XENIA — Clayton Brady wants to change the culture of Xenia sports.
Using his 40-plus years of coaching experience and the help of other experienced volunteers, Brady is trying to teach the love of the game of basketball to kids at an earlier age with a summer program he is calling Fundamentals of Sports.
Brady says he started coaching in 1974 when he started a rec league at the YMCA for high school ball players. The Central State graduate and retired member of the Greene County Engineering Department has coached multiple sports including football, baseball, basketball, volleyball and track. He is the girls seventh grade basketball coach at Warner Middle School and takes pride in teaching the basics of basketball to his players.
But he has recently noticed what he calls a lack of interest from the Xenia Community.
“In Xenia, when I went to school, we were either the top dog or right there competitively. Right now, I hate to say it, but we’re not competing on the level that we should be,” said Brady. “There’s a lack of interest. We have the facilities and we have the people ready to volunteer, so now we need to change the culture of the kids so we can get to the top of the (Greater Western Ohio Conference).”
He has been trying to do just that by hosting multiple basketball skills camps throughout the summer for younger, inexperienced players. The most recent session held at the Xenia Community Center, which has lasted two weeks and ends on Thursday, was available for boys and girls from fourth to sixth grade.
Brady said he was happy with the progress the kids made in just a short period of time.
“These kids have the heart and desire and they want to be better,” he said. “They view it as a success because they have gotten better. You can see their skills. I had to teach those drills and they picked them up and took them to the next level.”
“Look at them. It’s over, and they’re not even thinking about home. They’re not thinking about video games, they’re not thinking about movies, they’re not thinking about television”
Brady said he uses methods taught in the 5-Star Basketball circuit, but runs drills that the kids will understand. One example is a drill where one player runs between a set of five chairs, picking up the basketball and then shooting.
“With the fundamentals of sports, especially with kids, we emphasize the F-U-N part. It keeps them excited,” he said. “They’ll do that chair drill until the sun goes down, and it’s teaching them to go around the screen, then look for the ball, then shoot the ball. Every drill I do incorporates a lesson I’m trying to teach.”
While he was happy with the progress made from the kids he had, Brady said his initial plans were much larger. He wanted to form a ten team league from the elementary schools in Xenia, but the most players he ever had at one time was 12. He said he wants to fill a void for summer basketball programs and hopes that more athletes gain interest.
Brady plans to host another two-week camp some time in August at the Xenia Community Center. No firm date was set, but for more information you can call 937-344-1169 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.