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The City Journals

Professor’s Backyard Clinic Demonstrates Love for Teaching

Aug 04, 2016 01:43PM ● By Travis Barton

Stan Owen demonstrates the proper movement of the hands for the “window washer” technique when dribbling. Owen is also a law professor at UNLV and BYU. –Travis Barton

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

Sugar House, Utah - With age comes an image of someone screaming at the neighborhood kids from his porch. For Stan Owen, rather than yell from his porch, he teaches from the basketball court in his backyard.

Owen, a law professor at UNLV and BYU by day and assistant basketball coach at Highland High, runs a Backyard Basketball Skills Workshop in his backyard during the summer.

“I’ve always had a love for basketball,” Stan said.

Entering its third year, the clinic is for boys and girls between ages five and 16. Known for its flexibility, Stan’s workshop allows people to put together a group or team and choose what times work for them. Workshops run four days with 50 minute sessions.

Stan was a first team all-state player for East High before going on to play for the University of Utah. His love for basketball has never waned as he’s continued to coach his seven kids.

“At one point I coached 12 games a week when they were all playing,” Stan said.

Stan and his family sit in the front row of almost all the Ute basketball games holding up the number three after each three-pointer. Stan’s son Dave Owen is coaching his son’s team who went through the workshop in late June.

“He [Stan] sure loves it, he taught all of us how to play right here on this court,” Dave said.

Taking place in the backyard of Stan’s home, the workshop is run on a concrete court that is approximately 75’ long and 35’ wide with three baskets. Two adjustable baskets at either end with a permanent 10’ high basket just off to the side.

Stan’s workshops focus on using proper form and technique for dribbling, passing and shooting. His reasoning is because “players entering high school generally lack basic basketball skills.”

Shooting is an example of this. Outlined in Stan’s flyer for the workshop, he said kids shooting form in generally poor due to the height of the basket and size of the balls they play with forcing players to “chuck or heave the ball using any method possible.”

“They shoot on the baskets way too early and it messes with their ego because they can’t make any baskets at [age] 12 or 14,” Stan said.

It affects their love of the game and ability as a player.

“By the time players reach high school their poor form is so ingrained because of years of practice on hoops too high,” Stan said in his flyer.

Stan’s ability to teach the proper ways of doing things has influenced all aspects of his life, from basketball to law to leadership positions in the LDS church.

“He’s a natural born teacher,” Dave said.

During the school year Stan will fly to UNLV every Thursday and teach two three-hour classes while teaching at BYU the rest of the week. With the workshops over the summer, Stan spends most of his time developing youthful minds.

Stan said one of his rules for teaching is always keeping the students engaged.

“We don’t go longer than six minutes without doing something interactive,” Stan said.

It’s an interaction that Stan said he enjoys witnessing in his basketball workshops.

“This brings me a lot of joy to watch these kids learn, I take it seriously but we have fun,” Stan said.

With a philosophy based on encouragement and enjoyment, Stan doesn’t plan to stop the workshops any time soon. As for this summer, the Backyard Basketball Skills Workshops run until August 13.

For more information on the Backyard Basketball Skills Workshop, call 801-484-0093 or email [email protected]