What better way to celebrate Super Bowl weekend than playing football? At the NFL Youth Camp in Houston, Texas, middle school students grade 6-8 did just that. More than 500 student-athletes showed up to W. W. Thorne Stadium to test their football skills and learn more about the game from experienced football coaches.
NCSA and NFL Team Up
In conjunction with the Super Bowl and NFL, NCSA Next College Student Athlete hosted this community outreach event. NCSA Executive Vice President and former Dallas Cowboy football player Izell Reese says, “As a former NFL player, it was a great honor to put on a camp for youth football players on behalf of the NFL during the Super Bowl. The five pillars of character that the NFL focused on: Honor, Courage, Respect, Discipline and Commitment, are important messages for all athletes to learn and implement, and it was a privilege to help relay that message to this group of future football standouts.”
NFL Youth Camp Experience
The event started out with the student-athletes getting their free camp t-shirts and doing a series of group warm-up exercises, meeting their fellow football players and getting ready to start training.
The football players then broke out into groups based on their football positions: running backs, linemen, quarterbacks, linebackers, defensive backs and receivers. They performed position-specific drills to increase skills required to excel in a game setting. Each drill focused on key movements important to that position. Players were challenged to strengthen their mental as well as physical football game, working on footwork techniques, hand placement and more.
The players also faced off against athletes in their counterpart positions during the one-on-one challenges. Here, players had the chance to test their football talent against other outstanding middle school players, channeling their inner NFL star. Throughout the event, coaches like Reese taught the athletes tips and tricks for increasing their skills based on their position and performance.
Toward the end of the NFL Youth Camp, the players and coaches joined back together. Roman Oben, former NFL player and the NFL’s Director of Youth and High School football, shared some important on-the-field and off-the-field lessons, with themes relating back to the NFL Football Values Anthem:
I play the Game because:
WE serve our team with HONOR
WE earn RESPECT by giving it to others
WE develop DISCIPLINE through mental & physical toughness
WE are COMMITTED to Team, Family & Community
I play the Game because “WE” is more important than “ME”