Why the Best Basketball Camps in Texas Teach Chess

Why the Best Basketball Camps in Texas Teach Chess

Texas basketball players may compete in the winter, but like any other state, they are made in the summer.

HOW they are made is a topic of much debate, however.  What is the right mix of gym time, weight time, or game time?  What are the best ways to spend that time:  by yourself?  In a pickup game?  It can all be a little overwhelming, and you only have so much time, but the best basketball camps in Texas have figured out that there is more to the game than just playing it.

Basketball camps all over the country and starting to teach the mental aspects of the game with almost equal amounts of focus as they do the physical.   

An example of one of the best basketball camps in Texas to adopt this philosophy is the Point Guard College (and don’t let the name fool you, they’re not just for point guards).   Aside from intense on court training, they spend a large amount of time working on the psychological aspects of the game through video analysis, classroom training, and leadership development as well.  The goal is to develop complete players, thinkers, and leaders in the community who are equally valuable off the court as they are on.   And their approach is gaining ground.

Much of Point Guard College’s philosophy comes from the man who started it all, legendary basketball thinker Dick Devenzio, who always thought the best basketball camps in Texas should teach the mental aspects of the game as well.  (His book:  Think Like a Champion is one of the best around – when John Wooden says you are the real deal, people pay attention.)

To get an idea of the kind of approach taken by the Point Guard College, take a look at one of the chapters in Dick’s book called “Chess-Game Vision”, which starts like this:

“Once at my summer basketball program for point guards a young athlete told me that the concepts I was teaching were good for drills but they couldn’t be used in games because “the action in games happens too fast to do all that stuff.” The idea of getting double-teamed and still looking for her four teammates—and perhaps calling one particular teammate into a better position to make a pass easier to complete—seemed just impossible to her.

How could she be searching for her teammates and talking and choosing just the right one and then telling that one teammate to move, when two defenders were swiping and pushing and grabbing for the ball? “You only have five seconds before they blow the whistle for a tie-up,” she said. Like most inexperienced athletes she failed to realize that good players do indeed do all that stuff (in a lot less than five seconds) and once you are experienced it doesn’t seem as though the action happens so fast. The defenders’ efforts don’t seem so all-consuming, and your own teammates’ positioning is something you’re very aware of before the double-team even arrives. There is not only time to “do all that stuff,” there’s even time to motion to a different player to race down the opposite side before throwing the pass, and maybe still a few moments extra to pull a sandwich from your back pocket and catch a bite to eat.”

There are all kinds of things people can learn from attending a basketball camp, and skill development mixed with a healthy dose of competition is a must.  But more and more, the best basketball camps in Texas are teaching that the similarities between basketball and chess aren’t that few and far between.