Monday, July 9, 2012

Jackets host kids football camp


Football may seem easy when playing a video game, but dozens of young players recently learned about the hard work ? on and off the field ? that goes into the sport.

Approximately 75 campers battled the 90-degree heat the last week of June to participate in a youth football camp at Fort Mill High School. The campers, aged 5 to 14, ran drills, watched film from the varsity team last year and received tours of the locker and training rooms. The campers even participated in a football obstacle course, complete with tackle bags and a push sled and played other games, such as tug of war.

The kids were broken up into age groups (from 5-7, 8-9, 10-11 and 12-14) to ensure they were practicing with kids their own age and size. Several of the participants are already on Gold Hill Middle School?s football team. High school students who assisted head coach Ed Susi with the camp included defensive end Stuart Swinford, defensive tackle Cooper Clegg, running back Tony Godbolt, wide receiver Josh Lafoe, linebacker George Hunter, defensive lineman Zach Dulcie and center Ryan Tankersly.

?It was fun teaching them,? Swinford said. ?We basically did our offensive and defensive practice routine with them so they really got to experience what we do in practice.?

Offensive line coach Frank Ambrose said the camp was about teaching the campers the fundamentals of playing football.

?We don?t have anyone just playing running back or anyone just playing linebacker, they play it all because you never know what they will grow up into,? he said.

Stephanie Reyes enrolled her son, Ray, a rising third grader at Pleasant Knoll, in the camp for different reasons.

?He is really into extreme sports such as skateboarding and he really likes dirt bikes. I thought this would be a good compromise for us,? she said.

According to Reyes, the kids will walk away with more than just knowledge of the fundamentals of football.

?They have a really no nonsense way of doing things that really makes them listen. And it?s not in a condescending or belittling way at all, it?s just in a very direct manner that makes the kids pay attention and listen to what they?re saying,? she said. ?As a result, they really learn. The coaches have that same ability that teachers in the classroom do to make them learn.?


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