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Basketball camp held for Johnson County girls age six and up

The first annual Lady Longhorn Girls Basketball Camp was recently held at Johnson County High School. Girls ages six and up who were interested in improving their basketball skills spent three days with members of the Lady Longhorn basketball team and Head Coach Todd Whittemore, learning various techniques and drills to help them become better players.
As Whittemore quickly pointed out, the camp was not all about hard work. “First of all you’ve got to try to make it fun. The object is to teach them as much as you possibly can but at the same time allow them to enjoy themselves. They are kids and its summertime. This isn’t practice, this is camp and there is a difference. A couple of years ago I got the idea of giving out freeze pops to everybody at the end of camp and its unbelievable how happy those kids are with something as simple as a freeze pop. That puts a smile on their face after a couple hours of camp and hopefully gets them excited about coming back the next day,“ he said.
Having held similar camps at Volunteer High School in Church Hill, TN for 11 years, Whittemore was more than up to the task of providing suitable exercises for such a broad range of ages and experience levels. “We do some things within their own grades and then we do other things like relay races and five on five where every team has a youngest to oldest player. In that way, when they play against each other they are matching up. No matter whether its when they race each other in the relay races, or when we work on ball handling, team work, hustle, and communication everything is always fair. If you send a six year old to this camp, you don’t have to worry about that six year old playing against a 14 year old,” he said.
The girls arrived at the gym each morning at 9 and remained until 11:30. With such a limited time frame, Whittemore utilized a mixed regimen that allowed the campers to pair off and practice against each other as well as work together with some help from members of the actual Lady Longhorn basketball team. Porschia Suggs, Kristen Roark, Brooke Brown, Brionna Reece, Brandy Dugger, Gianna Lay, and Dawn Lewis all dedicated their time and effort in acting as mentors and coaches for the younger girls. As a result the campers got to work and learn right alongside the same girls they come to watch play in actual games.
At the end of each day every camper was given a practice plan of what they worked on that day in the hopes that each of the girls would then go on to use the techniques and drills they learned at the camp to practice on their own and eventually become better players. Even more importantly, the camp gives Whittemore the opportunity to start working with the girls early on, helping to develop a good working relationship and a head start on improving their skills before they even enter high school.