INDIAN TRAIL – When Deb Balducci arrived at Carolina Courts almost 10 years ago, it was a small up-and-coming establishment that focused solely on basketball and volleyball, but a lot has changed since then.
While the main focus is still on basketball and volleyball, the scope in which they’re operating in is much larger.
“We have a great program with both basketball and volleyball and, interestingly enough, we offer our programs all year round because there was a really big need for them,” said Balducci, who is the director of volleyball, a former Division 1 player and a school teacher who was also recently hired as the Parkwood High School volleyball coach. “We used to not have night programs, but we now have 100 to 150 kids in our program and it keeps getting bigger. Our volleyball program as a whole has about 400 girls and boys in it and the basketball program is a lot bigger.”
With so much growth, Carolina Courts needed to change venues to accommodate the numbers they were getting.
So, about four and a half years ago, they moved into their new building at 240 Chestnut Pkwy., across the street from the old building on U.S. 74.
The move has helped with court space, although Balducci said at times it still doesn’t seem like enough room with all that is going on inside Carolina Courts. It has also opened the door for a new summer camp this season to go with basketball and volleyball camps that are designed for every skill level and run all summer long.
“We’ve grown tremendously,” she said. “We started off with four or five camps for the summer and now we’re offering 10 to 15 different varieties of camp during the week which run Monday through Thursday and every week from June through August. And we have beginner, intermediate and advanced sessions each month so there is really something for everyone.”
And for those who don’t want to be just a volleyball or basketball player, Carolina Courts is unveiling a new all-sports camp that will dabble in volleyball, basketball, Wiffleball, flag football, sand volleyball, tennis and pickleball.
“It’s the first year we’re doing it, but it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Balducci said. “The weeks will end with a combine where the kids can show off all that they’ve learned.”
No matter which camp is the perfect fit –whether it be the all-sports camp or any level of basketball that runs from beginner to advanced and even Basketball Director Anthony George’s Professional and Collegiate Summer Camp – Balducci is confident campers will get a lot out of the experience.
“We are experts in our area, so we give parents what they pay for,” she said. “A big percentage of our coaches are either former Division 1 players or they are area high school coaches. We have the Mint Hill Middle School coach and coaches from Arborbrook, Butler and Union Academy so we have a multitude of high-level coaches. It’s a great staff.
“And the best part for the kids is that they are going to have a lot of fun and they are getting quality instruction. We focus on the whole athlete – not just the basketball or volleyball side – so some of our high-level camps will have leadership training and things like that. But each camp, whether it’s a beginner or our highly competitive camps, has a game plan for the coaches to follow, so it’s not just roll the ball out and have fun. We have some good quality skill and drill, we have good competitions and we have fun, but it’s also based on technique and skill development. We want them to have fun, but we also want them to have improved by the time they leave us.”
Aside from the camps and programs for basketball and volleyball, Balducci, George and their staff offer one-on-one and small group sessions for those interested.
But, Balducci warns, if it’s summer camps that are of interest, parents better act soon to get a spot in the camps they want. Each camp is detailed on the Carolina Courts website (www.carolinacourts.com).
“The bottom line is that we want them to have fun in a great, safe environment,” she said. “As a parent myself, I know this is a safe environment with a great child check-in and checkout system in place. Our master coaches are teaching them, but they’re also disciplined and in a safe environment. We want them to have the skills and the love of the sport. They’re not all going to be college-level players or top-notch athletes, but there is something for everyone here. Every level can be successful and that’s something we really pride ourselves on.”