Greenbrier Middle School's Dominic Smith, 12, jogs through the tires during a drill at the Football-R-Us conditioning camp at Lakeside Middle School.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Greenbrier Middle School student Ben Morgan ran sprints and did push-ups in the blazing afternoon sun while the temperature hovered at 95 degrees, and he loved it.
That's because when football season comes, the conditioning will pay off and give him an additional edge.
"When it comes football time, I'll be in shape and run without being winded," said the 12-year-old, who joined about 100 other boys for the annual conditioning program at Lakeside Middle School that ended July 31.
Under the direction of volunteers like coach Bart Chandler, the boys ran sprints, did push ups and leg lifts, and performed other drills specific to the sport of football.
"If we are true coaches, our goal is to move these young men to the next level," Chandler said.
Because team coaches around the county run such different offenses and defenses, the two-week conditioning program focused on general skills and overall conditioning rather than specifics.
"We give them the basics they will use on any team no matter where they play," Chandler said.
He joined volunteer coaches Donnie Hutchins, Ike Branch, Robbie Morgan and Mike Paul in teaching the skills while helping players become acclimated to the heat.
"I think the conditioning is a good thing," said John Tudor, who has brought sons to the training for four years. "They need more of it."
Lakeside Middle School's Carson Ducker, 13, races downfield with a group of participants in the Football-R-Us conditioning camp.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Over the course of the program, coaches saw improvement in endurance and skills, and got the satisfaction of knowing the boys are better prepared to go out for football.
The boys agreed, too, and many were so pleased by their progress they plan to return next year.
"Our reward is to see them come back," Chandler said.
Corbin Critz, one of those returning players, just wound up his third year at the camp and said he feels better prepared for the football season at Riverside Middle School.
The 13-year-old said he found the sprints the most useful drill.
"The conditioning gets you in shape for the season and lets you see friends from last year," Critz said.
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