More than 180 people learn from Pelham’s basketball teams – Shelby County Reporter

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Chief Editor

PELHAM- Pelham head basketball coach Greg Dickinson remembers the last day of his youth basketball game.

It was the day he was able to walk up to the coaches, shake their hands and take a picture with them.

Now, as he enters his third year as Panthers head coach and after seven years at Montevallo as head coach, it remains his favorite part of this year’s youth camp at Pelham High School in the June 27 to 29.

“Seeing the kids having fun is what matters,” Dickinson said. “To see the excitement on their faces. To start with something new, but to figure it out as the camp progresses and to get your attention to show you they’ve got it, that’s special. Then, when the kids and parents come in and say how much fun they had, it means the most.I remember when I was a kid at camp, that last day going to the coach, shaking his hand and taking pictures. I still have those photos. This last day, seeing and knowing that they have learned something is gratifying.

This year’s camp in Pelham was also one of the largest and grew from the first held by Dickinson last summer.

A year ago, 120 showed up, but this year there were between 180 and 200 children at the three-day event.

“It means a lot to see this growth,” Dickinson said. “It shows that children show a lot of interest at a young age. It’s important to keep that fire in them so they don’t lose interest. We want them to have fun. We teach them the basics, but we want to keep that fire in them to enjoy. We want them to come home and tell mom and dad how much fun they had so they want to come back next year.

To create a fun environment, not only did college boys and girls host a large part of the camp, but there were fun competitions every day that involved kids, players and coaches.

Campers were divided into different teams in a tournament and records from different competitions were kept throughout the week before a tournament was played on the final day.

They played a game called beat the pro where kids had to choose one of many gym goals to get to where a trainer was waiting. Campers were able to challenge any coach of their choice trying to score for a reward.

They also played knockout and bucket ball, which is a relay type game.

Seeing the excitement was something that stood out to Dickinson, while campers got to enjoy being taught by players and coaches from the boys’ and girls’ teams that were part of the 2021-22 special seasons.

The girls made their first Final Four in school history last season, while the boys made another Sweet 16.

However, not only were the camp attendees able to learn from the players and coaches of the team, but the players themselves had to act as role models.

“We meet with the high school kids the day before and let them know how important it is,” Dickinson said. “They love it. They love taking on this role and being a role model for these kids. Now when they come to games during the season, these kids can talk to them and say, ‘Hey, I was at camp. Our kids academics love it. Just to involve the future more with the older players and have that kind of big brother-big sister relationship.

This is an ongoing step in building powerful programs for Dickinson and girls head coach Crosby Morrison as they try to build excitement around the program and the Pelham community.

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