Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Stars Basketball Camp

This was Scott & Hayden's second year in the Stars Basketball Camp.

Growing up, it seemed to me that a week of basketball camp at SAIT was an integral part of every summer. My mom would drop me off the first morning with my bball gear and a packed lunch, and I would worry how well I would stack up with my peers on and off the court. The camp ran all day, with occasional film sessions to give us a chance to catch our breath. Late 80s basketball videos were filled with bizarre raps about Hakeem Olajuwon ("Can he block the ball? He can block the ball. Can he block the ball? He can block the ball") and other VHS gems. My brothers and I would come home after a week with a new tri-colour basketball and an appreciation for pinball machines (lunch break diversions) and fine rap. I think we all feel a bit nostalgic for the gyms at SAIT to some extent.

When I looked into SAIT camps for Scott, I realized that they don't offer the full-day camps until you get to be in grade 4 or older. I had no idea, since I don't really remember anything from grade 1 except that I didn't how how to swim or ride a bike at that age and I had a really large head. For kids as young as Scott and Hayden, you go to Stars, where they are teaching the basics of the game.

Last year Scott and Hayden were in with the younger half of the group, and they started to dominate by the end of the week, because many of the other kids had never really played before. This year they were in the deeper end of the talent pool, playing with kids a year older than them. Scott was pretty tentative at first, bewildered why no one was passing him the ball, as he lingered well behind the play. One evening he and I went out on the driveway and worked on getting rebounds, which I described as the best and easiest way to get the ball, regardless who is on your team. I lobbed up brick after brick and he chased down the rebounds.

Katie came out and practiced dribbling the ball and shooting on our 4-foot toddler net. However, the driveway has a bit of slope to it, which makes dribbling a bit tricky and somewhat tearful. Once I pulled the cars out of the garage and gave her a flat surface to work with, she made better progress. We do the game where I count how many times in a row she can dribble it. I think she got to 16, although those last few dribbles are just inches off the ground so it gets hard to adjudicate.

While Katie worked on her dribbling, I showed Scott that his first dribble should be accompanied with a big step forward, so he could get past people. He was enthusiastic about the rebounding, but didn't want too large a dose of coaching, so I left the "go moves" for another day. Instead, we tried to see how many shots we could score in a row. He got up to four pretty quickly, and I struggled to get up to two. Scott was delighted. However, once I stepped back to the far edge of the driveway I suddenly hit 10 in a row. You could tell that took the wind out of his sails a bit. For the next 30 minutes he shot over and over again, trying to get 10 in a row. He would get close and then the pressure would get to him and he would miss. Katie came out and helped feed him the ball. I showed her how to do a bounce pass. I would get the rebound and pass it to Katie and then she would pass to Scott. He liked to blame her passing for any shots that he missed, so finally she and I went back into the garage and let him do it alone.

Persistence paid off, and he finally got to 10 (there was one airball that we said "slipped" so it didn't count in the tally). All this practicing seemed to help. By the end of the week, he played a great scrimmage:

Now we just need to dig out some VHS tapes to work on his rap skills.

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