Coaches hold summer sports camps
Two girls face off in one- on- one drills at girls basketball camp. (Koster Kennard/ City Journals)
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In the first week of their summer break, Brighton’s girls volleyball and basketball programs ran their summer camps.
The basketball camp was a smaller affair with only a handful of girls each day, while the volleyball camp had over 20 girls attend.
“I don’t know how many girls I’ll have in the program (this coming year),” said head girls basketball coach Jim Gresh. “Camp is pretty small, though.”
Sophomore small forward River Utley said she likes having a smaller group because it gives the coaches more time to work with them individually.
“We don’t have that many girls this time — like there were six girls today,” said Utley after their Tuesday session of camp.
“We have learned a lot more because it’s more one-on-one,” said freshmen Lilly Cheatahm. “It’s smaller so you can feel like you’re learning more about it and you’re getting more of idea of how you should do it in a game.”
Both camps were right around their typical size, though they vary from year to year.
Head volleyball coach Adam Fernandez said this year’s crop of camp goers had more eighth- and ninth-graders than usual.
“A lot of times, it just ends up being my returning girls, but this year, we’ve got a ton of girls that are going into ninth grade and we’ve got five or six who are going into eighth grade.”
Fernandez said that having younger girls come out is good for the program and the girls.
“We can kind of introduce them to Brighton volleyball at an early age and kind of let them know what they can expect when they get to high school,” Fernandez said.
Assistant volleyball coach Paula Mitchell said they had a lot more players than usual who have played club volleyball before.
“It’s not like you’re having to teach them all the basics, which is fun too, but most of the girls are at a fairly higher level so we can all play together and get some good touches and experiences and more game-like experiences rather than doing mostly drills,” Mitchell said.
In May, Brighton volleyball held a camp for girls from fourth to seventh grade.
“For this week-long camp, it’s just too much for the younger kids so we just try and limit this to girls who are already playing either competitive ball or those who are old enough to play in high school.”
Each day of Brighton’s high school volleyball camp starts with a couple of skills, followed by drills to incorporate those skills.
Fernandez said one goal of the camp is to get to know the girls before they come in for tryouts in August.
“It’s nice that there’s young ones because those are the ones that we don’t know,” Fernandez said. “We always have a pretty good idea of returning girls, but it’s nice to get to know the younger girls.”
Fernandez said volleyball, like anything, requires practice to master.
“The more you do it the better you’re going to get,” Fernandez said. “So the more chance we get to play, we’re going to get tons of volleyball in the fall, and a lot of these girls play club through the winter and spring, but we can get a few more touches in the summer before everyone goes off on vacation.”
“It’s nice to kind of tell them and show them what kind of program we run and they have an idea of what they’re going to be doing if they play on the team in the fall,” said Fernandez.
Fernandez said he invites anyone to come out and watch the team, including Corinne Larsen, who has committed to play at Utah State in 2018.
Gresh said the goal of his camp is to teach the girls basic basketball skills like shooting, ball handling, passing, setting screens and playing defense.
“It’s always good to go over the basics again and again, and so it’s helped me work with my shooting and I think defense is something that is always good to know how to work on,” said sophomore point guard Chloe Norscth.
Though the camp is a high school basketball camp, Gresh said the camp was for anyone who wanted to come. This year’s group of campers even had a sixth-grader.
“I had it mostly for older kids from ninth to twelfth grade, but if younger girls wanted to come they could come,” Gresh said. “They don’t have to be on the team or anything.”
Sophomore wing Tessa Hopkin said she enjoyed scrimmaging after they went through individual drills.
Cheatahm found that she was able to put the skills she learned into practice when they scrimmaged each day.
Hopkin said she liked seeing old friends and making new ones at the camp.
“I like it challenges me and it keeps me physically fit, but (I) also (like) learning the game and (it’s) just another thing that I can learn and get better at,” Cheatahm said.
“It’s just fun to work with these girls and see if I can teach them some things about basketball,” Gresh said.
Mitchell said their campers are consistently excited to play the game.
“It’s so great these kids just have a love for the game, and it’s just great to see their enthusiasm and every year we just get a bunch of kids who are enthusiastic and excited to be here,” said Mitchell.