The Dalles The Dalles Wahtonka head basketball coach Bob Townsend has a vision of bringing a more profound love for basketball to the greater Columbia Gorge area. He is taking action with an inaugural fall academy for boys of eight Saturday dates, starting on September 21 and ending on November 9, at The Dalles Middle School.
“I am very excited about the Columbia Gorge Basketball Academy,” Townsend said. “The added time I can gain with future high school basketball players will allow me to instill the fundamental base that is imperative to a successful high school program.”
The camp runs from 2-5 p.m. every Saturday and is open to all area seventh-through-ninth graders.
Since Townsend is the boy’s hoops coach and camp director, OSAA rules do not allow high school participants from TDW to participate during the school year.
The primary purpose of this academy/camp is to provide area youth the court time needed to improve their hoops skills outside of the winter season.
Townsend said that the Academy is also used as an opportunity to provide training to youth coaches and to facilitate a melting pot for high school coaches to share drills and teaching techniques.
Future goals include working in conjunction with the Mid-Columbia Officials Association allowing referees the opportunity to prepare for their season, and potentially perform training with on-court examples.
Townsend has hopes to have participants from all local schools, spanning from Hood River to Arlington, Maupin to Goldendale, and every school in between.
His thought is that basketball has become a year-round activity in most successful high school programs.
“While my primary goal was to improve the skills of incoming freshmen to our program, I think there is significant competitive benefit to providing this opportunity to all area youth,” Townsend said.
In remaining competitive with programs outside the area, some players sign up for traveling teams, which can be expensive.
Another issue Townsend notices is the lack of court time for fifth-through-eighth grade athletes.
“While we still think the traveling team experience can be valuable, this camp provides an additional opportunity for kids that want to play more basketball, but closer to home,” Townsend added.
Saturday camps will consist of approximately 60-90 minutes of fundamental skill work.
In this time, coaches will help develop individual skills, teach the participants about drills they can perform on their own, and teach team defense and offense.
Following the skills portion of the camp, coordinators will evaluate the athletes and place them on equal teams.
The last 90 minutes of camp will include participation in simulated games with officials and scorekeeping.
The cost for the Fall Basketball Academy is $50 for the initial session.
This provides the participant with an official jersey, which they will be able to keep and re-use for other session dates including the spring or summer academy.
After this, each session will cost an additional $10.
A one-time fee of $100 can be paid to cover the uniform and all eight sessions.
Townsend eyes around 30 participants for each session this fall, but dependent on the success of this first fall academy, he desires to add a few fifth and sixth grade sessions.
For registration information, call 541-980-8952.