SANTA MONICA/SHERMAN OAKS—It is a preconceived notion that children should be exercising everyday in order to lead a healthy lifestyle. Game Time Basketball Camps provides its students with a proper workout while enhancing skills they will need both on and off the court.
Coach Gil Llewellyn was taken with the game of basketball at a young age and his passion has only grown over the years.
Despite taking a 16 year hiatus from the game, Llewellyn came back to basketball with a dedication that led to a multitude of accomplishments. Merely a few of his achievements include being a captain and member of the 2012 NBA Nation Elite Division three-on-three championship team, being invited to the Olympic training center in summer 2012 for a chance to represent USA Basketball in FIBA three-on-three competition in Greece and winning Inspirational Player of the Year and Sportsmanship award in West Coast Pro Basketball League.
Many began to ask Llewellyn if he trained others which sparked his interest in helping others master the sport. Llewellyn began training adults until he was eventually asked if he’d like to work at a basketball camp and hasn’t looked back since. For a number of years, Llewellyn was the primary trainer at the Game Time Basketball Camp but he expanded his operation last year.
The basketball camp works with both boys and girls ages six to 18 at all ability levels and focuses on the improvement of each individual. “We are very knowledgeable and capable of observing players to find out what level of skill they have,” said Llewellyn. “We look for what they have to improve on and locate the exact level of challenge they require to make a difference in their abilities.”
The camp teaches the fundamentals of the sport and explores different ways to ensure students engage during activities and retain as much information as they can. The goal of Llewellyn and his fellow staff is to have each and every student improve their skills at their level of expertise. Students participate in drills as well as scrimmages which are supervised by the coaches. Members of staff often play head-to-head with older players to further enhance the learning experience. Older camp members also help younger students and act as mentors. The concepts of working as a team is vital at the camp since it helps the group as a whole to achieve greater things.
Staff members have a great deal of first-hand knowledge which makes them more than qualified to teach the sport to a wide age group as well as various levels of skill. “It’s a very hands on at the camps. As coaches, we all love the game and have background teaching it. Everyone involved is getting some kind of benefit from the experience,” said Llewellyn.
It is difficult for Llewellyn when each camp ends as it often leads to losing the connection he has built with students. However, it allows Llewellyn to come to terms with how fortunate he is as a coach to have the opportunity to see students grow as both players and as human beings. “It is incredibly gratifying when a student goes up to their parents and thanks them for bringing them to the camp,” said Llewellyn.
“Coach Gil, is simply one of the best I’ve seen. Thank you again for the camp, it’s taken my son’s game to the next level. A few weeks after your camp he attended the BYU camp and won MVP of his age group—directly related to what he learned from you! His ball handling skills improved immensely,” wrote 17-year NBA veteran, Thurl Bailey, to Llewellyn.
Parents are welcome to join in on the experience by watching students interact at the camp and speaking with staff members on their child’s activities. “I’m always willing to sacrifice my breaks to help students as best I can with basketball as well as others concepts in life,” said Llewellyn. Students will gain an experience unlike any other with Llewellyn as they will grow to both appreciate and love the game as much as he does.
There are Game Time Camps located in Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Agoura Hills, La Canada and many other cities and states. For more information, visit www.gametimebasketballcamps.com.
By Ivetta Babadjanian