Don English, coach for the 12U Pasadena Chargers is making a difference for youth athletes on and off the playing field. English, several youth coaches from the Anne Arundel football league, and local high school coaches came together to host a three day football camp at The Severn School from June 26-28. The camp’s official name is the Maryland Middle School Combine; the camp focused on position techniques and drills, combine testing and athletic conditioning led by API (Athletic Performance Inc.), facilitating relationships with youth players, their parents, and high school coaches, and the importance of association as a scholar athlete. 2009 marks the second year of English’s three day camp and with over 70 participants and some of the best youth and high school coaches on board, English’s three day camp provides a great service to Maryland’s youth.
The goal of the program was to evaluate players over the three day period in different position testing drills (lead by high school coaches) and some of the basic combine test: 40 yard dash and pro agility (led by API). Players were instructed on the proper ways to perform each test/drill and evaluated on technique, explosion, and timing throughout the camp. At the conclusion of the youth season, English’s plan is put together another showcase to re-evaluate players and their progress.
When MDYF was present at the camp, coaches from Arch Bishop Curley: Rocco Bruno, Terry Heintzen, and John Locthe were working with running backs and linebackers. Running backs focused on agility, cutting, stance, handoffs, hit and spin, and the stiff arm; while linebacker drills focused on stance, agility, footwork, formation responsibilities, and reading/reacting to offense. Over the first two days of camp, coaches explained processes to players, critiqued performance, and recorded times. On the last day players put together everyting they learned and were timed through all drills, every player received written and verbal feedback from their high school lead position coaches on areas of improvement, so that they can work on and improve their fundamentals.
Troy Wilson, head football coach at The Severn School worked with the quarterbacks; his position drills focused on the 3 and 5 step drops, timing, reading defenses, routes, and the rollout. While most of his time was spent on technique and form, Wilson made sure all participants understood the leadership qualities QB’s must understand and practice, as even if the QB is the captain of the team, he is the leader of the offense.
MDYF also spoke to Will Ruhl, parent of Mackenzie Ruhl who plays for the Pasadena Chargers 13U team. He played wide receiver and was return specialist at Penn State from 1990-1994, where he won three bowl rings in four years. He spent his time during the camp helping out with receivers and defensive backs, it was refreshing to hear his reason for participating was to ensure his son and others had the opportunity to showcase their abilities to local coaches, stay out of trouble, and to have fun!
Along with skills portion of the camp, English made sure to designate a portion of each day as a forum to discuss the dangers and consequences that come from associating with gangs and the importance of school. When questioned ¾ of camp participants responded that they knew of gangs in their area and ¼ knew people that use or sell drugs. Considering the age of participants, this was surprising to several parents, but served as an eye opener to discuss these issues further with their children.
We all know the term student athlete, but everyone is a student; English and MDYF want youth players to be scholar athlete’s, excelling well over mediocrity on the football field and in life. English’s three day camp was a success and MDYF appreciates the work he and the other members did to host such a positive event; MDYF looks forward to working with them in the future.
Other high school coaches present at the camp included: Mike Whittles (Spalding), Ron Smalley (Old Mill), Donald Davis (Calvert Hall), Brian Abbott (Loyola), and Bill McGregor (DaMatha).