COPPERAS COVE — Eldridge McAdams was exhausted.
Despite spending 15 years coaching high school athletics, he was not prepared for a morning spent instructing a group of more than 60 young girls. By the time opening day of the Lady Dawg Basketball Camp concluded, Copperas Cove’s head girls basketball coach was completely drained.
“I was wore out,” McAdams said. “I went home, and I took a long nap because I was working. I’m involved. I’m not just standing back. I’m out there doing everything with them and showing them.
“It’s fun, and it’s enjoyable, but I was wore out.”
At this time last year, McAdams had little time to be tired. Having just arrived at Copperas Cove, he was unable to properly advertise the camp as he acclimated to his new surroundings after transferring from a one-season stint at A&M Consolidated.
With time to better prepare, however, this year’s camp grew by approximately 20 kids from a year ago and, equally important as the rise in participation, McAdams is seeing an increase in enthusiasm.
“I had a couple of parents come tell me that they were running a little late, and their daughters were like, ‘Hurry up, we’ve got to get there,’” he said. “Another parent told me their daughter was excited and happy because I gave her some compliments on how she was doing. So I think they are having a lot of fun.”
The annual camp for incoming kindergarteners through ninth-graders runs through Thursday, and while McAdams wants all the kids to have fun, he also wants them to leave with a grasp on the fundamentals of the game.
Each day consists of numerous drills and activities meant to teach basic skills like shooting, dribbling and passing, with each day working toward what each camper ultimately wants — to run up and down the court.
“They like the skills part, but they all want to get in and play,” McAdams said. “On Tuesday, we put in some full-court stuff, and then we will add some action as we build up to the last day.”
The campers are separated into two groups with children in kindergarten through third grade attending a daily two-hour session, while older kids continue for an additional two hours.
While the scene inside Bulldawg Gymnasium can look frenzied at times, the lessons are always structured.
“We try to keep it organized, but at the same time, there are kids everywhere,” McAdams said. “So I guess it could be called organized chaos.”
Regardless, McAdams is seeing progression.
“There are some kids in the younger grades that have some skills,” he said. “That makes you smile as a coach because you know you’ve got that coming.”
Along with being an opportunity to have fun and teach the game, McAdams said it is also a chance to familiarize himself with potential future players and survey the outlook of his program.
“It benefits us as coaches, but at the same time, it benefits the kids and parents as well,” he said. “I’m not a legend here, so some of them don’t even know who the coach is.”
Although running the camp can be exhausting, in the end, it is all worth it to McAdams.
“I look forward to this time every year,” he said. “Through all my years of coaching, I’ve always loved camp because you know it is an opportunity for you to give back, help kids and do things that will only benefit you in the long run as a coach.”