A field of 70 aspiring basketball players, from third to ninth grade, passed on video games, television, the Internet, girl and boy friends and texting to fine-tune their hoop skills in the town-sponsored Fall Break Sports Camp.
The camp, which was hosted by retired Paradise Valley High School head coach Bill Farrell, was held Oct. 3-6 in Wilson Dome.
During the four days, Farrell stressed the fundamentals of the sport to the young campers using what he calls “traditional” approaches. Others might glowingly label his strategies “old school.”
No matter what the description, Farrell and the PHS varsity basketball players who assisted stressed proverbs like, “There is no ‘I’ in team” and “A chain is only as strong as the weakest link.”
The purpose of using the ages-old proverbs, Farrell says, is “to teach a philosophy they can use in basketball and in everyday challenges.”
In addition to stressing fundamentals and character development, Farrell and his assistants put the campers through daily drills designed to teach the fundamental skills of ball handling, defensive slides, shooting, pivots, jump stops, moving without the ball and rebounding.
At the conclusion of the camp, Farrell — one of the most accomplished retired coaches in Arizona basketball annals — praised the varsity athletes who assisted saying, “I am extremely proud of them, they were wonderful mentors and modeled what we are trying to get done.”
Farrell also thanked Town of Payson Recreation Coordinator Mary Wolf and Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Cameron Davis for their help.
“Their support helped the camp run very smoothly,” Farrell said. “We are very grateful to them.”
Wolf lauded the camp as a complete success saying, the campers “gained so much from it; everything was awesome.”
With the fall camp in the rearview mirror, Farrell says he is not sure if he will be hosting any future sessions, including one during spring break, but “I’d probably do it if asked.”
First-year Longhorn head coach Joe Sanchez is thankful for the help he is receiving from Farrell and retired Quincy, Ill. coach Ed Charles, saying, “Both grab the players’ attention and it’s huge to have them contributing — we are very fortunate to have them.”