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Constant innovation keeps the game fresh for Amherst’s Charlie Chambers

AMHERST – A new basketball season means new basketball drills.

“I want to make sure I don’t stop learning, so I try to write up new drills every year and try something new,” said Charlie Chambers, coach of the Amherst Regional High School Vikings Senior Girls basketball team.

Chambers has coached high school basketball for over 30 years, and looks towards a vast array of coaches, and friends, to learn from, including Vikings alumni Thomas Skabar and Matt Gamblin who both coach at the university level, Mike Leslie, coach the Halifax Hurricanes.

He also learns from local coaches, and friends, such as Duane Starratt, Al and Doug Hart, and Andrew Stanley, a coach at Tantramar High School.

“We share stuff and piece together what we need for our team.”

Chambers says his biggest influence was Amherst’s Dwight Jones, who passed away in 2016 after losing his battle with cancer.

“Dwight was my mentor. He was a longtime great coach and great friend of myself and my family.”

Watching college basketball helps Chambers learn as well.

“When I watch college basketball I write down what I can,” said Chambers. “A great thing for coaches is NCAA March Madness because all the commentators are former coaches, and they diagram plays and talk about the game.”

Chambers will bring his latest skill-set to teach a young Vikings team, which has one Grade 12 player, Ceilidh Bennett, six Grade 11 players, four Grade 10’s, and two Grade 9 players.

“We have a lot of players with inexperience, so we’re going to have to work on their confidence and on blending the experienced with the inexperienced players.”

He says the team will be a work in progress throughout the season, and, if all goes as planned, could compete for a provincial Division 2 title.

“We’re really going to need our bench players to step up and complement our starters,” said Chambers. “We need everybody to buy into what we want to do, and we need them to play hard and play smart.”

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