Fri, 2015-06-19 05:00 News Staff
High school athletics are year-round now and, in order to stay competitive, student athletes need to compete in off-season programs and camps to hone their skills before joining the junior high and high school ranks - thletes hat don’t begin the competitive process early are typically left behind by their less-talented, harder-working peers. Therefore, it’s vital toa program’s success for athletes to begin their respective sports early. Copperas Cove ead baseball coach Dusty Brittain knows the importance of off-season participation for the future of his program. “I think, in a city like Copperas Cove, you’ve got to find kids at an early age and we have to get the love for aseball,” he said. “If I have a first or second grader that has fun at camp and that makes him love baseball, that’s going to help us in the long run.” Teaching fundamentals early can also boost an athlete’s confidence and give them a better idea of how to compete at the high school level an beyond. “With the older kids, getting to see them at an early age and show them how we do things and taking them through a high schooltype practice, is huge for us,” said Brittain. “We only have a two-day tryout and I’ve played baseball long enough to know I can have two bad days. If you have two bad days in a row, it could affect you where you end up getting cut. Coming to these
camps gives us early eyes on (the athletes) where we can see that you know the game of baseball, you’ve established yourself and you can come to the tryouts relaxed.” Brittain said his numbers continued to grow this year despite inclement weather and he knows that will only help his program as more kids get involved. “My first year, we only had about 30 kids attend,” he said. “It was very disappointing. Last year, it went up to about 45 and this year we had about 60 kids this week and we’re hoping to continue to build on that. I know there are a lot of kids that aren’t here. We’re just trying to get them here and that’s a big part of it.” Cove girls’ head basketball coach, Eldridge McAdams, was also impressed with the larger numbers attending this year’s Lady Dawg Basketball Camp. More than 60 students participated in this year’s camp. “I was surprised with the numbers,” he said. “We’re definitely happy with the numbers. It is definitely up from last year. This year, we tried something different. We separated the little kids from the big kids and had the younger ones work early and the older kids came later.”
McAdams also knows how vital teaching the fundamentals at early age is to be competitive at the highest levels. “I think kids play so much, they don’t take the opportunity to learn the fundamentals,” he said. “You’d be surprised how many kids don’t know how to shoot a right-handed layup right.” McAdams added that students don’t necessarily have to attend the camps to improve their games – but it sure helps. “You definitely have to work on your game and you have to work on the basics,” he said. “Those things you can do at home. You can work on form shooting while you’re watching the television.” He acknowledges that practice is not exactly what garners the attention of athletes - It’s all about the game. The top-tier athletes didn’t just wake up draining 40 percent from the field. It takes work – lots of it. “Playing the game is more fun than working on your craft, but guys like tephen Curry, he shoots 500 shots a day and it pays off,” said McAdams. “You definitely have to work on that. It’s not about just playing a pick-up game, but work on those fundamentals.” Curry was named the MVP of the National Basketball League and led his team to the 2015 NBA title. Brittain was impressed by the 2015 version of Bulldawg Baseball Camp. “I’m impressed with the way the kids acted,” he said. “The kids had a lot of fun and a lot of competition all week and we feel like that’s what makes it fun for the kids.Like Brittain, McAdams saw a lot of good things during the camp that will help his program in the future. “There are definitely a handful that you look at and go, ‘what grade are you in,’” said McAdams. “That’s a good thing – getting to know these kids by name and see what they can do is a good thing.” Brittain concluded camp for the young ones with a slip and slide party at the ball fields on Thursday. The Lady Dawg Volleyball Camp, the NCAA Football Camp and the Power Camps were held last week while the Bulldawg Basketball Camp is set for next week with the QB/WR Camp scheduled for July 14-15, Lady Dawg Softball Camp July 20-23 andthe NFL Football Camps set for August 3-7. Cove is also hosting a summer golf program and summer track program that will run through much of the summer.
For more information on any of these programs or camps call the CCISD athletic annex at 254-547-4111.