The Evolution of Basketball Camp
The YMCA institutions in the US first understood the significance of imparting physical education to young boys to help in their overall development. They also found that YMCAs that had introduced sports to their program did well. Therefore, YMCA gave physical education an important recognition alongside spiritual and intellectual activities that was introduced by Dr. Luther Gulick, YMCA International Training School in Massachusetts, USA. This was adopted in 1891 when Dr. Naismith introduced indoor basketball to the “unruly” YMCA students to keep them occupied and beat the harsh winter condition. The YMCA graduates traveled widely and as the sport became popular, it encouraged the idea of basketball camps.
The number of players in 1900 was limited to just 5 players. In 1966, Howard Garfinkel and Will Klein formed the Five-Star Basketball at Camp Orin Sekwa, New York. The thought behind the camp was to provide high school players a chance to develop their skills before the season and gain opportunity in the competition. Soon the word spread about the camp and players from across the country started attending camps in New York. The boys wanted to improve their skills from the best coaches and play against the nation’s best flair. The camp also became the perfect place for young coaches to perfect their skill and learn from the cream of the crop teachers such as Brown and Daly. Coaches such as Bobby Knight, John Calipari, used the camp as a medium to augment their knowledge of the game.
Professional Basketball Coaching
With Pete Newell, a new era started in the history of basketball camp. After coaching the gold-winning U.S. team at the Summer Olympics in 1960, he announced his retirement. He started his instructional basketball camp in 1976 and was a mentor and a scout for NBA teams. The concept of the camp spread when it was found that Newell was working with Kermit Washington. Watching Washington’s improved game, many other players wanted to work with Newell, which made him start a camp.
Known as the America’s Basketball Guru, Newell called his annually held camp as ‘Big Man Camp.’ He was able to attract players because of his great footwork. The camp was seen as a standard place to go to for all the players coming out of college. It is said that, ‘Since the time the camp opened, every person wanted to spend at least one week of their summer trying to get closer to Pete.’
There are various basketball camps held today with the intention of helping players focus on their footwork and learn basic fundamentals and at the same time improving their defense skills.