LAURINBURG — St. Andrews women’s basketball head coach Yvette Sparks plans to use her team’s three summer camps as a way to give back to the community.
“We have put together an outstanding team of accomplished, intelligent young ladies that I would like the community to get to know,” Sparks said. “These camps are a needed resource in the county on how to become a better basketball player to move all of the local programs forward.”
The Lady Knights first camp is June 10-13 for girls in fourth grade and up and is considered a fundamental camp. The camp is an overnight camp, but Sparks says local parents can pick their children up at the end of the day if they want.
Players will be divided by age and skill level.
“We don’t want anyone to feel like a fish out of water at any time,” she said.
Sparks said in her three years of coaching at St. Andrews the fundamental camp is the smallest with between 10-15 participants and is a camp she wants to grow.
“We want to empower kids because skill development takes play during the offseason and team unity occurs during the season,” she said.
The fundamental camp has a hidden advantage for Sparks because it forces her players to rethink how they play the game, in order to show the younger children how to properly execute shots, defensive schemes and run an offense.
“I love it, it’s a great opportunity because I’m not hounding my team, I’m using them as coaches,” Sparks said. “I’ll hear them tell campers they need to be good with their non-dominant hand and I will give them an eye and say ‘you have to be good with your left hand, huh?’ Knowing full well I’ve been on them about the same thing.”
The camp also helps the Lady Knights players provide a service to their community, believe and break down their skills and fundamentals and allows young girls in the community to get to know them as mentors.
“We want the girls to emulate my players and discover a love for the sport they chose so long ago,” she said.
The fundamental camp is $225, which Sparks knows is expensive, but the university does offer scholarships families just have to contact Sparks or assistant coach Kelsey Long.
“The high price mostly just covers the cost of the camp and allows us to pay the players a little bit for their time,” she said.
The Lady Knights will offer a more elite camp for girls in 10th grade and up, known as a college prep camp June 14-15. Sparks said there are around 30 players that sign up for the college prep camp, that camp is $100.
The final camp is a team camp for varsity, JV, and middle school from June 22-23 and is $250 per team with three games guaranteed and includes 10 T-shirts. A $50 deposit is needed for the team camp by today.
Sparks said anywhere from 10 to 12 teams participate in the camp, including Scotland High School’s girl’s varsity basketball team.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]