A fabulous day at summer camp for team sports and coachingAugust 6, 2015
Today was a great day for playing sports at our brother-sister overnight camp in NH. When we woke up the sun was shining over our lake, and a beautiful fog hovered over it until just after breakfast. By 7:45am there were Evergreen Freshmen getting in some early morning water ski runs before breakfast.
After post-breakfast cleanup everyone was out playing and improving their sports skills. Our Sophomore girls spent a period on the Junior tennis courts working on their volleys and serves.
From there I headed up to the Field of Dreams, where our Senior boys were playing a fantastic game of Football. We are now in the 6th week of our 7-week summer camp season, and all of our campers know that Color War will be starting soon. With that in mind everyone appeared to be working just a bit harder than usual on improving their team sports skills. They want to be ready for the upcoming big event!
These girls were no exception. Soccer Tom was working with them in the Hollow on quick possessions and short passes. In this picture below he actually split the girls into 7 teams of 2, so that everyone needed to work extra closely and carefully with their teammate on moving the ball up and down the field. Great drill, Tom!
After yesterday’s baseball drills on how to properly slide (creatively using a wet tarp in the outfield), Baseball Travis was holding scrimmages with every age of boys today. The Junior Ball Field Baseball Diamond was mighty busy as boys were hitting and fielding.
At the end of each practice he brought the players together to make sure that they debriefed what skills they had worked on, what they had done well, and what they needed to work on more in the future. This is a key part of how we work on our 21st century skills here at camp. Rather than just playing games, our coaches take time at every period to make sure our campers understand both the hard and soft skills that they gained during each clinic.
After lunch I spent a good amount of time watching our Evergreen girls play sports. Tennis Emma was helping our Inter and Junior girls work on their ground strokes, and on when and how to approach the net after returning a serve.
Just a few feet away from the tennis courts there were Inter girls on one of our beach volleyball courts. These girls are really into Newcomb, and are very excited to play for their teams once Color War begins!
Over on the soccer area of the Junior Ball Field our Kenwood Freshmen were also playing soccer. Their coaches were running half-court clinics where each player could only touch the ball once before needing to pass it on to another teammate. Our campers have been working on sports drills like this all summer long. After the clinic coaches Eric and Nicholas gave them very clear praise about how far each of them has come as a soccer player this summer!
The last team sports activity that I saw today was on our Senior Basketball Court. Coach Chris was running one of our campers’ favorite basketball drills. Our boys and assistant coaches stood in a circle around him, and without notice he would either shoot the ball at a player, or fake him out and not throw it. Campers who either flinched or didn’t have their bodies in the proper position to send the ball back at him had to sit down. In rapid succession he would send them the ball, and they would pop it back to him using only their arms (and not lunging forward, as so many novice players do).
It’s a great drill for many reasons, including the fact that just about every camper is enthusiastic about participating. And those who sat only did so few a few seconds, and then a new game would start up again. In the moments when they had to sit down I saw camper after a camper smile and laugh, and then leap up again when it was time to play another round. And each time a camper did have to sit I heard his peers say nothing but words of encouragement.
“Nice try, Roger”
“So close, Marcus”
“I thought you had it this time, Ben”
Over and over again I saw more evidence of how much our campers have grown this summer, both in their sports skills, and in their 21st century skills like compassion, effective communication and resilience. Wherever I went today I saw nothing but good sportsmanship and great effort. It was simply a fabulous day at our overnight camp for team sports and quality coaching.