BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE: Seymour offers boys basketball camp


For The Tribune

Seth Montgomery said the reason he attended the Seymour Owls boys basketball camp last week was to learn a lot about basketball.

“I’m really trying to focus on shooting,” he said.

Montgomery, who will be a seventh-grader at Seymour Middle School, said this is the second year he attended the basketball camp.

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“I like to shoot layups,” he said. “I’m having fun, and I like working with other people.”

Tyler Phillips, camp director and head boys basketball coach at Seymour High School, said about 70 boys from kindergarten through eighth grade attended the camp.

“The youngest groups, we just want them to have some fun,” he said. “If they learn something during the week, that’s a bonus. We really just want them to be interested, be engaged and have a good time. We really try to get them interested in basketball.”

Phillips said the kindergarten and first-grade group uses 8-foot goals, while second and third grades are on 9-foot goals, and fourth and fifth grades use 10-foot goals.

“We want to create positive habits,” he said. “Habits are going to be made one way or another, so we want to make sure they are positive. If you start kids real young on a bigger goal, they’re going to start heaving it from the hip and their form is going to be messed up, then we’ve got to try to fix it, so we want to try to create it right as we go.”

There were 3-foot hoops attached to the walls in the gym at SMS to be used for passing drills.

“The hoops idea, we actually stole that from coach (Jason) Longmeier,” Phillips said. “That was his idea, so we thought we would try that. We’re always open to new ideas, anything we think the kids will enjoy and they will have a good time. This year has been more competition and game-oriented than last year from that standpoint. We just want the kids to have a good time and want them to want to come back.”

Another drill involved two campers, one laying on his back and passing the ball up to another camper who caught the ball.

“That was for form shooting, trying to create their form right from the word ‘go,’ just trying to get them to understand where the ball goes in your hand, flip your wrist, just get them a chance to see what the ball should look like when it is spinning,” Phillips said. “Again, we’re just trying to create their right habits early so we don’t have to fix them later.”

The younger campers also play with a smaller basketball than the older groups.

“The middle school camp, we’ll use the big ball,” Phillips said. “Middle school camp is more practice-oriented than it is camp. We go an hour and a half with them, and it looks more like a practice.”

Tyler Pray of the Seymour Middle School staff and high school players helped at the camp.

“That’s a requirement of the high school kids,” Phillips said. “They have to help work these camps in the summer. Our rule is if you don’t come to camp, you don’t come to open gym in the evenings. In order to come to their own practices, they have to be here. This is a good way to kick off their summer. We had great participation. I’m happy with all the kids that came out.”

Nate Fritsch said this is the third year he has attended the camp. He will be a fifth-grader at Cortland Elementary School.

“I like shooting,” he said. “I like everything about basketball.”

Fritsch said he also plans to attend the baseball camp and is playing league and travel ball baseball.

Montgomery said he also plans to attend the football camp and plans to play football and basketball at Seymour Middle School this coming school year. He said he is spending his summer playing baseball and going to camps.

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