Youth Football Online visited the Junior Rank football camp in Bridgewater, NJ this weekend- it was another memorable camp loaded with the state’s best youth football talent. This report will cover offensive and defensive line play.
The weather could best be described as a scorcher- it was over 90 degrees on the football field- but the kids ignored the conditions and focused on football. Junior Rank camp kicked off with dynamic warmups drills, a grueling set of calisthenics led by the US Marine Corps.
The transition into football drills was seamless. They mixed up the various drills masterfully. The intention was to train these athletes to be able to move in all directions with great accuracy, quickness and coordination.
Assisting with the ladder drills were a skilled group of Junior Rank coaches with a helping hand from the Marine corps-
Followed by an emphatic ’10! ‘ signaling a costly (10 pushup) misstep while performing the ladder drill. You had to do it right, otherwise you’d be facing the ground, completing 5 pushups. The Marines were very involved in this camp, taking part in all the drills. If a kid struggled to perform his assigned pushups, a Marine would be there to support with solid words of encouragement.
Following the football drills I had a chance to sit in and watch Coach Garcia teach kids about playing the offensive line. It’s often not considered a glamorous position, but it is one of the most important positions on the football field.
Coach Garcia initially noted that the kids were dragging their feet in that 5 yard space. It’s a tight space to do battle for a lineman, he stressed the importance of good footwork.
Left foot behind, first whistle, kick, followed by punch.
“No getting beat!”
He stressed the violent punch.
Coach recommended offensive linemen develop explosiveness from the upper and lower body. Coach loves the clapping pushups to help build explosive movements.
Back peddle with punch:
Popping up should be eliminating, it’s better to stay low.
Explosiveness, keeping a low keep center of gravity.
“Don’t just walk backwards, Kick!”
“Kick, head up, punch.!”
On the other side of the line of scrimmage, I went to report on the defensive linemen:
Coach had a unique way of teaching the line. He stressed that the arm really consists a a wrist, forearm, elbow and shoulder and the importance of the each piece of the arm. Why are so important? The ability to freeze and move.
“Hit the elbow, the shoulders turn..”
Work on getting hand off the body, then get to elbow, which controls shoulder, which then freeze lineman.
“Look at your target, see it, See it! knock it down.”