PITSBURG – “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”
That was the theme on Wednesday for the last day of the Franklin-Monroe girls basketball camp, according to fourth-year coach Abbey Moore. The phrase was written on the back of each campers’ T-shirt for the nearly 30 participants ranging in ages from second to eighth grade.
”That’s been our focus today. When you put that little extra in it pays off in the end,” Moore said. “I think these girls will be able to see that not just in basketball but in life too.
“The girls have been awesome,” she continued. “We picked a different theme each day. Yesterday, we talked a lot about what it means to be a good teammate and I was really proud of the younger girls because they had a lot of really good input on that so that was definitely a good thing to see.”
The two-hour camp mixed in plenty of work on the fundamentals of basketball, but also made some time for fun and games.
“We want to teach these young girls the fundamentals, but at the same time my high school girls are learning how to be role models,” Moore said. “That’s a big part of why we do this camp too. Every day we spend the first half of the day working on those fundamentals. We do different stations where we work on ball handling, passing and defense. We save defense for last because it is our favorite one. We also throw in some shooting too. We’ve had a really good time the last three days.
“When we do our stations we break into our age groups,” she continued. “We pair the first, second and third graders together, then we do fourth and fifth, and then sixth, seventh and eighth are together as well. Breaking them up in those age groups allows me and my staff to break up with them and that way we can give that differentiated instruction and everybody gets what they need at their level. Splitting them up allows us to really focus on the fundamentals with the little ones and doing it the right way.”
Moore said they lower the hoops for the younger ones so that not only do they get the instruction on proper form, they can also experience some success at making shots.
Moore also has her high school players helping at the camp with demonstrations and working the different stations with the campers.
“I think it is really special seeing the younger girls here that in a couple of years will be coming up to help this program,” said Chloe Peters, a rising junior on the varsity team. “Being able to teach them what we do everyday in practice and what coach teaches us is really cool. I remember doing all sorts of camps when I was that young and looking up to those players. Now it’s really neat to see them looking up to us as those role models.”
And that is the benefit of having the high school players be part of the camp, Moore said. They learn how to be role models.
“This has a huge impact on our program,” Moore said. “I have these high school girls demonstrating and leading activities. And they are coaching them too and that’s awesome. It gives the younger girls something to look forward to and maybe one day they will say, ‘Hey, I can have the opportunity to do that too.’
“But just getting everybody in here and getting a basketball in their hands is great,” she continued. “I love basketball and I love being in here, but you have to have fun while you do it to help them keep that love for the game. That’s what we’re trying to show these girls.”
Moore is a 2006 Franklin-Monroe graduate who played four years of basketball wearing a Jets uniform. She has a lot of pride for this program, she said. The Jets had a successful year last season going 21-4 overall and finishing third in the Cross County Conference with a 9-3 record. They made it to the Division IV sectional final before losing to Covington.
“We talked about that with the girls,” Moore said. “How much hard work it takes and being in here in the summer and it is good for them to see that. I think that will do huge things for our program.
“This is extra special for me,” she continued. “When I started coaching here our numbers were really low. We didn’t have a JV team. So putting in this extra effort in the summer and getting these girls interested I hope will pay off in the future. It’s all worth it.”
In addition to the high school players being part of the camp, Moore thanked two of her coaching staff members – Whitney Rhodus and Taylor Robbins – for helping out.