Stage de basket. Literally translated means “training course of basketball.” As we know it in the states – Basketball Camp. Right now we’re in the middle of a 2 week All Saints holiday in France. The kids are off from school for two weeks and adults had time off from work at the tail end of last week. With the kids being off from school, what better way for them to spend their time then in the gym at basketball camp???
So, myself and a couple other coaches were in charge of organizing a camp for two weeks for some of our players. Last week was the first week of camp and it was an excellent week! Not only did the kids work hard on their games, we had a lot of fun, but it was also my best, or most effective, French lesson to date. You see, there were really three of us organizing the camp. Myself, Celine, and Regis. Regis is more or less responsible for the administrative side of the camp – registering kids, checking them in, etc. He, as owner of the best pizza place in all of Toulouse, was also responsible for providing food for the camp. Myself and Celine were in charge of the basketball. She was pretty awesome about letting me run the show for a lot of it, but also did her part in organizing drills, games, etc.
Now, this all sounds pretty straightforward. I’ve worked plenty of camps before. Coaches have meetings before the camps and before each day to discuss the plan for the day – what will be the focus, what will be taught, stations, games, contests, and much more. Basic basketball camp. Simple right? What I didn’t mention is that neither Celine, nor Regis, speak a particularly significant amount of English. Regis and I have been running the basketball academy each week together and my interactions with him are awesome as we use combinations of English, French, and Spanish to communicate. Seriously, there are times where we literally use all 3 languages in one sentence. But hey, whatever works right?!? Well, Celine speaks even less English than Regis, and she was the one with whom I was primarily working. She is a fantastic basketball coach, great knowledge of the game, great discipline with the kids, and a great teacher. However, it certainly makes it more difficult to work together when we can’t communicate even though we agree on a lot of the same teaching points/methods. Suffice it to say, I was going to have to learn French faster this week than ever before. It is also important to note that the kids who we were coaching speak little to no English as well. So with all eyes on me while I would be trying to explain a drill, fundamental, or something else, it was certainly a unique experience and forced me to adapt and learn French QUICK!!
And that I did. Each day as I was coaching, I would frequently ask the kids, Celine, or one of the other coaches that was helping out how to say something. The kids had fun in helping me to learn French words and phrases. I was amazed at how much I learned in such a short time. This was the first true time that I’ve been here where I absolutely had to speak French. Every other time I would have Philippe, Eric, a teammate, or somebody else as a crutch to help me. I thought it was pretty cool to be honest.
Anyway, all in all it was a great week of camp. The kids had fun. Worked on their game. Everyone got better. I learned some more French. And they learned some English. Here are some photos from the week.
-The kids listening intently
-Celine teaching a bit of defense
-Fabien, coach of the men’s team (my coach) doing some teaching
-Ballhandling with me
-Fish, of the women’s Pre-National team overseeing a station
-Lay up fundamental – everyone working on lay ups at each basket with a coach (something I got from Coach Wootten’s camp)
-Camp knockout, basic
-The kids getting ready for an awesome lunch
-What would basketball camp be without a little badminton
-Had training with my guys after the camp, some of them put in double time which I was happy about
-Wednesday was Halloween, as such, some of the kids played with fake blood
-I was talking to someone and then I turned around to see this…we have some funny kids
-All the kids together in front of the sign for Regis’ place (good publicity)…and Kim, one of my players gave me bunny ears…he’s going to pay for that this week