Camp prepares kids for the real deal

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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Beau Gleason attended the full contact youth football camp last week at Oak Ridge High to see if he was ready, willing and able to play football this summer. The 12-year-old Folsom boy tried out last year, but did not make his youth football team and he?s wasn?t about to throw in the towel until he tried again. ?I?m thinking about playing football this year,? Gleason said. ?I?m going to see how I do at this camp and I?ll decide whether I?ll try out again this year. I?m just trying to learn as much as I can so I know what to do.? While many of the 180 kids at the West Coast Youth Football Full Contact Camp are football veterans, there are just as many if not more kids like Gleason, who are getting an introduction to the sport. Of the 170 kids at last year?s camp, only 60 had played tackle football before. Nevertheless, the camp serves both types of player. ?This camp is great for the kids that haven?t played tackle football before,? said Mark Watson, Oak Ridge football coach and co-founder of West Coast Youth Football. ?It?s great for that player to have three days to get excited about football, see how they feel and find out if they?re ready to play.? The three-day camp is broken into two 1 hour, 45-minute sessions each day. A typical day features an opening stretch followed by tackling drills, individual offensive and then defensive drills followed with a group session. After a 30-minute break and another period to stretch, players have a live tackling drill and an individual and then group defensive session followed by an individual and group offensive session before the session is over. ?Our number one goal is to show the fun of football,? said Watson. ?What we want to accomplish after that is to teach the fundamentals of football, the techniques of teaching blocking and tackling. Everything is in a progression, from teaching the proper technique, to using a bag, to going one-one-one and then three-on-three and hopefully finishing off with a scrimmage on the third day.?