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- Published on Saturday, 28 July 2012 12:24
Elk City Youth Football Camp proves it's never too early to start thinking about football
Daily Elk Citian
Those who patiently wait each summer football season's return have probably uttered the phrase hundreds of times.
The sooner, the better.
So it goes for Elk City High School head football coach Jason Scheck when it comes to evaluating young talent. The ECHS Youth Football Fundamentals and Kicking Camp wrapped up Thursday, and Scheck said the earlier he and his staff can work with young players, the stronger the relationships will be with future Big Elk football players.
"That's the most important aspect [of the camp]," Scheck said, "getting those kids around [ECHS coaches] to where they learn who we are and understand our expectations from that young age. Getting to start building those bonds with them."
For more than five years the camp, which emphasizes basic football and kicking fundamentals to athletes from kindergarten to sixth grade, has also been a way to help spotlight talent in the younger classes.
"We went through some drills to see which kids have a little attitude," Scheck said. "We did some towel wrestling and they loved it. They didn't want to quit. It's good to see those types of things."
The fundamentals camp rotated players to various position stations, including offensive line, running backs, quarterbacks, and receivers. Waiting at each area were the respective position coaches at ECHS and varsity football players.
"You know which kids are pretty natural and which kids will have to work at it," Scheck said. "Hopefully, they will work at and even if they're a natural, they will put in a little time and effort to get better than they already are."
Kicking camp attendees rotated similarly, as they worked on point-after attempts and field goals on a makeshift upright, made from the track team's high-jump station. Deep snapping, punting, and deep kicking were also points of emphasis.
Scheck said with kicking, players were encouraged to get a feel for it on their own and develop a natural method.
"If you let them go get after it, they'll figure it out pretty naturally, tweaking it on there own. I think a lot of youth athletics are over-coached. Sometimes we try to break it down into too many pieces for kids and we blow their minds. [With that approach] we've created robots, instead of athletes."
PRACTICES APPROACHING, NO SCRIMMAGE SCHEDULED
On Tuesday, August 7, the Elks will hold their first practice of the 2012 season. The team will jump in to workouts still undecided on whether or not there will be a preseason scrimmage against another school.
In the past, gaining quality scrimmages has been difficult because many teams are already scheduled to participate in scrimmages they have been in for years, Scheck said.
"Last year we kind of fell into a scrimmage, but it was one of those things where we didn't get a whole lot out of it. If something came up where we could find one or join one, we would do it. It's just been difficult to get quality scrimmages set up."
Scheck said he has inquired to several area teams about a preseason game, but they were all booked. The team will conduct intra-squad scrimmages, but would be open to participating with another team or two in a three-way, especially because of the open date in the seasons third week.
"I've got a couple guys I'll talk to in the next week to see if we can get a scrimmage in one of those first two weeks," Scheck said.
NEW COORDINATOR SETTLED IN
New ECHS defensive coordinator, Jeff Metcalf, who was hired May 9, has found a home in Elk City and will be present when practices begin.
Metcalf comes from Cashion High School, but found his way to town after a job he accepted in Blackwell becomes less-than appealing, due to personnel changes in the administration.
SCHECK ON EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS
The ECHS football program follows closely the "Bigger, Faster, Stronger" strength and conditioning program, which also has set nutrition guidelines for athletes who wish to achieve lean muscle mass. The program was founded through the help of Boyd Epley, who in the late 70s and early 80s was a strength and conditioning pioneer at the University of Nebraska.
One benefit of BFS, Scheck said, is the program sends representatives around the country to run tests to see where athletes fit on the national scale, based on performances. Subsequently, the program sets national standards of speed, agility, and strength, to which high school athletes can compare themselves.
"We tell our kids all the time… being pretty good compared to all the other Elk City kids is one thing. Being pretty good nationally is something completely different."
The program can be used as a motivational tool, to keep players working toward a higher goal, Scheck said.
"We say, 'Hey, this is where you are at Elk City, you're the fastest guy we have. But this is where you fit in nationally overall… you still need to keep working.'"