Summer football camps benefit to both high school players, teams

Published 8:56 pm Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The summer is seen as a time to relax and enjoy some down time. But for high school football players, it’s a time to get in shape and work on their skills.

Along with the summer workouts they attend for their school teams, some high school players choose to attend camps held by college football coaches and their staffs. Not only are these camps beneficial to the individual players who go to them, but also the high school teams benefit from its players attending these camps, getting instruction from college coaches and competing with hundreds of other players from around the area and from other states.

Washington, Northside and Southside have had players who’ve gone to multiple camps so far this summer, including camps in Greenville held by East Carolina University’s football coach, Scottie Montgomery.

Pam Pack coach Jon Blank, Panther coach Keith Boyd and Seahawk coach Jeff Carrow all said they encourage their players to attend these summer football camps and be seen by college coaches.

“We want our kids to have the exposure that it takes to get recruited to the next level,” Blank said. “We preach all the time about weight room numbers and track speed and class room numbers, but that has to translate to getting to these camps and combines and impressing the coaches. And that’s kind of the point in everything we do, to have what we do translate to our players at least being eligible and able to be recruited for college.”

Not only do the high school coaches encourage players to attend these camps, they also work with their players if there are scheduling conflicts with any of the high school team’s workouts.

“I never discourage any kids from going to a camp. You let me know what camp you’re going to, we’ll mark it down and if it’s during one of our summer workouts, we’ll mark it down and we’ll give you credit for attendance. As long as you’re going to try and support your football career with it, we’re good,” Carrow said. “Obviously we’ll want them with us as much as we can, but we do know that if the kid’s confident enough to have a future at the next level, we want to be able to get him exposure also.”

The high school coaches are so supportive of their players attending these camps because there are many benefits in going. It helps players get recruited because college coaches can see the players up close and get a feel for what they can do. The players can also brush up on their skills by getting instruction from collegiate coaches and learn new techniques and drills.

Attending these camps can also be a bit of an eye-opening experience for a high school football player. They are attended by hundreds of kids, some from other states, showing the players that attend what they’re competition for a spot on a college team looks like.

“It kind of gives the kids an eye opener of how much talent really is out there, so they can tell themselves, ‘well, I need to work on this better. I’m a speed guy, I got good speed, decent strength, but I don’t catch very well,’” Carrow said. “You go to that camp and realize how many ball drills they actually do. That’s going to give them an example, ‘hey, I got to get my hands better. I’ve got to work on this.’”

The experiences the players gain from attending these camps also helps them grow as leaders. Blank said he has his players who go to a summer football camp talk to the rest of the team about the experience, and Boyd believes what his players bring back from the camps can help his squad too.

“It helps them mature as a leader, I think,” Boyd said. “I think it helps those kids grow up, and I think, allow those kids to become your leaders because they have gotten out of the box and experienced other things and bringing it back to your team, what they have done, what they saw.”

Blank, Boyd and Carrow all said they definitely don’t hold it against a player for not going to a summer football camp, due to the fact the camp’s price or location can make it difficult to attend. But they’re all in agreement that the players who do go are showing initiative.

“It tells us that they’re willing to work,” Carrow said. “They want to be successful; they want to be able to see different competition. Some of these camps are hard to afford for some kids and some of them are hard to get to. But a kid that’s willing and wanting to do these things, it just shows us that they got football on their minds. Even if they go to a camp and have a poor performance, at least they’re out there trying to get better at their craft.”