Photos and Story By Fredy Ramirez
La Salle football, in Pasadena, hosted a week long flag football camp on what turned out to be a beautiful summer week starting July 10.
Per usual, the children threw the ball around before camp started. The more youth showed up, the more enthusiastic the environment.
As the children warmed up, Head Coach Russell Gordon and staff walked around and spoke words of encouragement to the youth. There is something about summer and waking up early that make children a bit groggy. Coach Gordon remedied that quickly with a little warm up drill.
Like most football camps, it is more than just football. Skills that translate to the real world such as teamwork became heavily emphasized. At the end of the day, Coach Gordon talked about getting things done in the classroom first. He emphasized the student aspect of the student athlete to these children.
“Education is extremely important. At the end of the day football is just a game. Education is the key to success.” said Coach Gordon.
Coach Gordon and staff seemed genuinely happy to be on the field training these youth. The flag football camp consisted of approximately 40 children which allowed from more individual attention.
The first half of the camp consisted of defensive drills.
The coaches ran three groups that focused on the defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs fundamentals. The children would then rotate so they received the opportunity to practice each position.
After a quick water break, they transitioned into the “grunt work.” This is where the children received footwork training. Box drill, bag drill and the ladder drill are what the youth attempted to master. None of them did but the improvement became evident as they rotated.
The sun glared down of the field so water breaks occurred often, typically after all the youth received the opportunity to go through all the drills.
The last half of the day focused on offensive.
The coaches ran four groups that focused on running backs, offensive linemen, wide receivers and quarterbacks.
The running backs focused on catching the ball out of the backfield which most under value. A running back that can catch a ball out of the backfield is another weapon for the quarterback.
The quarter backs focused on their footwork for a hitch or slant route. The routes require the ball to come out quick so footwork is particularly important. This is more so if the offensive linemen allow the pocket to collapse.
The offensive linemen worked on the drive block. The point of this block is to get lower than the opponent and drive them back. The drive block is for the running game but the running game opens up lanes for wide receivers.
The wide receivers worked on catching the ball. They focused on catching the ball on different kinds of routes. This would prepare the children for the last event of the day; Lancer ball.
Lancer ball is the basically ultimate football and the children loved it. The competitive environment led for some heated competition. The youth did not want to lose and would get upset if they dropped a ball or made and errant throw.
The camp ended with Coach Gordon explaining that all of the drills build upon each other and would eventually lead to a game of 7-on-7.
“Everything is a progression. Learning proper technique and fundamentals is important.” said Coach Gordon.
This is the last flag football camp for La Salle high school as they begin to prepare for the 2017 football season.
- La Salle campers warming before beginning football activities.
- Coach Gordon focusing the campers.
- The defensive linemen practicing their get-offs
- The campers doing the high-knee bag drill.
- Coach Willie Tuitama working with the QBs on their footwork.
- The campers running routes.
- QBS throwing hitch routes and slants.
- Coach Gordon talking to the campers about the importance of school.