No shortage of learning about fitness, basketball

GLENDALE — There are plenty of avenues for Tony Passarella to go down when teaching youngsters some of the finer points on fitness and basketball.

The Glendale resident has things precisely mapped out for those who arrive at the Pacific Park Community Center to be a part of his annual Basketball, Training and Fitness Camp

Other than a few breaks throughout the year, the energetic Passarella can be found explaining the importance of how to warm up properly before taking to the court to educate children on the fundamentals of basketball during four separate 10-week sessions. Passarella, 66, hatched the idea of coordinating the event 11 years ago.

“I get all kinds of kids, some who are attending one of my camps for the first time and others who have been coming here multiple times,” Passarella said. “The best thing to see is them stick it out for all 10 weeks so that they’ve picked up a thing or two. That’s very cool. It gives me a big thrill to see that they want to learn some different things.”

Passarella offers a class geared for ages 5-7, followed by a session for ages 8-11.

Typically, Passarella will spend the first 15-20 minutes of a session focusing on stretching and exercising. That’s followed by going over multiple basketball drills, including passing, dribbling and shooting.

“I look to get them stretching and doing some agility drills,” said Passarella, whose summer camp wrapped up Thursday. “Then we go over a drill or two before having a mini-scrimmage during the last 10 minutes.”

Passarella monitors the progress being made by each individual who steps on to the floor. He’ll bring some cones and dot the court with them so each participant can weave their way while dribbling from one end of the floor to near midcourt.

Josiah De Leon, 6, successfully completed the task twice while also learning about the importance of exercising.

“I just want to come here and work on different things,” said De Leon, a Glendale resident. “I want to spend more time exercising and learning how to dribble and shoot better.”

Daniel Chang, 11, has attended many of Passarella’s camps.

Chang, a Glendale resident who attends Mark Keppel Elementary School, said there’s no shortage of picking up valuable information from Passarella throughout the year.

“It’s my sixth year of coming to Tony’s camps,” Chang said. “He teaches you the basics and then some of the more advanced things.

“It’s great to be able to learn from somebody like him. He’s taught me everything I know about basketball.”

The next 10-week class will begin Sept. 11 at the same venue. For more information, contact Passarella at (818) 517-8822 or via email at

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