East Bay Soldiers focusing on ‘mind and body’ as new season starts

If you think you have been busy, try wearing an East Bay Soldiers uniform sometime.

The local youth basketball organization’s 2017-18 AAU season began Sept. 1 and has been a whirlwind of activity. We’re not just talking about practice and games, but also exercises in team bonding, relaxation, confidence and academic tutoring.

It’s all part of the East Bay Soldiers’ focused emphasis this year on building both “mind and body” of its young players.

For example, a John F. Kennedy University graduate student in sports psychology has been embedded in the program this year. The student intern is working with kids at two to three practices per week and also attending several fall season games in the Fairfield area.

East Bay Soldiers are also continuing to have success with its tutoring and academic support program, available to all kids in the program three days per week and assisted by a recent UC Berkeley graduate. The program just held an annual raffle fundraiser for the program and received donations from Southwest Airlines (2 roundtrip tickets), Disney Theme Parks (4 one-day park hopper passes); Golden State Warriors game tickets (2 tickets); Sacramento Kings Gift basket and tickets and more.

In early October, the JFK University LEAP program hosted a “Team Bonding” workshop in early October focusing team building, relaxation and confidence for middle school age groups. Additionally on Oct. 29, First Transit supported a Team Bonding Day for the East Bay Soldiers’ 13u and 14u teams, with the kids traveling via Amtrak to Sacramento to visit the state Capital and attend the Sacramento Kings game.

And to cap it all off, many of the program’s kids and families went to a Golden State Warriors game earlier in October and sat courtside to watch the Warriors warm up.

All of this has been the opposite of a distraction in terms of how EBS plays basketball. In a recent Fairfield Ballers Fall Ball league tournament consisting of over 100 teams, three East Bay Soldiers teams — 11u, 14u and 15 High School — participated. All three made the Final Four in their respective divisions, with its 11u team bringing home the Division-1 Championship to Richmond. EBS 15 High School came in second place and EBS 14u placed third.