PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – The Arnold Marlins are hosting their annual youth summer basketball camp this week.
“Some people might say other sports are better, but I just feel like basketball is that one sport that makes you just feel good and makes you exhausted and makes you happy,” camp participant Johnny Patronis said.
Around 40 kids are on the hardwood in the Arnold gym learning the fundamentals of the game of basketball so they can one day be like their idols on the court.
“I learned some things that you can do at your house instead of sitting their on your phone, you can do some dribbles, work on your handles. I also fixed my jump shot,” camp participant Trey Mitchell said.
However, this week isn’t just about teaching the future basketball stars of Bay County, but the coaches for the week get a lot out of it.
That’s because some of them are current or former Arnold basketball players themselves. Some of them even wanting to get into coaching one day.
“If you can explain it to an eight year old, you can explain it to anybody whether you want to be a college, high school coach, whichever. You are learning how to communicate the game, which all it is is teaching at the end of the day,” Arnold head boys basketball coach Josh Laatsch said.
The Marlins varsity squad has not only been hard at work this week coaching, but they’ve also been attending camp themselves.
The team competed at Poplar Spring’s team camp last week, then hit the road to Auburn’s team camp and then will be getting on the road this weekend to Troy for another team camp.
Coach Laatsch said he wanted to make sure his players got to travel as much as they could this summer since they weren’t able to do it last year. “
They are playing teams from all over the Southeast they’ve never seen before so it’s really good experience to test our identity and see where we measure up against some of the really good teams in the Southeast,” Laatsch said.
Even though the Marlins are getting some awesome experience this summer on the court, nothing really compares to giving back to the next generation of basketball players.
“To make new friends and to get better at basketball, which is kinda like what we are doing today, kinda like what we did yesterday, and kinda like what we are gonna do for the whole rest of this week,” Patronis said.