Football camps have become more than just an opportunity to spend a week learning more about a favorite sport. They’re becoming a critical piece of a high school program’s future.
The local camps sponsored by the high schools in the Mansfield school district are offered in almost all sports for elementary and middle school students, with most programs having a special session geared for incoming freshmen.
The primary benefit for football programs such as Mansfield Summit is that future Jaguars gain insight as to what they can expect in the years ahead.
It becomes even more important for programs such as Summit, where head coach Channon Hall is entering just his second season.
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Even starting with second, third or fourth-graders, it starts to build those relationships. We want them to be a Jaguar.
- Mansfield Summit football coach Channon Hall
Hall was able to work in a camp prior to his first year last summer after moving in from Killeen Shoemaker.
“First of all, it’s good to relate to the kids in the program,” Hall said. “Even starting with second, third or fourth-graders, it starts to build those relationships. We want them to be a Jaguar. Even with the seventh, eighth and ninth-graders, we build a base foundation of terminology and what to call things when we get out of camp. We don’t want it to be a foreign language when they get to you,” he said of the eventual Summit players.
Summit finished last season with a 4-6 record, and improved communication and knowledge of the system on both sides of the ball would no doubt be of benefit.
Hall said the drills are all geared for a purpose, too.
“We pick three main drills for each position and they are all aligned with our terminology,” he said. “We teach them how we’re going to do it and teach it. We do the drills that coincide with our base foundation.”
That consistency and continuity throughout a player’s tenure in the system are intended to pay off when it comes time to take the field for Summit.
That also means that the coaching staff works with the middle school coaches to orient them to how they should teach the basics and schemes.
Hall said they make sure the farm system of coaches are all on the same page, but they also are afforded flexibility to make sure their middle school programs can adapt to their personnel and specific needs.
The camp amounts to introductory practices, with the schools’ coaches — and participants — seeming to enjoy the experience.
“Any time you can be around the kids and they’re hearing things you want to say, it’s a great opportunity. But building relationships is the biggest part,” Hall said.