Q&A with Coach Pat Sullivan

sully_webOn July 12, Pat Sullivan will bring his famous one-day basketball clinic to the Smith Family YMCA in his hometown of Joliet. Sullivan is a Hall of Famer and former University of St. Francis basketball coach who has more than 500 victories under his belt. We recently had a chance to catch up with Sully and ask him a few things about his camp: 

The Y: This is your first time teaching camp at the Y. Are you as excited as we are for this opportunity?

Coach Sullivan: Absolutely. I’ve done camps throughout our county, and in Belgium, Greece and Austria. I have lots of experience doing these camps and hope to provide the kids at the Y with a great clinic.

Tell us a little bit about the clinic. What kind of things do you teach?

We’re totally focused on fundamentals. I’ve always felt that in the camps, the most important thing to give the kids is the fundamental skills. We begin with balance—starting, stopping, and pivoting. I believe it’s the lost art of basketball. Dribbling, passing, shooting—all of these skills emanate from balance and footwork. For each skill, we teach for 10 to 15 minutes and then drill for 10 to 15 minutes.

What will kids benefit from the most in your camp? 

Without question, it’s the fundamentals. We feel it’s our obligation to teach the fundamentals. You’d be amazed how many coaches don’t teach balance and footwork.

Have you ever had any well-known players or coaches attend camp? 

Of course. [Current LA Clippers head coach] Doc Rivers came to camp. Jerome Whitehead, who played at Marquette University. We’ve been blessed to have some very good players in our camps over the years. [Former Utah Jazz head coach] Jerry Sloan. These guys would come and teach. Some great people as well as outstanding players.

Designed for kids, grades 3-8, Pat Sullivan’s co-ed basketball clinic will cost $65 for community members, $20 for YMCA Program Members and $10 for YMCA Full Members.

Serving One Generation After Another

IMG_0281_copyIt’s been about 13 years since Dominique Dunn was first introduced to the Y. His mother, Natalie—who comes from a family of athletes—signed him up for the Y’s Youth Basketball League to coincide with Dominique’s growing love for basketball. From then on, the Y was Dominique’s palace—where he would spend each Saturday at open gym, playing the game he loved, fostering relationships and receiving mentorship from staff.

“I met a lot of my friends that I’m close with today,” Dominique said. “Ever since, we’d all come here on the weekends and just shoot around. We’d be here for hours. [Associate Executive Director Maurice Fears] would work with us, help us shoot. Then I kept coming here through high school.”

As a junior, Dominique joined the Central City YMCA’s Teen Achievers Program, where he says he had memorable experiences taking trips out of state, visiting universities in Washington D.C. and Tennessee.

Focused on serving students attending schools on the east side of Joliet, the Central City YMCA (CCY) and its programs have impacted countless lives. With the help of the Greater Area Joliet YMCA’s Scholarship Fund, CCY participants have opportunities to play basketball and learn how to swim as children, as well as the chance to set and achieve high education, professional and personal goals within the Teen Achievers Program as teenagers—all at little or no cost.

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