Archive for Thursday, July 20, 2006

Weaver’s camp teaches with fun

July 20, 2006

Approximately 50 Baldwin City children are beating the summer heat by sharing laughs with Baker University men's basketball coach Rick Weaver.

The annual basketball camp began Monday at Baker's Collins Center and will finish Friday at noon. The children are learning basketball skills while enjoying themselves.

"We focus on the fundamentals and try to have a little fun," Weaver said. "The Collins Center is air conditioned, which is a big factor. The kids are working hard and I think it's been a pretty good week."

Baldwin City's Chip Kueffer is attending the camp for his first time this summer and is having a blast.

"The camp is very fun so far," Kueffer said. "This is my first year, but it's fun because I get to hang out with my friends."

During the camp, boys and girls heading into grades fourth through ninth are being taught the basic basketball skills, from dribbling to passing and shooting.

Weaver likes to focus his camp on fundamentals, because it is the beginning of basketball for many campers.

"We've got a lot of kids that are getting their first organized basketball experience," Weaver said. "We just try to teach a few basics offensively and defensively. We teach a lot of fundamentals. We try to keep it as simple as possible."

But, of course, with any camp hosted by Weaver, there is always fun involved. The fun times could either be eating popsicles, playing games or participating in contests where prizes are available.

One way Weaver does this is to keep the campers moving and keeping them focused.

"I think at that age, the attention span isn't always really long," Weaver said. "We try to keep things moving and change our drills quite frequently. We mix things up to keep it fun. We have a number of contests and fun-oriented competitive things. The kids have a good time."

Kueffer is definitely having fun and improving his skills.

"The camp has helped me a lot on my game," Kueffer said. "Coach Weaver is helping us have fun while getting better at the same time."

The annual summer camp has been going most of Weaver's 20 years at Baker. In some years, gym conflicts have forced the camp to not run, but most years it has been going strong.

Each year, Weaver has seen approximately 50-60 children attend the camp. This year's numbers were down slightly because of the Heart of America basketball camp running the same week in Salina.

The slight decline in numbers works well for Weaver, because the ratio of campers to coaches is just right.

"It's about the right number," Weaver said. "It gives us about an 8:1 ratio. We've got six stations and six baskets, so that's a pretty good number. If you get too many, you don't get enough individual attention."

The camp keeps Weaver busy all week, but he enjoys watching the children improve and have fun.

"I have a good time with it," Weaver said. "They are an enthusiastic bunch and they are already motivated. Sometimes you've got to calm them down a bit. But they work hard and have a lot of energy."

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