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Summer sports camps build skills for the future

By BY ALBERT ALVARADO - AALVARADO@VICAD.COM
Sept. 1, 2011 at 4:01 a.m.

Jan Lahodny teaches Giavanna Camp, 13, and Hannah Kuchera, 13, how to deceive a defender by mastering a few crafty dribbling moves. TODD KRAININ/TKRAININ@VICAD.COM

With a pair of UIL Class 4A high schools along with two private schools that compete in TAPPS, Victoria has built a reputation as a high school sports town.

But that doesn't mean that the activity will stop once class is dismissed for the summer.

In fact, sports are still going strong in Victoria during the summer as the city offers a variety of sports camps.

"There's just a lot of different things out there for kids to do," said Victoria East girls basketball coach Yulonda Wimbish-North.

Wimbish-North ran the Lady Titans Fundamental and Shooting Camp in June.

During the summer, kids from the Crossroads area can come to Victoria to attend camps for such sports as football, basketball, tennis and volleyball hosted by area high schools and collegiate coaches.

These camps give parents the opportunity to introduce their children to sports they may not have a chance to play during the school year.

Carrie Myers enrolled her two girls in the Lady Titans camp - one of three camps they will attend during the summer.

"The summer camps provide an opportunity for them to try different sports and see which ones they like, so in the future we'll know which sports they're going to play when they get older," Myers said.

Myers can see the benefits of summer camps, not only as a mother, but also as the head girls basketball coach at St. Joseph High School.

Myers runs a St. Joseph basketball camp in July. The camp gives her a chance to work with future Lady Flyers.

"It's a great opportunity for me to see the talent level that's coming up in a few short years and gives me an opportunity to instill some skills they may not get," Myers said.

Most of these camps come with a cost, but they are more advantageous than just sending kids to the backyard and parks to work on their game.

The camps give kids a chance to have their game critiqued and improved upon by experienced coaches.

"It comes down to the fundamentals of the game," Wimbish-North said. "If kids are learning the game, I think that's the important thing."

Wimbish-North and Myers led their teams to the playoffs this past season.

Victoria youth were treated with learning from a Victoria coaching legend as Jan Lahodny helped Wimbish-North conduct her camp.

Lahodny coached the 1985-86 Victoria High School Stingarettes to a Class 5A State Championship and was inducted into the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1999.

Lahodny said kids also can learn a great deal from competing against others at these camps.

"I think they not only get good quality coaching, but they also get to compete against somebody in a controlled setting," Lahodny said. "You can go out and play street ball, but it's not quite as instructional as the settings here."

Myers added "Each kid is going to learn something at a camp that they'll remember later on in the school year when they're playing."

Myers and Wimbish-North played for Lahodny in high school.

The coaches agree that watching the students practice brings back memories of their playing days.

"If you can bottle that enthusiasm that they have and pass it along and serve it as medicine when the kids get older, they'd be unstoppable," Lahodny said. "You could beat the world."

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