First year of Spain Park Girls Basketball Camp yields success

Published 2:58 pm Friday, June 21, 2024

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By TYLER RALEY | Special to the Reporter

HOOVER – Spain Park High School is playing a part in expanding the growth of women’s sports in the area with its first official Spain Park Girls Basketball Camp from June 19-21.

For this year being the inaugural girls-only basketball camp, it was a big success and a big step forward for what girls basketball head coach John Hadder wants to do for the program.

“What we told them was at the very beginning is that we wanted to teach some skills and we wanted to give them some things that would help them become better players,” Hadder said. “We’ve tried to really do a lot of things with them to try to teach skill, try to teach fundamentals, develop that side of it, but also make it something that they enjoy and want to continue doing. From that side of it, it’s been really good.”

The campers got to learn and improve on many skills that are main facets of the game, including shooting, ball-handling and passing. They not only learned the basic skills associated with those maneuvers but also situational occurrences that come with those moves.

40 girls attended this week’s events, ranging mostly from second grade to sixth grade. They got to learn from Hadder’s varsity players along with some other assistants, meaning the campers learned how to play basketball like Spain Park players.

“Ultimately for us, we’re trying to get girls to where they really love basketball, but we’re also trying to develop those relationships to give us some continuity in our program,” Hadder said. “We really want there to be some relationships built all of the way up so the chain all the way from the youth all the way to the high school starts to become stronger.”

Hadder also brought in noted Jaguar alumna and current University of Alabama women’s basketball player Sarah Ashlee Barker to talk with the campers on the first day of festivities.

Barker encouraged the kids to enjoy their time at the camp and ask questions, knowing that this is a week that she hopes the kids will have positive memories of when it is over.

“Just have fun with it. Don’t try to worry about making mistakes because you’re always going to make mistakes in life,” Barker said. “Have fun, smile, enjoy this camp, interact with people, ask people questions, ask me questions. So have fun.”

With the camp being part of a new era for Spain Park basketball, Hadder hopes that this camp will prove to be something special for years to come.

Over recent years, the Jaguars have seen a boost in the performance of their girls sports. Now, Hadder thinks that this can be a chance for increased involvement at Spain Park from female athletes with the hopes that it will create a high popularity for girls basketball at the school.

“We are trying to promote this as something that you would like to be a part of,” Hadder said. “From our standpoint, what we’re just trying to make sure is that we’re doing everything that we possibly can to promote it, to encourage, and just make kids feel like they want to be a part of it.

“We were really excited and pleased with the numbers that we had, and hopefully next year, it’ll just get even bigger.”