CRESTVIEW — While basketball season is five months away, summertime allows players to fine-tune their game.
Seven young women took the opportunity to learn from Shoal River Middle School boys basketball coach Mitch Buckelew during the week’s girls basketball camp at Twin Hills Park.
"We've had a good week," Buckelew said of the Crestview Parks and Recreation Department-sponsored camp. "We have several of the girls that have been back to camp for their second or third year. And we've got some new girls out, so we are glad to have them out.”
Buckelew taught players proper ball-handling skills when dribbling, along with how to deliver and receive a pass, how to box out for rebounds and proper shooting form.
When players return to the camp from one year to the next, it makes Buckelew's job easier and allows him to teach additional skills they can incorporate into their games.
"It's the little things you work on — the layups, dribbling with the left hand, where you work on dribbling behind the back or maybe you work on a blocked shot drill," he said. “You see them pick it up a little bit quicker because they've already done it."
Attending a camp especially benefits kids who have not played organized basketball if they are thinking about joining a team.
"I think it's real important because what it does is it gets them to learn how to play the game and how they can better themselves," he said. "Unfortunately, they can't learn the game and get better at the game just by playing. You have to work on the little points of the game to get better.
"It's like I tell our kids at Shoal River: If they get better, they have a chance to play at the next level, but if they don't, they are not going to be able to.
"I think that's how (the camp) helps them. So when they go to middle school or high school, they have a better chance of making the team."
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.