GREENVILLE – Greenville had 33 boys in the second through sixth grades attend its youth football camp this week.
“Most of all we just want to start building some of those relationships with those younger player, kids who are either playing pee-wee or don’t necessarily play pee-wee but plan on playing in the future, and let our high school kids come out and be around and teach some of the things,” Greenville varsity football coach Aaron Shaffer said.
Shaffer was joined throughout the three days of camp by his assistant coaches and about a dozen of his high school players to lead the camp.
“It’s nice that our (high school) kids are coming out, and it’s fun to watch them play air ball at the end with them and have a good time,” Shaffer said.
Throughout the week all the boys learned about all the various positions on the football field.
“We work on all aspects of the game,” Shaffer said. “We do some running back, some receiver, some linebacker, some O-line, D-line. The ones that they love the most is when they’ve got the ball in their hands so we focus a lot on fundamentals of how to take a handoff, the proper ways to catch a ball, route running, things like that … very simple stuff that you can teach them early and it carries over to when they get into junior high and high school.”
In addition to learning the basic skills of football, Shaffer and his staff emphasized proper tackling form.
“Really one of the big things we focus on is tackling and technique,” Shaffer said. “Today was just kind of a fun tackling drill day where on Monday we spent a lot more time on the fundamentals of eyes up.”
Greenville teaches a tackling technique that was popularized by the Seattle Seahawks. The technique is designed to make players keep their heads up, which should help prevent head injuries.
“Hopefully we start teaching that early on so we keep safety in mind with our young guys as they continue to progress through their careers,” Shaffer said.
Along with the football skills, the Green Wave also instill life lessons into the campers. The main themes the camp focused on included being grateful, being a good teammate and taking care of your school.
“Those things are important to us as our kids grow through elementary school and into junior high and high school and then beyond into their adult lives,” Shaffer said.
Throughout the three days of camp the boys showed a lot of progress.
“It’s really kind of amazing,” Shaffer said. “We caught routes every day, and early on that first day it was a little rough in terms of catching the ball. Kids, they become more comfortable with what you’re doing and they start learning.”