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Sports camps start for kids

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PABLO –  When you hear the words summer camp, images of camp fires, s’mores and mosquito bites may come to mind. For many of the valley’s youngsters, summer camp brings memories of sweat, tears and sore muscles.

The summer sports camp season is in full swing and many local young athletes have already taken full advantage of opportunities to develop and enhance their athletic skills during the summer break.

Sports camps are developmental camps for boys and girls of all ability levels for a variety of different sports. Campers are taught all aspects of the game with an emphasis on fundamentals and team play, and also learn new drills, designed to improve their overall skillset.

“Summer camps are great opportunity for young athletes to find out if they like or are good at a sport,” Polson High School Athletic Director Jay Krantz said. “I encourage every kid to attend as many camps as they can, turn off their cell phones, get away from the video games and breathe some fresh air.”

One such camp was held in Pablo last week at the Salish Kootenai College Joe McDonald gymnasium, where young ballers ages 4-12 spent two days learning from NBA and LA Laker legend Michael Cooper.

“This is good for the kids,” event organizer Monty Marengo said. 

Cooper, with the help of Lady Griz basketball players Abby Anderson, McKenzie Johnston and Emma Stockholm, taught game fundamentals and “Coop’s five D’s” - determination, dedication, desire, discipline and decision-making to a group of more than 30 campers. 

The focus of this and similar summer camps, is to teach the fundamentals of the game to young athletes while also having a little fun.

“Young kids get a chance to learn new skills, work on their game, gain confidence, meet new coaches and players, be active and healthy, and see if it is a passion or not,” Ronan Maiden basketball head coach Steve Woll said.

Another benefit of attending a sports camp is making new friends. 

“I’ve personally made some great friendships from camps,” Ronan Chief football head coach Matt Detwiler said. “A camp schedule is usually pretty grueling and suffering through that with people you’ve never met is pretty special.”

“Young athletes benefit from going to summer camps by getting to work with their teammates and coaches before the start of the season,” Charlo Viking football head coach Mike Krahn said. “This gives them a jump start on learning the system before the season starts and allows them to come into the season with less apprehension about how they will fit with the team. High school programs benefit from summer camps by being better prepared for the upcoming season and to be able to hit the ground running from the start.”

A wide variety of camps for all different sports offer structured instruction throughout the summer. Check the Montana Summer events calendar and calendar section in the weekly Valley Journal newspaper for more information about sports camp opportunities.


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