Copperas Cove head girls basketball coach Eldridge McAdams is entering his 16th season in the profession.
Despite beginning just his second season with the Lady Bulldawgs, McAdams is familiar with conducting offseason camps and values the time to teach the basic skills of the game.
The annual Lady Dawg Basketball Camp concluded Thursday after seeing in increase in participation from 2013, and Herald reporter Clay Whittington recently spoke with McAdams about the experience.
So what is it like trying to control an entire gym full of little kids for four hours a day?
We try to keep it organized as much as we can, but I am really pleased with the outcome and the amount of younger kids we have coming in whose parents are showing an interest in trying to get them some skills at a young age. I’m really pleased with some of the younger kids, talking about kindergarten through third or fourth grade, who have some skills that make me smile.
How many kids did you have out here?
I know it is 60-plus, which is a whole lot more than we had last year. We’re looking at 20 or more kids than we had last year, which is good. I came in late last year and had a late start on getting it advertised and all that, so we are pleased with the numbers.
Did they seem like they were having fun?
I think so. At basketball camp, I want to focus on a lot of skills. That’s my deal. I’m not putting anyone down, but at some camps, kids just go in there and play. At this camp, we want to focus on a lot of skills during the first couple of days, and then over the next couple of days, we get into the scrimmaging and different things. But I want to focus on skills and work with that.
Is there something it all builds up to?
They all understand that we play games on the last day. So on Tuesday, we put in some full-court stuff and then add some more action as we build up to that last day of playing and different things like that. Last year, we had a lot of older kids, but this year, we have more of that middle age group, so those kids really look forward to it building up. We get into more intensity things, like the shooting drills. They love shooting drills and anything that lets them shoot. So they understand that we are going to build up, build up, build up and then on that last day, we’ll have a lot of full- fledge getting up and down the court.
How important is it for the kids to have this opportunity to get to interact with their potential future coaches?
When you introduce yourself, it gives people a chance to put a name with a face, and then it helps during the year because now they know me as Coach. Who knows? Maybe they’ll say, “Lets go watch some girls basketball, some Lady Dawg basketball.” So, I think it is real important for not just the kids, but for us as coaches to get a chance to meet these parents and these kids and put a name with a face. That is real important.
Former player Brittany Gamble was out helping you during the camp. How neat is it to have former players want to give back to the program?
She actually just came up and volunteered. At first, I didn’t know the number of kids we would have, but she showed up and volunteered. She was just here on Monday morning and said she was coming anyway, so once she was here, I said, “Go to work.” That was good, and I’m sure if I would have called other players, they would have come, but not knowing the numbers, I couldn’t.
I think it is good for the program. It is just a pat on the back for the program, and like I said, I know if I would have gotten on the phone and called all my seniors, they would have showed up, but we just didn’t have enough kids to necessitate doing that. But having that opportunity to help and to teach, that is what this is all about.
I know this is a lot of work, but is camp kind of refreshing compared to the rest of the year, when basketball is serious business?
It is a chance to relax, but at the same time it is a lot of work, and we enjoy it.