Thirty minutes after the close of the first day of the Lady Wolverine Basketball Summer Camp, a large smile remained broadly spread across the face of Polk County head coach Brandy Alm.
More than 20 area youngsters spent Monday morning in Polk County High School’s gym, learning basketball fundamentals from Alm, Polk County Middle School’s Stacey Shields and almost a dozen current Polk County players. Shrieks of delight echoed throughout the gym, often from the counselors, as campers rotated through a series of drills and shooting exercises.
“That was a lot of fun,” said Alm. “There was a lot of enthusiasm. It was a good experience for the campers and the counselors.”
Hired earlier this year as Polk County’s new head girls coach after a successful stint at Polk County Middle School, Alm hopes to grow local interest in the sport as well as develop skills with the new camp, which runs through Wednesday. Alm frequently interrupted her talks with campers Monday with shouts that led all present to drop into defensive stances or other fundamental positions. That ties in with her goal for the three-day experience.
“I want them to get a good basic foundation, just the basic fundamentals,” Alm said. “Every day we’re building on the day before. We really want to get them where they need to be for their seasons.
“It’s a lot of basketball IQ, really. For example, I want them to be able to tell the defense, whether it’s a man defense or a zone defense. We’re working on shooting technique and making good passes and knowing the rules. Some of these girls have never played before, so they need to learn the rules. Each day we want to teach first, then we’ll scrimmage. That gives them a starting point that I can talk about with them during games.”
Thanks to the loan of a lower goal from the Polk County Recreation Department, even the youngest of campers can work on learning to shoot and rebound. Alm hopes that work will carry over with that group to the winter season.
“The recreation program lent us a goal so the younger girls could shoot on the same goals they’ll play on during the season,” Alm said.
The camp also offers more bonding time for Alm and her squad, which spent part of last week playing in a summer tournament at Carolina Day. At times Monday it was tough to tell which group, young or old, was having the better morning.
“They were having a lot of fun,” Alm said.