Camp Spotlight - Ryan Kittleson
For this month’s Camp Spotlight we are again highlighting our Summer Camp program. We hear from Coach Ryan Kittleson. Coach Ryan has been working with our youth camps for over seven years and has been involved with basketball throughout his entire life.
Tell us a little about yourself- playing and coaching experience, international travels, etc.
As a player, I was a high school state champion at Billings West High School before playing in college. I then attended Dickinson State University where I was a team captain and starting point guard. After playing, I took the assistant coaching job at Dickinson State where I was in charge of player development and skill training. I also began to run camps and clinics across the midwestern states before moving to Central Florida to work with the National Basketball Academy. I’ve now coached in over ten countries and worked with countless professional players across the globe. I take pride in running some of the best camps and programs right here in Central Florida.
Aside from basketball, did you participate in any other youth sports programs growing up?
When I was younger I used to participate in all kinds of sports programs including football, baseball, and track & field.
What does a standard Orlando Magic camp look like? Can you walk us through the week?
A standard Orlando Magic Camp is a way for all players to improve while also having a lot of fun. We work on skill development stations for all players as well as have live game play each day. There will be competitions and contests each day for campers to win prizes and giveaway items. One great thing about Orlando Magic camp is you never know which guests will show up to share basketball knowledge and teach in’s and out’s of the game. Included in camp, each camper will also receive an evaluation from the coaching staff on some of the strengths or weaknesses so they know where they stand, and what areas of the game they can continue working on. Lastly, campers will get an official Orlando Magic basketball, T-shirt, and a ticket to watch an Orlando Magic home game for the upcoming season!
Approximately how many participants have you instructed during your time overseeing Orlando Magic camps?
During my seven years with the Orlando Magic Camps I have instructed over 10,000 players and counting.
What is an underrated skill or drill that you like to see from your campers?
Two of the most underrated skills that I always try to teach are jump stops and ball fakes. Both are basic fundamental skills but if used correctly they can really give you an advantage.
Any advice for a child that is interested in playing the game of basketball?
Approach the game with a positive attitude and give great effort. When you do that you will always be able to have fun playing the game.
What is your favorite aspect about our camp program?
For me, the favorite part of our camp program is watching the progression each camper shows over the course of the week. It doesn’t matter where the campers skill level is on day one, it is always elevated by the end of the week. In addition, campers are able to meet new teammates and interact with one another to form friendships that go beyond just basketball.
Why should a potential participant choose our camp over any other camp in town?
Our camp program really is unique as it continues to evolve and change the lives of our campers. Our professional staff is fortunate to teach a great game of basketball, but we instill values of hard work, discipline, communication, and teamwork to name a few. All of which all are equally important off the court as they are on.
Do you have a favorite Magic player and/or Magic memory?
My favorite player would be Terrence Ross and I loved seeing the Magic win game 1 in Toronto in the 2019 playoffs!
Obviously you have a very busy summer with our camp program. Do you have any travel plans after the program wraps up?
I will be keeping busy traveling to Atlanta and Las Vegas to coach our 11th grade travel team. In October, I’ll also be headed back to Europe to do some more coaching internationally.
Lastly, tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I grew up in Montana, lived there for 23 years but I actually dislike snow and cold weather.