Lessons for summer camp: How to score

Focus on effort

Last week, First Easy Pass shared the above quote from Coach K. It took off on Facebook, with over 16,000 views, 350+ likes and 160 shares. Aside from making me further appreciate the basketball community we’re cultivating, it also reiterates Coach K’s influence. At his level of experience and expertise, he provides  an extraordinary amount of credibility to the notion of playing hard all the time. If someone at his level — someone who has coached some of the most talented guys in the industry — still expects his players to give 110 percent all the time, we should probably follow suit!

As coaches, we know that effort cannot be taught. However, it can and should be rewarded! The old phrase, “what gets rewarded gets done,” applies to all areas of life. Challenge your players to give their all; the reward is the gratification that comes from playing with confidence. A player that has put in the required time and effort to improve will undoubtedly be more comfortable come gametime.

Developing life skills should be the major emphasis of every coach. There is nothing wrong with winning and celebrating positive end results, just make sure you share examples of the behaviors you are trying to teach on a daily basis.

Lessons for basketball summer camps

Summer basketball camps are a perfect time to teach those on- and off-the-court behaviors. Nothing excites me more than working with young players and seeing their development over a few days of drills and games. Over my 30+ years of working at camps, I’ve developed a few go-to techniques to help players better understand the game.

The following techniques have worked for a lifetime on courts and gyms throughout the world. Team offense can really be this simple during a camp week.

Give them these 4 rules and emphasize them all week long:

  1. Pass and cut: The easiest way to score is not to dribble side-to-side and try to get by your defender. The simplest way to score in camp and in most games is to pass the ball to the wing from the top and cut to the basket. The only way you will not be wide open is if your other teammates go chase the ball and clog the lane! Pass and cut, or the “old school” give and go, works almost all the time.
  2. Pass and screen: Another easy way to score is to pass and screen/pick away. Don’t go screen the ball. Again, pass the ball to the wing, but this time go screen the opposite wing. After your teammate clears out on his cut, roll to the basket. You will be wide open and available to make the easy layup.
  3. Do not chase the ball: Save your time and energy!
  4. Express gratitude: Make sure to thank the passer after a score. You can’t win the game alone!

Basketball skills and life lessons are the perfect match for summer camps!