By Mark Carpenter –
Before the grind of two-a-days begins next week, the varsity football players in North Adams got a chance to help out their future replacements as the Devils football program hosted a four day Youth Mini-Camp, July 24-27.
A total of 45 campers, third through sixth graders, took part in the camp, a number that was very pleasing to North Adams varsity coach Justin Schmitz.
“The numbers this week are a major improvement over the past two years,” Schmitz told The Defender. “We are just focusing this week on offensive and defensive fundamentals. We want them to have fun and learn the fundamentals of football.”
“We are capping off every night with some kind of speaker to talk about what it means to be a North Adams Green Devils football player. Mark Davis was our speaker Monday night and he was awesome.”
With his young campers, Schmitz and his staff plus high school athletes, used a lot of repetition to get their point across, much like teachers in an elementary classroom might do. For example on Tuesday night of the camp, Schmitz was working with the youngsters on the three steps in blocking, having them repeat them and practice them over and over.
“Hopefully when these kids finish up this week, they will be ready to be handed off to their respective coaches and already be coached up on all the fundamentals,” said Schmitz. “Those coaches can then keep building on that.”
“By the time they leave here, they should be ready to go.”
“Every year we put on this youth mini-camp and we have our varsity kids do most of the work,” Schmitz continued. “I think it’s important to make it a generational thing so our high school kids can see all these younger kids. A lot of the high school kids here started in this camp as sixth graders.”
“For our high school squad, two-a-days will start for us on July 31 and we have scrimmages with Williamsburg and Hughes and then a very tough regular season opener on Aug. 18 with Mason County.