Sports development officer Sam Wicks at the Raymond Laurie Sports Centre.
Sports development officer Sam Wicks at the Raymond Laurie Sports Centre.

Talking sport, perfect job for Sam

THE new sports development officer in Yamba knows how to engage the children of the Lower Clarence.

At 17 years of age and just a few months out of high school, talking to kids about sport couldn’t come easier for Sam Wicks, has taken on a one-year traineeship at the Raymond Laurie Sports Centre under the guidance of his former Vikings coach and manager of the centre, Steve Smith.

Sam literally ‘walked’ into his current position in Grafton last year when he ran into his coach at the corner store he owned at the time.

“I guess I walked in at the right time and Steve suggested I take on the traineeship,” he said.

“Steve had noticed that I trained hard and was well mannered and thought I’d be good for the position.”

After a childhood of watching mum and dad run up and down the basketball court followed by his own rise to State league, you could say Sam has a slight bias towards basketball and his enthusiasm for the sport is infectious.

He’s responsible for conducting clinics in the local schools, talking at assemblies about what’s on offer at the sports centre and promoting futsal, netball and, of course, basketball.

By the second week of after-school basketball, numbers have grown from four to twenty-five and he’s still yet to conduct a clinic in the biggest primary school down river.

It’s clear to see, Sam is doing all the right things.

“We’re trying to develop a basketball culture in the Lower Clarence that hasn’t really been here before,” he said

“There hasn’t been the facility for it but now we’ve got this,” he said of the Raymond Laurie Sports Centre.

Sam is taking the role in his stride and is even developing some of his own ideas for sports promotion in the Lower Clarence.

“On March 13 we’re hosting a pre-season day featuring the state basketball league teams from Ballina, Grafton and Yamba,” he said.

“We hope to make it a tradition.”



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