Here is the third installment of De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) basketball coach Frank Allocco's experiences at the Nike High School Elite Camp in Shanghai, China. He was asked to lead the camp, along with Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) coach Tim Kennedy and Harvey Kitani, of Fairfax (Los Angeles).See Day 1 , Day 2SHANGHAI —
The second day of camp was a great one. The kids worked hard all day. They had two 2.5-hour practice sessions in addition to a 90-minute conditioning session. These players are used to lengthy practice sessions, with some workouts exceeding four hours. I have had multiple discussions with the Chinese coaches who are observing the American teaching methods and have stressed the need to be efficient with their time and their player's time.
My practices have been stressing competitiveness. The players here haven't displayed a great understanding of time and score and lack a competitive sense of urgency. Our drills are all geared to place the boys in situations where they must be cognizant of time and score. They are reacting well to this, but they must embrace the fact that playing hard is a skill that must be taught and reinforced.
Each of the three coaches at this camp (Tim Kennedy, Harvey Kitani and I) has a translator assigned to them at all times. I struck paydirt with mine as she is a former college basketball player.
Sarah Hong Yao Weiler was the first female from China to play college basketball in the United States. Sarah moved to California before her senior year in high school. She was an All-League player at Yucca Valley and earned a scholarship to Centenary College in Louisiana.
Prior to moving to California, Sarah was a product of the Chinese Sports Academy, whose main emphasis was on Sports Training. With little knowledge of English and lacking a strong educational background, she still managed to become a great student at Yucca Valley and performed well at Centenary. At this camp, Sarah is like having another coach on the floor as her knowledge of basketball is outstanding.
Prior to practice today at the Fudan University Arena, we were delayed by the freshman students parading on the street in front of the complex performing their military exercises.
After 1989, no Chinese citizens were required to perform mandatory military service with the new government requirements consisting of just two weeks of military exercises for all freshman college students.
Tonight we had dinner on the Bund, which is a beautiful area along the Huangpu River. The buildings are spectacular and represent all types of architecture, from France, England, Spain, Russia, Germany, Italy, Japan and more.
The Bund was once the home to numerous banks and trading companies. Today, the River Walk area in front of the Bund is a major tourist destination. It was crowded tonight due to the amazing weather (no humidity and mild temperatures) that we have had all week.
After arriving back in my room, I began practice preparation, excitedly awaiting practice tomorrow. It is a great feeling to know that we are improving every day.
With just a few days left for this camp, Tim, Harvey and I are totally committed to providing the best for these outstanding young players.
Tomorrow night our staff will be having dinner with the Chinese high school coaches who have been assisting us. It will be fun to mentor them on strategy, skill development and the challenges of coaching high school players.