Sports Basketball

Barrie basketball camp will allow you to take your game to the Next Level

By Stephen Sweet, Special to Postmedia Network

To be the best, you need to put in the effort and get the right kind of coaching.

Next Level Hoops can help you with the second part.

The Barrie-area basketball program, which is now entering its fifth summer, is taking in boys and girls that will be entering Grade 3-10 for their week-long camps at Georgian College.

“We’ve dropped it down (an age) to have more younger kids in it and to get them involved earlier,” said director Scott Seeley.

The kids are separated based on their age and skill level, and take part in a number of engaging games, competitions, and circuits designed to teach them how to play and improve at basketball.

“At that age, it’s about making it fun and a positive environment to get them to enjoy the sport,” Seeley said. “If they’re not enjoying it, they won’t want to come back to the gym.

“We do push them, and it’s all basketball, but we play and have fun within that competitive environment.”

Working predominantly with younger kids, the idea is to instil a love of the game from an early age.

“We offer all-day basketball and we expose them to lots of different skills they need to have, and within that, it’s fun, positive and high-energy,” Seeley said. “The goal is to hopefully make it a good experience so that when the week is over, they want to keep playing.”

Seeley, who also coached the Barrie Royals JUEL (Junior Elite) girls team this past year, is one of five camp directors at Next Level Hoops, and all of them have played at least CIS basketball.

But they will also have camp staff there, like NCAA Division-I players Megan Smith and Kaili Lukan, as well as National Cadet Team member Mikaela Brewer, to interact more directly with the kids.

“We have ourselves, that can still go out there and show kids all of the skills and drills that we do, but we also have role models from our area that are currently in the spot that those kids might aspire to,” Seeley said. “At that age, they may not yet understand what NCAA or CIS is, but they know that kid is good.

“They see that it’s someone from Barrie that’s playing basketball well and want to play like them.”

The five directors come in with a pedigree in both basketball and education, as they are all teachers.

“I think it’s unique in the sense that we’ve all played, and we’re also current teachers, so we have a balance of understanding how to go about teaching, giving them proper feedback, and motivating them,” Seeley said. “So a lot of the things you learn as a teacher relate to basketball.

“At the end of the day, being a coach is a lot like being a teacher,” Seeley added. “You’re trying to motivate, find ways to excite players, find different methods to use to get across your message to those kids.”

This year, Kyle Julius, a former men’s National Team player and the current coach of the National Basketball League’s Mississauga Power, will visit the Next Level Hoops during both sessions as a special guest to teach a few skills to the campers.

Along with the camp, Next Level Hoops runs weekly training programs during the summer for older kids looking to improve going into their next season of high-school basketball.

Both programs have grown steadily since the camp began five years ago.

“We started (our first year) with one week of boys only, at 25-30 kids, and now, we expect to sell out both of our weeks at 75-80 kids per week,” Seeley said.

The boys-only session will run from July 27-31, while the co-ed week takes place from August 3-7, with both happening at Georgian College.

To register or for more information on their programs, you can visit them online at www.nextlevelhoops.ca.

Twitter.com/stephen_sweet



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