Traditionally summer basketball has consisted of teams getting together for practices and then attending a week-long summer basketball camp on a University campus. These camps are usually very expensive for individuals and more focus is put on competing against other teams.
So, instead of loading up and traveling to a summer basketball camp, Head Coach Paul Childress decided to do something different, and host his first ever team camp. This team camp took place on the LCMS/LCHS campus. 25 players in grades 9-12 attended the overnight week-long camp.
Campers were asked to report Sunday evening, and spent each night in the LCMS cafeteria. According to Coach Childress the purpose of the camp was “to lay a solid foundation in our basketball program for next season. I thought it would be a great opportunity to not only provide a lot of basketball instruction, but also provide a lot of other non-basketball opportunities that would develop the entire student athlete, including the spirit, mind, and body.”
Childress believed he could accomplish and save more by hosting a camp of his own. “We decided not to go to a traditional camp for a few reasons. One, they have become very expensive and most of the camps give very little, if no fundamental instruction and you only play games. I just thought it made more sense to use that time to teach our kids and utilize the resources that we have.”
When asked how he thought the camp went Coach Childress responded “unbelievably well.” “We were able to provide our players with a full day of activities. We kept them pretty active the entire day. We went from 6:30am to 11:00pm each day.” Those activities included conditioning, devotionals, basketball video session, defensive and offensive work, community service, guest speakers, competitions, and movies.
Not only was the camp about basketball but Coach Childress had various other activities for the campers. “Tuesday we took the guys to Feeding America for some community service. That was a great experience. We also had the players get involved in a campus cleanup. Some activities to try and teach the guys to give back.”
Each morning the Hawks were greeted by representatives from the National Guard and/or Marines for physical conditioning and leadership training. After breakfast a time for devotion led by various community leaders including: Bro. John Ford, Bro. Shannon McCubbins, Billy Curle, Dewayne Gibson and Boris Siakam (former player for Childress, and WKU player). Other speakers included Kyle Goodlett- LCHS principal, Jo Newton-LCHS guidance counselor who discussed college admissions, ACT, KEES money, grades, and other academic topics. K.C. Goodin, a former LCHS basketball player and Georgetown College player, spoke to the team about commitment and hard work.
On Wednesday Murray High School, coached by Bart Flenor came in for a practice and latter scrimmaged the Hawks.
Childress believe the camp exceeded the expectations he had. “We really did not know how the guys would respond to such a grueling camp. They were awesome. They worked extremely hard each and every day. We were expecting them to hit a wall about mid-week, but they never did. They were working and competing the last day at a high level. We were able to accomplish so much during the week with our basketball part, implementing our defenses and offenses, as well as a lot of fundamental instruction.”
Typically at a summer team camp the focus is on playing games and time is usually limited to do anything else. “It was great having the extra time to break the little things down to the players, instead of trying to rush through a 2 hour practice just to get ready for games. We were able to evaluate all our players and have a good feel for where they are at skill wise. But even though that aspect was so beneficial, it was great to see this team develop chemistry during the week. Just being together 24 hours of the day, eating, practicing, sleeping in the LCMS cafeteria, watching movies, doing community service, all was such a huge benefit of Bleed Blue Week. I think the players really bonded well. They got to see each other in different settings and began to rely on each other more and more. As a coaching staff, we were just amazed at how well these guys performed during the entire week. I believe this will be something we look back on and see how much this helped our program and hopefully springboard us into next season.”
“I learned a lot of things at this camp such as teamwork, becoming a man, being responsible, and learning a lot about myself” says Freshman Anthony Adkins. “But the most important thing I learned was becoming a better leader.”
Sophomore Phillip French learned “that no matter what we are working through we will always play as a team and be a family.”
Sophomore Bryson Cobb adds, “We learned a lot about integrity and how to be a better man, not just a better basketball player.”
Obviously this type of week could not be pulled off without assistance from many people. Childress adds “Coach Paul Handley was a tremendous asset to the success of this camp. I would like to thank all of the parents who volunteered their time to arrange the meals each day and coming in and serving the team. The food was fantastic all week. I would like to also thank all the businesses and community members who donated their time and money as well. It was unbelievable how many people graciously donated and volunteered to serve.”