(This is part 12 of a 35 part Camp Tour. Check out the rest of the tour here)
The third day of camp is usually the toughest for campers and coaches. Everyone has sore bodies and tired legs but there is little time to rest. It is about staying focused and getting better in the allotted time. To keep the players in my age group active, I changed up my station. We played 3 on 3, only allowing 3 dribbles while encouraging players to screen away from the ball. My day was made at around 11am when a player on an opposing team complimented my station. He said my team is the only one that runs an organized offense. I explained to him that it’s not really an offense but I rather coach my players to move without the ball and when they do get it, to keep the ball “hot”. This means to keep the ball moving, rather than being in the possession of one player for an extended period of time.
I know this will surprise many of the everyday readers, but 5 on 5 games were played today. The win total tripled as the 2-3 Hawks moved to 6-3 after winning all four games. It was very rewarding to watch my campers space the floor while screening away from the ball. It can be a challenging task as many kids have never been taught that before, but when the ball starts moving and you get layup after layup, the kids can see what works. With Championship Thursday being tomorrow, my team went from “pretenders” to “contenders” quickly. We’ll see how things shape out when the lights come on.
Today was my favorite day of the summer so far simply because of what happened after camp. The Memphis staff conducts “power hour” open to all high school kids, whether they participate in camp or not. For a minimal charge, players can get a college level workout with a college staff. As I told Coach Pastner, it’s a no-brainer! I don’t understand why there were only 20 participants for the first hour and 13 for the second hour. The players went through drills that the Memphis players do in a regular workout.
It worked in my favor that most of the Memphis basketball managers weren’t able to stick around and help for these workouts. Instead of watching practice and taking notes like I did yesterday, the coaching staff allowed me to be on the floor and help out. At first, I was a bit timid stepping onto another floor and coach so I did what was asked and kept all comments to myself. In the second workout, one of the coaches told me to get on the floor and “coach ’em up”. I had a ton of fun out there as I was helping the players get better. My highlight came when I told one of the players something to improve on and Coach Pastner echoed it immediately after.
I want to close this blog talking about Coach Pastner. As one of the staff members said, he’s the only coach in America that would be putting in his time with this group. Obviously they weren’t bringing in big money by putting on these clinics. I know one other coach who happens to reside in Jacksonville that would be out there as well but they were right;, the vast majority of head coaches would not be spending their valuable time with high school players that have little or no chance of playing at the highest of levels. I was incredibly impressed with how engaged Coach Pastner got with both the players and me. He is extremely personable and a great teacher of the game. He also recommended a pretty good place to eat.
Sorry, had to mention this… So everyone from Coach Pastner to the last member of the support staff was absolutely raving about Gus’s Fried Chicken. They wouldn’t stop saying how delicious the food is and that I must check it out before leaving town. Apparently they were somehow underselling it, although I don’t think that was possible. I told them that if I didn’t like it, I wasn’t going to camp tomorrow. Let’s just say I will be at camp tomorrow.