ROCHELLE — Current members of the Rochelle Township High School girls basketball program got a glimpse of the future when the team tipped off its annual youth summer camp Monday afternoon.
Players and coaches worked with fifth-graders through eighth-graders from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. this week, and the program will begin its second session next Monday with first-graders through fourth-graders from 10:30 to 12 p.m. The camp serves to teach young girls in the Rochelle area about the teamwork and dedication to become successful basketball players.
“A lot of the things we’re doing may be new to the girls, but they’re at the age where they’re hungry to be active and have fun,” head coach Tony Rowan said. “It’s a lot of fun for me to be around all the players… We really stress that, if we want fans in the stands, the girls need to build connections. We’re hoping that having high-schoolers at this camp will create a stronger connection with these kids, and that connection will build more excitement for the sport.”
Camp activities include individual instruction in the basic fundamentals of basketball including shooting, dribbling and passing. Advanced campers work on team skills and more refined tasks such as screening, team offense and team defense. The camp teaches players to have a positive attitude on the court, and individual attention is given to each camper, regardless of age or skill level.
“We really try to build a great connection to the sport,” Rowan said. “We try to provide some challenges to the players so they can improve their shooting. We really crack down on shooting form with the older kids, and we want to be sure they have fluid jump shots. We focus on making layups and we teach defensive strategies. We feel that, if kids walk into high school with fluid jumpers and the ability to make layups with both hands, we’ll be ahead of the curve.”