One word that was stressed at the opening day of the Damon Bailey Basketball Camp was fundamentals. Fifty eager hoopsters descended upon McAnally Center Friday ready to receive instruction from the state's all-time leading scorer.
"Overall, I was happy with it and the kids worked pretty hard. It's a real good group of kids as far as paying attention, which obviously makes our job a lot easier," Bailey commented.
Any coach will tell you fundamentals are key to a solid basketball player and Bailey reiterated that Friday. After the first day of camp, he spoke of how fundamentals seem to be something that young players are neglecting.
"I think it's definitely being overlooked," he said. "I think that's the tough thing with putting a camp on, you've got to have a balance of what the kids should be doing in camp and should be learning and also what the kids want to do. Obviously we have to make it as fun as we can and continue to try to teach the kids different fundamentals."
Another challenge for any camp is to offer quality training for all ability levels. Bailey and his staff make sure that every player receives what they need to improve their game.
"There's such a wide range of ability levels and you might want to get into certain things with a kid or a group of kids, but then the next group might not be ready for that yet. Again, that makes it more challenging," Bailey said. "I think this year's group that we have is a great group as far as really paying attention and playing hard and trying to do what we ask them to do. Some of the things they can do and some of the things they can't, but they're all giving an effort and it's been enjoyable so far."
The camp coming to Greencastle was a result of Bailey speaking at the Greencastle Chamber of Commerce years ago. After the dinner, Bailey was approached with the idea of bringing his camp to the community and he was happy to oblige.
"Tammy (Amor) called and wanted me to come and speak at the annual dinner the Chamber puts on, so I came and spoke at it several years ago," he recalled. "We got to talking with a number of people about what I was doing and that type of thing, camps was something that was brought up. People said why don't you have one here in Greencastle, so we started working with Tammy and that's how it got started."
Regarding Amor, Bailey was more than complimentary. He spoke of how she's done an excellent job of helping the camp along as well as the support of sponsors such as Parke County REMC, Dixie Chopper and Mill Pond. He also acknowledged the support of the coaches and athletic director at Greencastle.
"It's definitely a place we enjoy being," he said of Greencastle.
When asked about the camp returning next year, Bailey said it was up in the air because everything is a year-to-year basis. He also acknowledged a decrease in the number of camps provided this season, downsizing from 12 to five, due to family obligations. But again, he praised Greencastle for providing a productive environment for the camp.
"I've really cut back on the camps that I'm having and Greencastle is one that we chose to do this year. Again, it's always been a great place for us and everybody that we've worked with has always been really good to us, so we hope to be back."