Kiowa County kids learn basketball skills at camp

Hannah Brown
Signal reporter
Kiowa County youth participate in a skills camp to help their young bodies get used to basketball type motions. (Starting second from left) Bristol Britton, Sayre Hassiepen, Jiwoo Chang, Amelia Barnes and Greyson Ballard work with Coach Thomas Derstein (left).

Greensburg Recreation is hosting a youth skills camp with the help of Kiowa County High School Girls Basketball Coach Thomas Derstein.

“It was our way to accommodate the kids in town that might not be able to do summer ball, but that still need the activity & interaction,” said Greensburg Rec Director Elizabeth Apollo.

The idea originated during one of the many meetings held to discuss whether or not summer sports would be a possibility due to COVID-19. Greensburg Rec decided that this was this was a good way to provide some activity during this uncertain time.

These camps are designed to help young athletes in Kiowa County have a youth development program from a young age.

“I have a list of 100+ skills that are introduced, reinforced, and mastered through age 5 all the way through 18.” Said Thomas Derstein.

Derstein said it’s important for kids to get the feel of having a basketball in their hands and working on their body movements. An added benefit of this program is the transition from these camps to rec and junior high basketball programs, and eventually on to high school competition. This program allows Derstein to teach skills the right way at a young age. It is free to all kids in Kiowa County grades 1-6.

Camp is held on Mondays and Wednesdays from now until July 29. The first session from 8-8:50 a.m. is for 1st and 2nd grade students, followed by 3rd and 4th grade camp from 9-9:50 a.m. The final session of the day is for 5th and 6th graders from 10-11:15 a.m.

Thomas Derstein has coached at Kiowa County High School for 5 years, where he has been the head girls basketball coach for his entire tenure.

According to current KSHSAA summer guidelines, basketball coaches may not hold team camp or work with their players between August 3 and August 16 as that time is dedicated to final fall season preparations. however, skills camps are allowed for any sport as long as the athletes participating are limited to a maximum of three hours of physical activity per student per day. Physical activity during the camps includes any warm-up, stretching, conditioning and weight-lifting activities. Organized competition sanctioned by an outside organization or between students from different schools shall not take place during this time.

School employed coaches may work with their prospective student participants any time after June 1. As always, participation by a student in the summer program is voluntary.

Most high school coaches agree that many students have not had the opportunity to train on a regular basis this spring due to coronavirus restrictions. A gradual acclimation to physical activity has been shown to lower risk of injury. If summer is delayed, a team camp right before the start of fall practice would probably be beneficial.