Basketball camp focuses on fitness, fundamentals

Dave
Dave Mathieson
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AMHERST – There’s a lot more to basketball than shooting baskets.

“We’re into Day-3 here and we haven’t taken an actual shot in three days, but we will this afternoon,” said Dave Wilson, who helps run the Development First basketball camp, which is based out of Ontario.

The five-day camp was this week, Monday to Friday, at Spring Street Academy.

Thirty-five kids in Grades 3 to 6 participated in the morning session, and about 50 kids in Grade’s 7 to 11 participated in the afternoon session.

The kids were in the gymnasium, their sweat dripping on the floor, as they did push ups and sit-ups.

Development First emphasizes fitness, strength and conditioning.

“Every training session starts with a warm-up. It’s a 30 minute start to our session,” said Wilson. “We figure the only way to get better with skills is to work your skills in the state you’ll be in in a game – you’re going to be tired.

“If you work the dribble when you’re not tired, then what’s going to happen in a game?”

Ball handling is also emphasized.

“I’m big on ball handling,” said Wilson. “If you don’t have the skills with the ball how are you going to get to the rim, how are you going to get a shot?

“It starts with being confident with the ball.”

Wilson pointed to the concrete court outside the gymnasium and said, “This court is awesome. They don’t even need the rims. With what we’ve shown the kids this week they could just focus on the routines that we’ve given them with the ball.

“They could come to a court with no rim and spend two hours just working on the ball handling and be sweating and walk away tired,” he added.

Wilson knows kids won’t be working on their skills two hours a day but he hopes they find time to pick up a basketball every day.

“An hour-long TV show has at least 10 minutes of commercials,” said Wilson. “If you practiced with the ball during commercials you end up practicing for 10 minutes. That’s 10 minutes that will put you above and beyond from where you are today.”

Wilson likes what he saw from the kids attending the camp.

“There’s a really good, solid pocket of girls here,” he said. “They are very skilled and work very hard. Because they have a certain level of skill and desire we can push them a little harder, which is making this camp a lot of fun for us.”

He said the guys show promise as well.

“There’s guys here with a lot of skill,” he said. “You can see they have the ability, but might not be working at it every day, but they have the ability to excel to the next level.”

 

 

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