GREENVILLE – With a record number of boys in attendance, Greenville football coach Aaron Shaffer said the Green Wave’s youth football camp mirrored the growth of Greenville’s high school football program.
A total of 42 boys in the second through sixth grades, mostly from Greenville along with several from St. Marys and one from California, attended Greenville’s youth football camp this week. The camp was scheduled to run for three days but was shortened to two after Monday’s session was rained out.
Shaffer along with other Greenville football coaches from the high school and junior high ranks plus several high school players still were able to pack a lot of instruction into Tuesday and Wednesday’s sessions.
On Tuesday the campers split time between the inside and outside, watching a highlight video from last year’s varsity team and learning mental aspects of football. They then spent the rest of their time Tuesday and all of Wednesday outside going through drills that focused on various fundamentals before playing games to finish the camp.
“We don’t break into position groups,” Shaffer said. “There aren’t linemen. There aren’t’ running backs. They all get to do all the drills.”
Each camper went through drills that taught them footwork, how to take handoffs and make cuts, how to run routes and catch a football, how to stand and move in a three-point stance and how to tackle.
“It’s real important to us that we try to keep our players as safe as possible and minimize their injury risk,” Shaffer said. “We utilize a lot of the Heads Up Football concepts that a lot of programs are using. Tackling today is changing. For a long, long time coaches taught players to put their head across the body and use what I would consider to be their most important or most valuable organ as a way to stop a ball carrier, and that’s just not the way we’re going to do things.”
With 42 boys, this year’s camp is the largest in the three years that Shaffer has run it. Attendance was up from 28 a year ago and showed there’s a lot of excitement among the boys for the sport of football.
“The growth of our camp mirrors kind of the growth of our program in general,” Shaffer said. “More kids are coming out and having a good time and learning some of the things that maybe they won’t learn between now and whenever it is they start playing football. The excitement, it’s really neat to see the kids come out and play and get excited for each other. The energy and spirit that some of these young boys have for the game, it’s really refreshing.”