Improving individual skills
Several Baldwin High School basketball players took the court this week ... against their teammates.
On Monday, the annual Baker University summer basketball league began. BHS entered three girls' and two boys' teams in the league. On Monday and Tuesday, the Bulldogs' teams played each other to begin the summer league.
The BHS girls' upperclassman teams squared off Monday night. Then the two boys' teams faced each other the following night.
"It was fun," senior-to-be Drew Berg said of playing the younger BHS boys' team Tuesday. "I kind of wish we would have played someone else, because we play them all of the time in practice. But, it was fun."
Score is kept in the Baker summer league, but not recorded after the games. Baker women's basketball coach Susan Decker sets up the league every summer during June and early July.
Schools from around the area can compete in the league if they wish to pay the league fee. The league lasts for five weeks and will end July 10 this summer.
Both BHS coaches and players enjoy the opportunity to play basketball so close to home.
"I like it a lot," Berg said. "It's really fun. It's in Baldwin, which is really nice. It's good to get out here with your friends and play basketball again."
BHS boys' coach Eric Toot is just glad Baker provides the opportunity for the teams to play basketball during the summer.
"I think anytime you can get on the court it helps," Toot said. "It's an opportunity for the kids to get out and play against different competition. Our kids are doing a good job of calling each other and playing right now. But, this gives them an opportunity to play against different people."
BHS girls' coach Bob Martin feels the same way Toot does about the league.
"It's good that they get out on the court a lot," Martin said. "It's good for them to get out and play as much as they can during the summer."
Toot said he allows his players to choose whether or not they participate in the league because he knows how busy they are during the summer with other activities or work.
"I leave that totally up to them," Toot said. "They have the opportunity to sign up for the different things that we do during the summer and this is just one of them."
Although basketball is a team sport, both Baldwin coaches agreed the summer is a perfect time for players to improve their personal abilities, instead of working on the team plays.
"The Baker league is a great time to work on individual skills," senior-to-be Zach Durr said. "We just run our free lance offense and it really isolates each player so they can work on their individual game."
Martin said he emphasizes to his players to have fun and improve their own abilities.
"The most important thing is to work on their individual skills," Martin said. "I tell them that and they go out there and work on those stills. In the summer, it's mostly about individual work."
Toot agreed with Martin, adding he tried to add a couple of team offenses at camp last week but the state prevents coaches from working with their players very much during the summer.
"It's mostly free lance," Toot said. "We talked about some stuff in our team camp, but there's not a whole lot I can do as a coach. The state doesn't allow us to. They have to kind of figure it out for themselves and hopefully work on their individual game."
Although the players may be working more on individual skills, Berg says the league helps the team stay together more.
"It helps build chemistry," Berg said. "We have a different team each year and these are the guys we will be playing with all season. So, it definitely helps build team chemistry."
Durr agreed with his teammate.
"I think the Baker league is a good experience for the team," Durr said. "It really helps us to start getting excited about basketball season and learn how to play together."
The girls play in the Baker league on Monday nights while the boys play Tuesdays. All games are played in the BHS gym.
For a schedule of games contact Decker at (785) 594--4542.