GREENVILLE – More than 100 girls ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade attended Greenville’s youth girls basketball camp this week.
The four-day camp, which concludes Thursday, is split into three age groups with sixth through eighth graders having camp for two hours a day, third through fifth graders having camp for 90 minutes and kindergarteners through second graders also having camp for 90 minutes a day.
Of the 103 girls participating in the camp, 100 of them are from Greenville with the others coming from Ansonia and Arcanum.
“The main point that we’re really trying to stress is just to have fun with camp,” Greenville varsity girls basketball coach Rachel Kerns said. “A chance to get out here, learn some new things – maybe we’re good at them, maybe not – but just to have fun with whatever it is we’re trying to do.”
Each of the three sessions is geared toward the skill levels of the campers.
“We talk the fundamentals about everything no matter what group,” Kerns said. “Obviously we progress with each skill that we’re working on.”
The older girls work on a lot of basketball skills they’ll use in junior high games and also play tournaments. The middle group works on fundamentals such as pivoting, bounce passes and catching the ball with their hands. The youngest group focuses on basics such as catching the ball and dribbling.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s a really fun group to have because it’s kind of your break from basketball,” Kerns said of the youngest group. “It’s very, very basic. Just catching, trying to dribble, work on defensive footwork a little bit but it’s just a fun group.”
For all three groups Kerns has been joined by the rest of Greenville’s high school and junior high coaching staffs. Each coach has had moments to lead the entire group.
“Some things I want to do my way, but I think it’s good for them to hear from all of them. I’ve had all of the coaches demonstrate or talk about something at some point,” Kerns said. “We’re one program, and all of us coaches make up this program so we all need to do our part during camp week.”
Along with the coaches, more than 20 high school players also have helped out throughout the week and led much of the instruction.
“They’ve done a great job,” Kerns said. “The first session the first day we had to kind of get into the swing of things, but from that point on it’s been fantastic. Really we have it spelled out so the high school girls do a lot of the instruction and helping out with the different stations. I like it because really the campers have more fun interacting with them than they do us coaches.”
Throughout the camp the girls have shown a lot of progress, Kerns said.
“Some of them you can tell they’ve gone home and they’ve worked on some of the things we’ve done because they want to come in and show us,” she said. “They also learn because they want to do better than the person beside them. The thing I think I’m most pleased with is the eagerness and the willingness for them to learn.”
To push the girls to strive to be their best, the camp includes awards for skills such as dribbling contests and intangibles such as hustle.
“I like to do the trophies and the awards because I like to get them competitive, and that’s really helps bring out the competitiveness, especially in the older groups,” Kerns said.
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.