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The first year of the Spain Park Girls Basketball Camp is a success

Published on Friday, June 21, 2024, 2:58 p.m.

By TYLER RALEY | Special for the Reporter

HOOVERS – Spain Park High School is helping to further advance women's sports in the region with its first official Spain Park Girls Basketball Camp June 19-21.

As this year's first all-girls basketball camp, it was a huge success and a huge step forward for what girls basketball head coach John Hadder wants to accomplish for the program.

“We told them right from the start that we wanted to teach them some skills and give them things that would help them become better players,” Hadder said. “We really tried to do a lot with them to teach them skills and fundamentals, to develop that side, but also to make it something that they enjoy and want to continue doing. From that side, it's been really good.”

Camp participants learned and improved many skills that are core aspects of the game, including shooting, ball handling and passing. They learned not only the fundamental skills associated with these maneuvers, but also the situational incidents that accompany these movements.

This week's events included 40 girls, most in second through sixth grade, learning from Hadder's varsity players and a few other assistants, meaning the campers learned to play basketball like the Spain Park players.

“Ultimately, we want to get girls to really love basketball, but we're also trying to build those relationships to give continuity to our program,” Hadder said. “We really want to build relationships so that chain gets stronger from youth through high school.”

Hadder also brought well-known Jaguar alumnus and current University of Alabama basketball player Sarah Ashlee Barker to speak to the campers on the first day of festivities.

Barker encouraged the children to enjoy their time at camp and ask questions. She hopes the children will have positive memories after the week.

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

As the camp is part of a new era for the basketball team at Spain Park, Hadder hopes it will prove to be something special in the years to come.

In recent years, the Jaguars have seen an increase in performance in girls' sports. Hadder believes this can be an opportunity for increased participation of female athletes at Spain Park, hoping that this will lead to a huge popularity of girls' basketball at the school.

“We're trying to promote this as something you want to be a part of,” Hadder said. “From our perspective, we're just trying to make sure we're doing everything we can to promote it, encourage it and make the kids feel like they want to be a part of it.”

“We are really excited and happy with the numbers we had and hopefully there will be even more next year.”

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