From June 24th through June 26th, I had the tremendous honor and privilege to work the University of Virginia Women’s Basketball Elite Camp. Hosted by head coach (and Hall of Famer) Debbie Ryan and her staff, the camp brought together some tremendous players; some which are being recruited by several Division I institutions.
This is the second consecutive year that I’ve been asked to work the camp and I saw many of the same staff faces that I saw last year. The staff usually consists of current or former high school coaches as well as some small college coaches. And of course, the UVA staff is on-site with current players and former players and coaches available to help as well.
There was a good turnout for the camp and there were some high level players there that put in work. Believe me when I tell you, this camp wasn’t for the faint of heart! These young ladies worked their tails off despite some wild circumstances. During a session on Thursday evening, a powerful storm passed through Charlottesville. Some said it was a tornado; I’m not exactly sure about that, but I do know it was enough to knock out all the power in John Paul Jones Arena and the surrounding areas of campus! We were asked to evacuate the building, but couldn’t because of the torrential downpour and high winds outside.
Once things were settled we took a short break for dinner and then we just went after it using only the lights powered by the facility’s generators. There was no air conditioning in the building, but those girls did not complain. They continued to get after it! It was truly a special thing to watch, especially in today’s world. Many so-called players would have chosen to dog it or make excuses for poor performance based on the conditions. Not these ladies! They kept it moving like there was nothing wrong at all!
I had an opportunity to work with a small group of very talented players Thursday evening and Friday morning before some other campers came through for a four-hour workout. The general schedule for camp workouts went something like this:
- Warm Up & Dynamic Stretches
- One & Two Ball Stationary Ball Handling
- One & Two Ball Dynamic Ball Handling
- Offensive Moves off the Dribble
- Offensive Footwork off the Catch
- Finishing Around the Basket
- Competitive Drills (drills that were used to help transfer the previously learned skills to a game-type situation)
Each session consisted of a schedule very similar to the one above and there were at least 3-4 sessions per day. Needless to say, these young ladies got their money’s worth at camp!
I was proud of these young ladies for their dedication throughout a tough camp. They never quit and pushed through despite some rough conditions. Saturday morning saw the power come back on at JPJ and camp finished with some light skill work along with the camp all-star game.
Overall, the camp experience was great, as usual. The facilities at JPJ are second to none and the campus is absolutely beautiful. And for reinforcement sake, I spoke with several parents that had children which attended elite camps at other universities and they all agreed that the University of Virginia’s camp was the best of them! Great reinforcement for the staff there at UVA! My hat is off to Head Coach Debbie Ryan and Coaches Angel Elderkin, Tim Taylor, and Wendy Palmer for a job well done! For you players out there, if you get a chance next summer, head on down to Charlottesville for a camp experience like none other!