Friday, February 19, 2016


In the time since the end of our season, I've let each girl plan a practice. Today's player/coach was Shelby who chose to start our time together with KNOCKOUT, another term for the title of this piece from June 20, 2006.

Three days to go! Basketball camp is 76% in the book for the summer, concluding this Friday afternoon at 3:45. Both our morning and afternoon sessions this final week are shooting camps where the emphasis is on....shooting. Kids love to shoot the basketball but few do it well. Many don't realize they are poor shooters. (A father one time approached a well-known, crusty old high school coach and told him, "My son doesn't have any confidence in his shot." The coach replied, "He shouldn't have any confidence- he's a terrible shooter!") We break the shot down into very simple parts and teach the kids a method for improving their ability to put the ball in the basket. Shooting camps are fun to coach. They are less physically demanding than other sessions and there is more variety to the teaching. With the kids, we employ repetition, video taping, verbal feedback, and muscle memory to give the campers a chance to be successful. We lower the baskets from ten feet to eight for the little ones so they have the possibility of having the ball go through the cylinder. We chart and evaluate and hope to give potential players the tools to improve this most vital skill in their sport. What do the campers love most about shooting camp? THE GAMES! We have a ton of them; from Four Up to Team Competitive, from Beat Bill Bradley to Hotshots. By far the most popular game with the kids is Gotcha, also known in other gyms as Knockout or See Ya! Gotcha has a straightforward premise. There are two basketballs at the front of a line of players, starting at the free throw stripe. Very simply, if the person behind you makes their shot before you do, you are eliminated. If you make your shot before the shooter behind you, you throw the ball to the next person and go to the end of the line. The process repeats until there is only one shooter remaining. The kids can't get enough of Gotcha. We have a camp-wide contest based on the winners of the individual teams. Sometimes, there are prizes awarded, like New Balance hats or WCS bags. It's pretty exciting!

My pre-lunch team is made up of seven, eight, and nine year olds girls. They are terrific, the odds-on favorite to be selected TEAM OF THE WEEK. As I started the game with my group this morning, one of the girls was knocked out on the first shot. Her reaction was to slam the ball down to the floor instead of tossing it to the next player in line. I was really surprised as she had shown nothing but a sunny disposition up to that point. She is a wonderful girl who won the Camper of the Day award yesterday for ATTITUDE. I called her over and we talked. Well, I talked and she cried. I reminded her of what a good job she had done and how it was unfair to the next player when she failed to put the ball right back into play. She knew. She wanted to succeed so badly that she was frustrated and a little embarrassed. When the game was over, I talked to the girls on our team (THE COMMODORES) about reaching out when you see a teammate struggling. Of course, we had a group hug and it all was OK. The young lady who had been distraught finished the morning tremendously, letting go of her disconsolation and being a encourager to the other girls on the team. Children are amazingly resilient. They have the ability to bounce back quickly and deal with mistakes without dwelling on them. So often, Jesus used illustrations that cast the youngest of society in a positive light. Sometimes we limit what the Savior spoke of in regards to children to only their purity but that is shortsighted. Jesus said we must receive the kingdom like a child and part of the kingdom involves forgiveness. Kids accept forgiveness more readily than adults and my player handled it better than I do. Today, the child was the teacher and never realized it. And I thought camp was just about basketball!

Applicable quote of the day:
"We have a bunch of great outside shooters. Unfortunately, all of our games are played indoors."
Weldon Drew (Basketball coach/ New Mexico State University)

God bless,

Steve / Coach Hawley
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at


JKC said...

Well, I am trying to play catch up with your blogs. I have been gone and am now preparing for another long trip. So, you might not hear from me for a while.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading (backward from this one to the last one shown on this screen). I enjoyed reading about your basketball camp along with the experiences of some of your students. I also enjoyed reading your writings of some of my favorites - Gregory Peck, Roy Orbison, etc.

I pray that you will have a safe trip to see your folks. Your mom will certainly be in my prayers. We will be leaving Saturday for an 8,000 (+/-), 9-week trip which will take us through at least 20 states. Please pray for our safe travels.

Jon said...

Gotcha is the best game ever!!!!!!!!!!!