Joining the new strength and conditioning program isn't the only new option for Perry student athletes to get involved with over the summer. For the past month, Perry hosted the Central Shooting Academy with Central College head coach Craig Douma to give yet another opportunity for current and future Bluejays to work on their game.
Every Wednesday from June 12 to July 3, Douma held two hour-long camps split between grades 5-8 and 9-12 with each group holding 20-30 students. Each age group is designed to work on a different set of skills to give a better overall experience and more precise attention to everyone.
“I've been doing this camp for 20 years and a few things have changed over time but the main thing is fundamentals and the footwork fundamentals in a shot and trying to engineer that,” Douma said. “Working with high school kids, we're really trying to push them to go to a higher level and learn how to work more efficiently. Younger kids, we focus on more of the real fundamentals of a shot.”
While he taught fundamentals like shooting motion and positioning to the younger group, he would introduce more advanced techniques that NBA players like the catch-and-shoot play Steph Curry and Klay Thompson execute.
“It's really a difficult shot and I've only seen one, maybe two high school players in action do that shot,” Douma said. “I haven't had any college players that can do that shot. So those guys can do it and they're special because of it. We try to instill drills that they use to get those shots off the floor.”
As a coach at the college level, Douma added that camps like these are vital for teams as they open up new opportunities for players. Normal practices throughout the season are more focused on “team stuff” like game strategy and roster building. Summer camps like his have been designed to help refine players individually, shaking off the cobwebs while adding the benefit of creating a greater team bond in the process.
Boys head coach Aaron Lyons said it's been “huge” to see the team come together through the program for extra work to build the program up heading into the new school year.
Incoming senior Keghan West added that the team knows “how to come together” and that working with Douma had started to build even more camaraderie for the group. On an individual level, West said the fundamentals learned camp would hopefully help increase his midrange game compared to his junior season so that he can help open up opportunities for the rest of his team.
With over four months and fall sports season before the first week of practices start, Douma said he hopes camps like his can still encourage improvement down the road.
“We just hope that muscle memory starts changing how they shoot their shot,” he said.
Knowing how far away the season is for everyone, Douma gave some homework for the summer. After every session, everyone received a checklist of exercises and training drills to finish each week and continue working on down the road.
“I want them to finish with 50 makes to keep track of how many shots it takes them to make that. Our goal is to make 80 percent because in a game, it's usually about half that,” he added.
Lyons said it will be good to see how they can apply what Douma's tips throughout the program to their practice leading to and throughout the season. Girls head coach Skylar Wolf shared that same enthusiasm, adding that with a number of sports still going on, a special camp has helped get more offseason involvement for the team as a whole.
“We've had a good set of numbers. Some faces that we haven't seen in the gym so far with softball going on,” Wolf said after the second week. “So that was really nice to see them come in.”
Thanks to support from the Perry Booster Club, the $75 enrollment fee was cut to just $25 to help boost enrollment.