SARGENT — Over thirty kids came out to compete in the Global Shot Doctor basketball camp this week, led by Colorado coaching legend Duane Lewis. Lewis has been involved in the sport of basketball for over 50 years. Lewis started with a successful prep career in Burlington, Colo. winning multiple State Titles. He then went on to play for the University of Colorado, where he also earned a degree in Physical Education.
In 1968, Lewis took over the reins of the Alamosa Mean Moose basketball program, taking them to multiple State Tournament berths. “Back then there were only three classifications: 3A, 2A, and 1A, we always used to play the big schools in Denver at State, but I’m sure if there was a 4A classification back then, we would have won for four years,” Lewis recalled.
During his time in Alamosa, Lewis also earned a master’s degree in psychology from Adams State College. After a nine year stint with the Mean Moose, Lewis moved on to coach Alameda High School in the Denver Metro Area.
Lewis started the Shot Doctor camps in the 1980s, catering his services in twelve different schools. However, just a few years late the camps grew with the sponsorship of Avia; his business grew to hold over 260 different camps across the United States. The Shot Doctor camp earned its name because of Coach Lewis’ training style. First he evaluates the student’s shot, and then he provides recommendations on how to improve problems with a shot, then after some more practice the shot improves, just like if they had gone to a “shot doctor”.
After years of experience playing, coaching, and conducting the Shot Doctor Clinics, Lewis developed a patented invention to aid his coaching as well as his students’ development of their shooting skilled. Earlier in his career, Lewis would draw arrows on his students’ hands to help them to align their shots. This idea evolved to a much less messier option when he drew the arrows on a pair of wrist bands. The arrows on the wristbands help students align their shots with the rim, a simple, yet innovative idea. Using his psychology background, Lewis explained how the simple psychology of lining up the arrows with the basket helped students improve their shot. The arrows also help in alleviating a common shooting mistake that of moving one’s opposite thumb while in the shooting motion. The results that the wrist bands provide have caused coaches to purchase them for their programs. Lewis is currently looking to distribute his invention nation-wide in retail stores.
Additionally, Lewis explained how Carmelo Anthony had this problem while playing in the NCAA Championship for Syracuse, which Anthony solved by tucking his jersey underneath his elbow to hold it stationary. Lewis then showed first hand with students how they too could improve their shooting by holding their opposite elbow stationary. In only a few shots, the group of students at Sargent markedly improved their shooting.
He also provided solid statistical evidence to support his success claims, explaining how two athletes from Cherry Creek High School had improved their shooting percentages from the low 50s to the mid to high 70s in the season. He also worked with teams such as the Pueblo East girls’, who have improved from being non-contenders to driving deep into the 4A State Playoffs the past two seasons. Lewis believes in the mantra that “Great Basketball Shooters Finish Champions” and he instills that principle into his clinics as well. He also uses that phrase as a mnemonic device to help students what to remember when they are shooting. The first letter in each word of the phrase also represents a basketball fundamental, ‘G’ represents grip, ‘B’ represents body position, ‘S’ stands for set-up, ‘F’ stands for finishing, and ‘C’ represents cybernetics, or mental preparation.
Another important part of the camp was the individualized attention each student receives. In addition to Coach Lewis, additional coaches and volunteers from Sargent were on-hand to assist with the camp, including Rod Clayton, Nikki Pepper, Jennifer Metz, Tonya Metz, Stan David, and John Plane. The coaches and students practiced drills which included jump shots, free throws, back spin, and three-pointers. Duane Lewis explained to the kids that one can practice their shots even without a ball or a basket, because the most important aspect was to get their shot mechanics down. Practicing without a ball, he explained, was an idea implemented by famed UCLA coach John Wooden. After only a day of practices and drills in the camp, participants in the Global Shot Doctor Camp had already made improvements. “He [Lewis] is really good at teaching the kids,” commented Tonya Metz, one of the organizers of the camp. In its first year, the camp was so successful that it will be brought back to Sargent next summer.