It’s never too early for basketball practice.
Joe Schmidt said he wanted to work on his overall game, while Dylan Fields said he was concentrating more on shooting this week at the Seymour Owls boys basketball camp at Seymour Middle School.
Fields, an incoming sixth-grader, is in his third year participating in the Owls basketball camp.
“I’m working on the progression of my shooting,” Fields said. “My ball handling is pretty good. “
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Kyle Clough, head varsity boys basketball coach at Seymour High School, is the camp director.
Nearly 200 students attended the camps this week, Clough said. There are two elementary camps: kindergarten through fourth grade and fifth through eighth grade.
The high school camp takes place early in the mornings.
“With the real younger kids we’re working on the basics of dribbling with their eyes up, making bounce passes and chest passes, and just getting them used to moving with the basketball,” Clough said.
“I think when they’re at that age, kindergarten and first grade they can move or they can dribble. They have a hard time doing both sometimes, so we’ve been working a lot on dribbling and (Tuesday) we worked a little more on shooting.”
The camp offers a fun, constructive atmosphere for the campers.
“With the kids that age it’s more about having fun and keeping them busy and moving, and throwing some competitive atmosphere in there, and just make sure they have a good time before they get out of here,” Clough said.
The younger campers shoot at 8-foot goals, and Clough said those have been helpful to their shooting.
“That was a big purchase for us in the last offseason, purchasing six of those lower goals so they’re not trying to heave it up from their hip the whole time, trying to get it up around the big rim, and it makes those kindergarten and first-grade kids feel like they’re able to score,” the coach said.
“It’s been a nice purchase for us, and they seem to have a good time with it as long as we can keep the bigger kids away from them and as long as we can keep them from dunking on them we’re in good shape.”
Schmidt said this was his first year attending the Owls basketball camp, and he plans on attending the baseball camp later in the summer.
“I’ve been working on my shooting,” he said, adding that he feels confident shooting layups. “Sometimes I can make my free throws. I just like basketball. I just like to have fun playing sports.”
Parker Thompson, an incoming third-grader said this is his third year attending the camp.
“The first year I was horrible at dribbling, and I’ve improved my dribbling,” Thompson said. “I’ve improved my shooting. I shoot both (layups and jump shots). I like basketball.”
Thompson like to participate in a number of sports.
“I play baseball, soccer, and I’m going to play football,” Thompson said. “I play league and travel baseball. I’m just going to go to this camp and baseball camp.”
The third-graders and older shoot at 10-foot goals.
“We work them toward the 10-foot goals because that’s what they compete on in the season,” Clough said. “Really, the program we’ve set up here is pretty consistent, but we just get through some more advanced dribbling moves or some more advanced scoring moves.
“In one case we may be working on a jump-stop layup. The older group we may work on a reverse layup or work on a jump stop and a shot fake. We just build on it, and it’s systematically set up that we can add something every day and kind of put it together by the end of the week.”
Charlie Longmeier, an incoming fifth-grader said his reasons for attending the camp were “to work on my ball handling and become a better shooter.”
With his father (Jason) being head coach of the Seymour girls team, Charlie said liking basketball has come natural for him.
“I’m going to play on a school team, and I play on the Seymour Swish travel team,” he said.
Landon Fritsch is in his third year attending the basketball camp.
“I work on my ball handling and aggressiveness,” Fritsch said. “I like the creativity of basketball, like how creative you have to be to play. I usually play small forward, so I’m kind of everywhere.”
Fritsch said he also will attend an outdoor camp and enjoys being active in sports at home.
Part of the camp focuses on “personal improvement time.”
“We do a lot of the same stuff. We just do it a little quicker; we do it with a defense in some cases,” Clough said.
“Actually, at the end of this camp, with our seventh- and eighth-graders, we start working on our offensive philosophy and what we’d like to do at the high school level so we can familiarize them with that so that they can put that into play at their team camp at Hanover College later on in the summer.”