Hardwood basics: Basketball camp seeks to instill skills in life and on court

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, June 19, 2019



FERRIDAY — Gary Stewart is putting a positive spin on basketball but with a twist.

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Stewart, who is the head basketball coach at Ferriday Junior High School, is conducting his Live Simple basketball youth camp everyday this week, from 9 a.m. to noon for ages 6 to 17 in the Ferriday Junior High School gym.

“This is the fourth year for the camp,” Stewart said. “We are teaching the basics of basketball along with some basics of life.”

Live Simple is Stewart’s company that has two priorities: A mentoring program for kids and a basketball training program for basket-ballers.

Stewart should know the sport of basketball. After playing for Vidalia High, Stewart played on the team at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.

With help from two coaches and three assistants Stewart said he endeavors to impart upon young athletes what it takes to be a winner.

The basketball basics that Stewart teaches are warming up, agility, conditioning, ball handling, defense, shooting form and rebounding.

“These are what you need to be competitive on the basketball court,” Stewart said.

The life basics that Stewart said he tries to impress upon the young people at the camp are respect and confidence.

“We are teaching to respect yourself but more importantly to respect others,” Stewart said. “And the other is confidence. If they don’t have confidence in themselves, then nobody else will either.”

Stewart even has a twist on some of the music out there.

“I use music with a positive message,” Stewart said. “If I find a song, I play it for them and break down the positive message.”

Stewart said 39 young athletes showed up for the camp at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

“I have Caymond Riley, 9 years old, and his brother Raymond Riley, 8 years old, who have come all four years to the camp, along with Roniya Ellis, 11 years old, who is in her third year here with us,” Stewart said.

Stewart can be reached at 318-609-2088.