Tom Hofman basketball camp offers chance for veteran to work with youth

Basketball: Spartans clinic pairs 28-year coach with players aged 5-14 from throughout area for training.

July 23, 2013|By Charles Rich,
  • Jacob Koch, 7, of Los Angeles, dribbles two basketballs at the annual Spartan Basketball Camp with La Canada High School hoops coach Tom Hofman at the school gym on July 10. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
Jacob Koch, 7, of Los Angeles, dribbles two basketballs…

LA CAÑADA — It never gets old for Tom Hofman to teach the young.

For the past 28 summers, Hofman, a successful boys’ basketball coach at La Cañada High, has made the most of reeling in participants to the annual Spartan Basketball Camp to teach the finer points of the game.

It’s left him young at heart, knowing he can provide instruction in areas ranging from passing to shooting to defending.

“It’s always great to teach the younger people some different areas in the game,” said Hofman, a former All-Area Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year who has guided La Cañada to 21 Rio Hondo League championships and a pair of CIF Southern Section crowns since taking over the program in 1986. “It’s rewarding to see them make progression in all the different fundamentals and teach them about the team concept.”

The three-session camp is geared for ages 5-14 and has attracted local participants from La Cañada Flintridge, Glendale, the San Gabriel Valley and even broader to several other states. The camp tipped off June 24 before ending July 19.


Hofman put the campers to the test inside the school’s south gymnasium. He watched each participant dribble up and down the court before viewing their shooting techniques.

“The format mostly stays the same,” Hofman said. “If you want to someday be a player, you have to learn how to handle the ball properly.

“The stuff that you learn here are things they should also take home and practice. It’s all about practicing and developing good habits to help you improve. We get a lot of campers coming back and you can see the progress they have made from year to year.”

There’s plenty of upside in attending the camp, which featured around 70 participants during the second session.

Sam Salit, 10, made his second camp appearance after attending summer school earlier in the day.

“I just love basketball,” said Salit, a La Cañada Flintridge resident. “My mom wants me to be active during the summer and this is a great place to come and learn about basketball.

“It’s amazing to be here with this many people.”

A summer without attending the event would be a foreign concept for Tommy Baktamian, who has attended the event since 2009.

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