BELDING — For three days, the Belding Redskins football coaching staff and varsity players are hosting a youth fundamentals camp at Rudness Field.
The camp began on Monday and wraps up today. The camp was for third through eighth graders, non-contact and focused on proper technique and skill development.
“Last year we had 28 kids. This year 52,” Schwander said. “Our varsity kids are fired up for it big time. They have been looking forward to it for a while.”
Schwander really enjoys the youth camp and is hoping to see the camp continue to grow.
“These kids have a lot of energy and a lot of excitement,” Schwander said. “For us the key is finding the best way to communicate to the community. There is a lot of hungry people that want to do this, but we have find the best way to make sure everyone knows about this.
“I have no doubt next year this will continue to grow,” he added.
The first two days of the camp focused on offensive and defensive skills. An hour was spent on both offense and defense with players rotating to various position stations.
The campers worked on ball security, ball recovery, running proper pass routes, position footwork, blocking and tackling, passing and more.
“Blocking and tackling and getting them to have the proper technique is probably the toughest,” Schwander said. “Any time you can use a bag with young kids to give them confidence to hit something is good. And then it’s getting them to use the right technique.
“We spend a lot of time going over tackling. This year more than ever for safety reasons and to be efficient,” he added.
Schwander also worked on special teams at the end of Tuesday’s session.
Today’s camp will also focus on special teams, but will also be game day. Campers will have some 7-on-7 activities and skill competitions like longest throw, punt and kick and a foot race to find the fastest camper.
“We will do a skills competition and then play some games. This is very similar to what we did over in Rockford,” Schwander said. “This is probably the funnest day of the camp for both the players and coaches. There is some pride in the results.”
Varsity ready for season
The offseason is winding down for the Redskins junior varsity and varsity teams with the first official practice on Aug. 12.
Belding conditions for a couple of days this week and then will have all of next week off ahead of two-a-days.
“We have conditioning tonight (Tuesday) and tomorrow (Wednesday),” Schwander said. “Dead period starts Thursday and we will lift Friday and test out to see where we are at from the summer. We could lift next week, but I’m giving the players and coaches a week off to relax and get ready for two-a-days.”
Schwnader said he likes his team and is ready for his second season as Belding coach to begin.
“We can never project how good we will be, but to have a good group of kids that work hard helps,” Schwander said. “We have a lot of seniors, we don’t have huge numbers, but they work hard and are good kids.”
The Redskins host Greenville on Aug. 29 at Rudness Field to start the season.