Over at New Oxford High School, the Colonial boys' basketball players are spending the dog days of summer honing their craft inside the gymnasium with open gyms, workouts and summer league games.
New head basketball coach Sean Bair is using the summer to build and develop what he believes can be a successful basketball program, and he is not taking one moment for granted. Despite the team's 6-15 finish last year, Bair said he sees his new position as a very attractive one.
"I am thrilled," Bair said. "Especially to get an opportunity like this at a young age. I am not taking anything for granted. I know what it takes in this line of work. I am excited about the opportunity."
When the summer started and the Colonials began their open gym workouts, Bair had three kids show up. Now, he says, there are routinely 17 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders and 12 high school kids.
"I think I am in a really great spot because there was a culture shift already in place when I got here in our youth program," he said. "When you look at our sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders, their interest and skills to keep playing basketball is huge right now."
Bair is using this summer to get to know his players and implement his system, philosophy and style of play, which have in part been formed by watching his father, Jeff, the head coach at Gettysburg High School.
"I was really able to learn a lot from him," Bair said. "There is no substitute for effort and time. Even if it means coming in to the gym a couple times a day to accommodate the kids and their unique schedules."
In terms of style of play, Bair said he realizes that at the high school level, it is all about adaptability.
"Something I really admire about my father was his ability to change up his coaching style," Bair said. "You get the kids that live in your district. You must be adaptable to the kids you have. In terms of practices, he might be a little more mellow and laid back than I am. I am pretty high energy, especially in the gym."
After finishing his high school playing career, Bair went on to play at Dickinson College and after graduation taught one year of history and coached at a high school in Oklahoma City. Now at the age of 23, he is ready to take the reins of his own program and get to work.
"I think one of the advantages that I have is that I am able to relate to the kids," he said. "I was in their shoes not too long ago. I understand dealing with schoolwork, a job and athletics. I can also go out there and demonstrate when I need to. When we need an extra guy in pickup, I can play. They can tell that I can play, and I think it's important that they know I can do what I am asking them to do."
This summer, he has tried to incorporate a lot of instruction into all of the basketball activities the Colonials have had, knowing that this is the prime season to do it.
"The summer is vital," he said. "This is the time the individual players get better. By the time we are in the season and school starts, we have to focus on team stuff. In the summer, we are focused mostly on skills. This is when they are making their big jumps and are improving. I have really been impressed with the guys.
Bair acknowledged his team will take some lumps and hit some hurdles this year, but he said fans can expect to see a blue-collar team.
"We want to be a pest and have teams dread playing us," Bair said. "We want to get a lot of defense and rebounds. We are going to cut hard, draw a lot of fouls and beat people on the glass."
As for now, he will continue to grind away, appreciating every opportunity he gets to work to build the Colonial program.