After a year off the court and away from the pitch, young basketball and field hockey players can get back in the game at the University of Southern Maine this summer.
Starting in July, the University will run an abbreviated version of its sports camps, with half-day clinics for boys and girls basketball, three-day co-ed clinics for field hockey and a four-day clinic series for girls field hockey.
“My hope is that camp will be as close to normal as possible with lots of learning, fun and excitement,” said Bonny Brown-Denico, USM's head field hockey coach, who will run clinics this July.
Summer 2021 will be the 27th that head coach Bonny Brown-Denico has conducted camps or clinics at USM for field hockey players who want to take their game to the next level.
USM was among the first in the state to offer sports camps more than 40 years ago. Since then, the Athletics Department typically runs a half dozen camps each summer specializing in a variety of sports, including wrestling, ice hockey, baseball, softball, volleyball, basketball and field hockey.
Every summer, that is, except for last summer, when the pandemic forced the department to cancel all sessions.
“Like most universities, we couldn’t really bring anybody on campus,” said Christina Cracolici, assistant director for athletic media relations.
This year, the pandemic has eased enough for the department to bring back camp. But planning, which usually starts in the fall, couldn’t start until April. That gave camp leaders weeks rather than months to pull together a summer session, and not every sport could make the logistics work.
Basketball and field hockey were able to handle the compressed timeline and quickly plan for summer. But while they would normally host campers for full-week sessions, this year they’ll offer half-day to four-day clinics. Basketball’s clinics will be the shortest, with players in grades 3–5 attending one morning and grades 6–9 one afternoon. Girls' field hockey will be the longest, with players in grades 7–12 attending evening sessions for four days. (Those players also have the option of signing up for a single day rather than the full four-day series.)
“Though it’s an abbreviated schedule, I know our campers will get outstanding skill development and have fun playing some basketball,” said Samantha Norris, head women’s basketball coach at USM.
Women's basketball head coach Samantha Norris will hold her 7th summer of camps or clinics at USM starting in July 2021.
All summer sessions will cover skill-building and competition. All will be held on the Gorham campus.
Campers can register now.
The Athletic Department expects all sports camps to return to normal next summer. In the meantime, the abbreviated version will help young players get back on track.
“We’re going to do everything we can to provide a safe environment, an environment that is fun for them and helps them improve in their sport,” said Director of Athletics Al Bean.