BRADFORD – Bradford’s varsity girls basketball, softball and track and field programs teamed up to host their second annual multi-sport camp for girls in the second through sixth grades.
A total of 22 girls attended the four-day camp during which they learned about some of the sports that are available to them at the junior high and high school levels.
“I guess the best thing is that we’re giving kids a chance to experience some different sports so that they can decide if they like a sport or not,” Bradford girls basketball coach Patrick McKee said. “As a varsity coach it’s fun to come down and work with kids this age. It’s a challenge, but you learn a lot about yourself and a lot about the kids and have a lot of fun with it.”
The teams’ coaches were excited to work together and wanted the girls to know they don’t have to specialize in one sport.
“I’m a big proponent to having all the sports groups, especially these small schools, they need all these kids playing three sports, and it makes them a well-rounded athlete,” Bradford softball coach Shon Shaffer said. “I think this is a great idea.”
The girls seemed to have a lot of fun learning about the sports, and the coaches said they had fun, too.
“I think Bradford is a really close-knit community anyway so Coach McKee did a great job putting this together for us,” Bradford track and field coach Brian Schwieterman said. “We’re all here to support each other, and I think this is a great way to lead by example in that aspect.”
The girls were split into two groups based on their ages. Both groups had an opportunity to learn about each sport every day of the camp.
Along with the varsity coaches, each team had high school athletes help lead the camp.
“What’s awesome for me is the fact that what I’ve taught them they’re out here teaching these kids now, and as a coach that’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experience,” McKee said.
In basketball McKee emphasized ball handling and passing. With the older girls he also worked with them on form shooting.
“If we can get the kids dribbling with their eyes up, protecting the ball, if we can get them to make a pass, different variations of the pass, we’re going to be pretty proud,” he said.
Schwieterman taught the girls about the various events that make up track and field and taught them basics of track such as handing off a baton during a relay race.
“The biggest thing I want them to know is if you come out for track it doesn’t matter if you get first place in any race or you get last place in any race as long as you go out there and do your best that’s all we want and just have fun doing it,” he said.
Shaffer worked with the girls on the basics of softball, but most importantly he simply wanted them to enjoy themselves and develop a love for the game.
“Just to introduce the game of softball to some girls that may not participate in it and make it fun so they want to play it because softball is a fun game to play,” he said.
The coaches hope in the future they can offer even more sports for the kids to experience.
“I would like a couple more sports,” Shaffer 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.