Camps shows kids the basics

Camps shows kids the basics
July 20
05:00 2017

During the summer months, many parents scramble to find something to occupy their children’s time besides the television or video games.  There are camps and clinics all across the city, but some parents may not have the disposable income to send their kids. 

Brian Leak of the Carl H. Russell Sr. Community Center created a basketball camp to alleviate the financial worries of parents looking to involve their kids in constructive activities.

According to Leak, he developed the program while he was employed at the 14th Street Community Center.  Once he began working at Carl Russell four years ago, he brought the program along with him.  The camp works in conjunction with the summer youth basketball league at Carl Russell.  The camp is primarily used to develop the summer basketball league. 

The camp is free, except for the $20 to pay for T-shirts and trophies. 

Leak says he is holding the camp this year in honor of Winston-Salem legend Hansel Hentz because Hentz taught him as a youth at the 14th Street Community Center.  Hentz passed away Nov. 24 of last year.

“The camp was really started because I knew a lot of kids could not afford to go to those camps that charged a lot of money,” Leak said.  “So what I did was develop a camp with a league to make it affordable to kids who could not pay to go to an expensive camp.”

During the camp, the kids work on a number of fundamental skills in the game of basketball.  Ball handling, shooting and defensive drills are all incorporated into the camp.  Leak says the camp has really helped progress the quality of play during league games on Tuesday and Thursday’s.

“First of all, we work on something called B.E.E.F.,” Leak continued.  “That stands for balance, elbow, eyes and follow through, which gives the kids something to remember while they are shooting.  We also work on a lot of defensive drills like the different zone defenses and the positioning within them.

“It is very important for kids to learn the fundamentals at a young age.  I know everyone sees the fancy dribbling between the legs, but we are trying to keep it simple.”

The kids in the camp range from ages 5-13 and it runs the entire summer.  Leak says he has some older kids that have been through the camp before come back to continue with the drills along with assisting him with the kids by setting a good example.

For Leak he thinks the biggest benefit for the kids is that they have a place to go every day to work on their skills.  He also says it keeps them off of the streets, where there is a possibility of getting into trouble.

Leak says that he accepts kids all throughout the summer because he doesn’t like to turn anyone away.  He said he knows the benefit the camp can have on a young person, so he will allow kids to come in at any point.

Leak says he just enjoys seeing the kids excited about learning new skills in the game of basketball.  He says many little kids watch the NBA on television and see the incredible things the players are capable of and don’t realize they have to learn the fundamentals first before trying to improve their skill set.

“I really enjoy the growth of the kids throughout the camp the most,” he said.  “I like seeing them at a young age and seeing them grow up in the camp and seeing them prosper from it.  A lot of the kids say they like the structure because they realize they aren’t Michael Jordan.  Now they are realizing they have to put in work to become better.  I like to show them things that can make their game stronger.”

For parents looking for more information on the camp, call the Carl H. Russell Sr. Community Center at 336-727-2580 and ask for Brian Leak or Ben Piggott.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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