UNION CITY – Mississinawa Valley started a youth basketball camp this year, which the Blackhawks hope will help their varsity program by making boys more prepared for junior high basketball.
It’s been several years since Mississinawa Valley hosted a youth basketball camp, MV varsity boys basketball coach Tim Barga said.
Barga decided to host a camp this year, hoping its lessons will prepare the youth for junior high basketball. By having players who are more prepared in junior high, they’ll be able to learn more in seventh and eighth grade and thus be more ready for the high school level as freshmen.
“I think it’s going to help the kids going into seventh grade year and eighth grade year,” Barga said. “This way the coaches will be able to do more things with them at the seventh and eighth grade level. We haven’t had too much success with kids coming in as freshmen the last two years. That’s really hurt us an awful lot.”
The camp was split into two sessions with fourth, fifth and sixth graders participating on Monday and Tuesday and seventh and eighth graders participating on Wednesday and Thursday. Almost 20 boys showed up for the fourth, fifth and sixth grade camp and almost 15 signed up for the junior high camp.
“I’m just glad we’ve got this many kids out here,” Barga said.
During the two-day camps, Mississinawa Valley focused on teaching the boys the fundamentals of basketball including shooting, dribbling and passing.
“We want to make sure the kids understand how to hold the ball, proper shooting form, have fun with the game,” Barga said. “We don’t want to discourage kids and not have fun. We have a lot of fun, also.”
Along with Barga, the Blackhawks’ boys basketball coaching staff, high school players, recent graduates and even some parents helped lead the instruction.
“It’s a learning experience for everybody, I think,” Barga said.
The camp was particularly helpful for the incoming freshmen, Barga said. The ninth grade players were paired with older teammates so they also could learn as well while instructing the youth.
“We’re sticking a lot of the guys that are going to be freshmen this year with a couple guys who are like juniors and seniors and stuff like that,” Barga said. “So they’re learning, also.”
Having so many people willing to help is instrumental as the Blackhawks look to continue their winning ways this upcoming season and beyond.
“One person can’t do it all,” Barga said. “It takes a lot of people in the community and a lot of extra help to get a program going.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.