By Garth Shanklin
There’s a bit of a different look to West Clermont’s football camp this summer.
As opposed to the typical three-day camp (which will still be held in late July), West Clermont football has opted for a longer, more developmental approach to the incoming seventh and eighth grade classes.
Football camps in the West Clermont district are nothing new, head coach Nick Ayers said, but this year’s camp is more for team building than normal.
“We’ve always done camps, ever since I worked for Zac Taylor,” Ayers said. “The way I’m doing it this year, it’s more developmental. Typically, when we do camps, it’s three days in a row. We felt, developmentally and with relationships for the kids, we would go a longer term. Over a two-month period, we do 12 sessions. It’s a conditioning, team camaraderie, culture building, things like that.”
In addition to the team building aspect of the camps, Ayers said he runs the players through a few different drills.
“A lot of it is first-step footwork, up to five yards,” Ayers said. “There is a lot of safety stuff, measures come in and we do a lot of body work with the kids, a lot of stuff that’s a systematic approach. The kids learn the expectations going into middle school a bit easier when coming to the camp, they learn how the flow of practices will go. It’s a bit easier, it eases their mind. Once they develop the process, it makes things easier for them.”
As of this writing, two of the camp’s 12 sessions are in the books, and Ayers said they’ve been positive experiences so far.
“They’ve been really good,” Ayers said. “The groups are great. There are a lot of kids in baseball right now, so as we go we pick up 5-10 kids at a time. As we go through the summer, it’ll continue to pick up. It’s not a matter of getting the kids in a specific kind of shape or strength, it’s just a matter of getting them together, building that teamwork they need for a sport like football.”
Ayers is not running the camp by himself. Five West Clermont football players are there with him, with each one working with a certain grade level. Max Beckman, Ryan Cann, Jacob Kilgore, Lorenzo Jones and Devon Boykin all help Ayers with the camp.
Any West Clermont seventh and eighth grader interested in the camp can still join. The cost of the camp is $50, and Ayers said he is willing to work with families who may need assistance. He also added he expects more kids to attend later sessions, after family vacations and summer baseball wrap up.
In addition, Ayers said the school will be having a camp for younger kids later in the summer.
“Kids can come in and sign up for it,” Ayers said. “We have a Friday Night Lights camp at the end of July, so kids can come sign up for that. That’s for grades K-6th. We also have 10 remaining sessions in the summer with the middle school kids.”
For more information on the camps, you can reach out to Ayers on social media, where a flyer with his phone number can be found. He finished by saying he’s excited for the 2018 campaign to begin, as West Clermont looks to build off a 7-4 mark and a playoff appearance in the school’s first season of existence.
“We’re just really excited for the season, hopefully we get better at coaching so we can put our kids in a better situation,” Ayers said.
Reach Garth Shanklin at email@example.com or via phone at 513-732-2511 ext. 112.