Next Camp: Yvonne Sanchez Elite Camp (grades 9-12)
When/Where: June 19-21, University Arena – The Pit
Register: CoachYvonneSanchez.com or call 925-5787
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The Yvonne Sanchez Individual Basketball Camp has the two “Fs” that every camp and every camper seeks: fundamentals and fun.
The fun part comes natural and easy. You throw around 100 kids in a gym and roll out the basketballs and the smiles erupt.
“This camp is fun and basketball is fun,” said Toni, 8, a student at John Baker Elementary. “I like to compete and I like the challenges.”
The challenges and the fundamentals come from Coach Sanchez and her hands-on staff. Sanchez, Joseph Anders, Anthony Turner, Amy Beggin and Jourdan Erskine are all on hand this week throwing a variety of fundamental skills at the young campers. There also are several Lobo players teaching the Xs and Os.
“It’s important that we grind in the fundamentals of the game,” said Anders. “We want to give them basic tools that they can take back home with them and continue to develop their skills.
"This is my third camp here and you see campers come back and you see the improvement.
“They also become fans of our program. That’s important.”
The camp being held this week in The Pit and in the Rudy Davalos Center is for the younger athletes of the sport. There also is a team camp next week and an Elite Camp (June 9-12) for high school ballers.
The camp on June 9-12 might be more intense because of the age of the campers, but the instruction this week does not lack a gentle push toward improvement.
“I like that they are pushing us to our limit and trying to make us better,” said Kennedy, 10. “I think I’m getting better every day and it’s a lot of fun. I came here because I need some work on my basketball skills. The Lobos are my favorite team so I wanted to see how they do it so I can grow up to be like them.”
Said Toni: “I needed to work on my left-hand dribbling, my cross-over dribble and my shooting.”
Coach Sanchez is holding three camps this summer – individual (youth), team (high school) and elite (high school individuals) – but she said camps have taken a hit in attendance because of the growth of club teams at various levels and in almost every sport.
“Camps like this aren’t as popular as they used to be,” said Sanchez. “I think club ball is important, but you need camps like this to get more individual instruction.
"There also are a lot of kids who enjoy basketball but don’t necessarily want to play club ball yet. There are kids at different skill levels, so you work hard to teach them something at whatever level they are at.
“These camps are great. We really didn’t have camps like this when I was a kid. We just went out and played. I think the first camp I went to was a Don Flanagan camp (at Eldorado High) when I was a sophomore.
"For me, the camps are a chance to work with kids and watching them have fun while you teach them some fundamentals. These kids are awesome.”
There also is something you always notice about the camps for the younger crowd: the instructors seem to be having just as much fun as the campers.
“These camps are a lot of fun for me,” said Anders. “It’s a joy and a privilege to give back to the game at this level and it’s a joy to see young players out here working on their game and having so much fun while they do it.”
Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former award-winning Sports Columnist and Associate Sports Editor at The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. "