Toot brings in college coaches for BHS boys’ camp
Eric Toot altered his summer camp this year, but was pleased with its results, as well as the progress of his players this summer.
This year marks Toot’s fifth as coach of the Baldwin High School boys’ basketball team. Each summer he’s adjusted his players’ workout and their camp, but this year he tried something completely new.
He held his team camp at the end of last week. The Bulldogs’ camp began Thursday and ended Saturday. Each session lasted from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. However, change in hours and days wasn’t the big adjustment from previous summers.
“We brought in an organization called Midwest Elite Camp,” Toot said. “They brought in three college coaches and they worked exclusively with our kids for five hours a day.”
The college coaches worked on the BHS players’ individual skills during most of the camp. Those skills ranged from shooting to rebounding to defense. After the final day of camp was complete, Toot heard praises from the coaches, as well as his players.
“The camp went great,” Toot said. “I talked to some of the players individually about it, because we’ve never done it like that before. I thought we needed to try something different this summer. We needed to get away from playing games. I wanted to bring in coaches and focus more on individual stuff, which they did.
“The kids really seemed to enjoy it and they bought into it,” he said. “The coaches that were here really praised our kids. They said it was one of the best groups of kids they’ve had and they usually do about 50 camps per summer. I thought that was high praise.”
Besides camp, the Bulldogs are also working out on their own this summer, as well as heading to the gym around three times a week. Toot and his players meet every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday nights for scrimmaging and practices. Toot has averaged around 18 players per session, but has had between 16 and 25 all summer.
The Tuesday and Thursday sessions are much like practices during the
BHS basketball season. Toot said they are structured like the winter season.
“They are just like a practice,” he said. “We focus basically on individual fundamentals, especially a lot on shooting. Then we will scrimmage for about 30 minutes at the end.”
However, the Sunday sessions are mostly used for scrimmaging. Instead of scrimmaging each other, the BHS players are competing against alumni.
“We bring in some older kids to play against,” Toot said. “They are stronger, older and wiser than us. That’s good for the kids, too.”
During the summer, some of the boys’ basketball players are also lifting weights with the football players in the morning and shooting basketballs after weights. A few others are playing on tournament teams this summer.
“We’re asking a lot of our kids,” Toot said. “They are working hard. Some of them are doing football and baseball stuff, too. They have some busy summers. It’s good to see them keeping busy.”
Although he knows his players are busy, Toot also recognizes that the summer is the time for them to improve for the next season.
“As far as a player, I think they can improve tremendously if they take what they’ve been given and use it on a regular basis,” Toot said. “That’s what the college coaches preached to our kids. They said, ‘You guys improved over these three days, but if you don’t touch a basketball until November, these three days were a waste.’ I think we have kids that are going to show tremendous improvement. I’ve already seen improvement in a few of them this summer.
“We’ve had great participation from our younger players,” he said. “I think those kids are working hard to improve and hopefully that can continue for the next two or three years. I’m excited about next season and the ones beyond.”