By Jenny Rehkugler, Communications Specialist
Crane Lake hosted two very special guests today who shared their skills and language with campers on the courts. Ofir and Lior, two Israeli basketball players, came all the way from Israel to spend a month traveling around to nine different Jewish summer camps including Crane Lake.
From Georgia to Massachusetts, the two have set out on their third year teaching basketball at Jewish camps in the United States. This is their first time in the Massachusetts area visiting both Eisner and Crane Lake.
“It’s been a great experience for us this summer,” Lior said. “We’ve met hundreds and hundreds of kids.”
Lior and Ofir teach a special basketball program to help campers hone in all types of basketball skills while also learning Hebrew words at the same time. While making shots, passes and dribbling, campers are taught Hebrew words to communicate what they are doing.
“It doesn’t matter if you know basketball or Hebrew,” Ofir said. “After this one hour clinic you will be better at both.”
The kids really enjoy the combination of learning basketball and Hebrew simultaneously because at the end of the practice they gain 10 new words to use around camp. Having the kids remember what they’ve learned in the days past is the ultimate goal of the program.
“Sometimes we see the campers at breakfast the day after our clinic and they tell us the Hebrew words they learned the day before,” Lior said. “This is our big satisfaction.”
Lior and Ofir teach how to shoot the ball well, fun ways to pass, dribbling techniques and hand eye coordination. But it doesn’t stop there. The two basketball coaches believe teaching respectful sportsmanship goes along with learning to play basketball.
“We talk a lot about values,” Lior explained. “We discuss how to lose and win respectfully, how to cheer on the team and how to speak politely no matter if we lose or win.”
During the school year both Lior and Ofir teach basketball at home in Israel and attend university. Ofir played on a basketball team in Ramat Hasharon as well as the young Olympic national team and currently studies psychology. Lior played for the Maccabi team in Ashdod and now lives in Beersheba studying sports psychology.
It was wonderful having Lior and Ofir at Crane Lake teaching clinics to campers today. Campers will surely use their newfound skills in basketball and Hebrew throughout the summer!