by John Unrein
A summer morning at 76 degrees, with a partly cloudy sky, and a cool breeze is not a bad way to start your day as a middle schooler. It’s even better if you get to practice a sport you like with your friends.
That’s exactly what awaited Grain Valley Eagle Middle School football players as they participated in team camp on July 9th. The 32 enrolled camp attendees received instruction from the middle school and high school football staffs at Moody Murray Memorial Stadium.
Eagles Varsity Head Football Coach David Allie has goals he wants accomplished during the time spent at camp. “We want to teach these young men how to do things our way, get them accustomed to the terminology we use, introduce them to our offensive and defensive systems, and most importantly create an environment where they learn and have fun.”
“Some of these guys have been at summer weights, gotten to know some of the coaches, and are becoming part of the family. It’s also great for the junior high coaches to see how we (the varsity coaches) teach things and be around one another since we are not directly connected during our season,” Allie said.
Camp days alternate between the offensive and defensive sides of the football. July 9th was a defensive day that saw little wasted movement and not much standing around by participants. Tackling circuit stations were first on the agenda after warmups.
Coaches placed a strong emphasis on heads up tackling using the proper technique, so that good habits are formed at a young age within the sport. More than a few camp attendees smiled while attacking the tackling ring, the sled dummy, or trapping the football all with youthful vigor.
Learning fundamentals the correct way is a foundation for success in any sport. Even better when time is spent before and during a drill by coaches to make sure that the shoulder is the first point of contact on a tackle with your eyes up, or that your head is behind the legs of a ball carrier as you strike a tackling ring and take it to the ground. Little things like this matter in building the confidence of young men who participate in a contact sport.
Other things emphasized during defensive days of camp included pursuit drill, individual fundamental period, and team fronts and stunts. Camp attendees learned proper angles to take pursuing a ball carrier, how to drop correctly in a zone, keying the football to avoid being offsides, and knowing what gap to attack when a pressure call is given.
High school varsity football camp will be held the week of July 22nd. Current physicals are due for fall sports participants by August 12th. A link to the MSHSAA Physical Form may be found on the Grain Valley School District website under the Sports and Activities link.