2015-08-08 / Sports

Basketball Camps Provide Great Learning Experiences to Youngsters

By Madeline Ciak

Becoming a better athlete doesn’t happen overnight, but attending a camp with Mike Devlin at the Mackinac Island Public School Monday, August 10, through Thursday, August 13, could give youngsters a good start.

Mr. Devlin, a youth athletic director from Meridian Township, will work with the Island’s youth to introduce them to sports such as basketball, T-ball, soccer, and flag football during the Sporties for Shorties camp that is designed for children ages three to five and will also help kindergarteners through 12th grade students to refine their basketball skills. While Mr. Devlin coaches a wide range of students, seeing all of them smile while they are learning and having fun is what makes his coaching experience on the Island worthwhile.

“Knowing that I’ve been able to develop a relationship with the kids and that I’m teaching them skills that will help them grow as athletes lets me know that I’m doing something good,” he said.

He also enjoys seeing kids return to participate in the camp year after year.

“It’s exciting to see how they’ve grown as athletes from one year to the next,” he said. “There’s nothing better than being a coach and seeing kids improve their skills.”

Instructing children often relies on teaching by example, he said.

“I have to bring myself down to their level, and that means I can’t be afraid to embarrass myself or be goofy. Kids follow by example, and if I end up doing something silly, it becomes a coachable moment and is what helps kids learn. Once they think that they can do something, it clicks with them and then they’re able to perform better and make progress while they’re playing sports. It’s rewarding to see that as a coach,” said Mr. Devlin.

Taking the emphasis off of winning is also a unique aspect of the Sporties for Shorties camp.

“Letting them have fun is the most important thing, and that’s what makes teaching young kids so exciting and effective. If they’re excited about what they’re doing, learning a new skill won’t seem so hard,” he said.

In addition to teaching fundamental skills of flag football and basketball, Mr. Devlin will also be teaching older students about how to work cohesively as a team while playing basketball, and techniques such as dribbling, performing fast breaks, and providing defense during competition.

“I try to help students realize the differing skills levels of each player and to see the goodness in others, because that helps them determine who is able to perform different tasks on the basketball court and helps them play better and develop leadership skills,” said Mr. Devlin.

The Sporties for Shorties camp for ages three to five will take place each day from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. The basketball camp for kindergarteners through sixth grade takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the camp for seventh through 12th graders takes place from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. The cost of the Sporties for Shorties camp is $10, and the cost of the other camps is $15.

Call Mary Patay at (906) 298- 0333 for registration information.

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