth organizations.
  • Another significant improvement to our tournament operations is the addition of one of the most beautiful and well run schools on Long Island. We were proud to use Friends Academy for the first time this past weekend. This four court facility is situated on an idyllic campus on the North Shore of Nassau County. We are working with some terrific people who are obviously dedicated to the educational, religious and social development of our children. I urge everyone who may be looking at private middle and high school education to take the time to visit this very special school. Call me and I will connect you to their outstanding school administrators. Friends Academy is a Quaker run institution. It does have scholarship assistance available that is based on financial need.
  • One last improvement in terms of space involves our long time friend Rabbi Shalom Paltiel of the Chabab in Port Washington. The Rabbi has turned over the rental of their gym to us. We intend to assist the Rabbi in raising funds for the Chabad by filling his beautiful gym with games, practices and rentals. Please contact me if you are interested in renting space. We also will continue to host Super League games there but will be increasing the offering of training programs. This facility is available to us Sundays through Thursdays daytime and evenings.
  • Another program that we are very proud of is the Little Lightning Connecticut Future Stars Training Camps. This is a copy written program that offers not only excellent instruction in various sports but also life lessons specifically designed for the younger children. We have spent a great deal of time researching the program over the past eleven weeks and have observed it in action. We are now in the second full session at Island Garden. It has received outstanding reviews from the parents. This program is so much more than the standard training clinic for new players. It is highly organized and fun filled. We intend to offer the program at all of our sites in the Fall.
  • The AAU and travel basketball season is well into its season. We have reacted to the change in demand by the participants that has clearly emerged. While there is still a large demand for travel basketball, less families want to take on a demanding schedule outside of Long Island. We now have more Lightning teams that want to restrict their schedule to local events and leagues. As a result, we have increased our offerings of tournaments on Long Island and league play. There is still plenty of opportunity for teams that want to expand their competition beyond Long Island. We intend to offer different teams based on their anticipated scope of their schedule.
  • Our plans for “Always Getting Better” now include offering a Fall schedule of tournaments here on Long Island. Watch for new and innovative offerings to make these tournaments more like festivals that offer so much in addition to great games.
  • Our new social media professional is working very hard. We hope you are following us on social media and seeing the increased postings. Help us with sending us content that we can post.
  • I am heading to Chicago tomorrow to be part of  meetings with the NBA to work on ways that that they can increase their involvement in youth basketball. I have been proud to serve on the Junior NBA Flagship Committee for the past two years that is comprised of 15 leaders of youth organizations from throughout the country whose purpose it is to advise the NBA on how to serve the youth market. I can state from direct observation that the NBA is very interested in youth basketball on both a national and international level.
  • During the past month, we have introduced new programs for girls training at Island Garden as well as small group training at JMF. Watch for even more programs to be offered. In particular, Joe Nesci, the former long term and highly successful coach at NYU has joined our staff and will be leading clinics and specialized camps for us.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and being a supporter of Island Garden, Lightning, NY Metro AAU,  JMF Sports Center and our new JMF Sports Consultants.

Please contact us if you have suggestions as to how we can continue to improve every day. Many of our best ideas have come from coaches and parents.

Jim Fox

“I urge all of you to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have. To spend each day with some laughter and some thought, to get your emotions going.”
Jim Valvano

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