You want to be good in September?
You have to get better in July.
That’s the idea behind summer football camps at the high school level.
That’s the focus at Lakeview, as summer football camp days have been critical to the recent success of the Spartans, having advanced to the playoffs in each of the past four seasons.
“The idea for us is that we use the summer to get stronger and to become better football players,” Lakeview football coach Matt Miller said. “The camp days we use, we introduce our offense and defense on the basic level because the more familiar they are with that, we feel the better success we will have when we get rolling in August.
“If we aren’t teaching from square one when we start practices for real, we are that much further ahead and that just creates a better football player.”
The first official day for high school football preseason camps is Aug. 8. But the good programs have already put in the sweat equity and all of the extra work needed in the weeks leading up to August, so they can hit the ground running.
“You have to be ready before it starts, because if you start August 8, then you aren’t going to be ready by the time the first game comes around,” said Michael Miller, who will be a three-year starter as a senior in the fall. “It’s even more important for us this year to be working out in the summer. We have a brand new team basically. Only four returning starters on offense and I think two on defense, so it’s a really good time for us to get new people out here and get some reps and get them going.”
The Michigan High School Athletic Association has rules about summer camps, in terms of how many days they can be held, and what kind of workouts are allowed with coaches.
Camps sponsored by the high school, limited to grades 9-12, may not extend more than 10 days total. Conditioning programs are permitted throughout the summer, but can not use equipment that is specific to football.
Lakeview breaks up its 10 days of camp allowed, having ‘Veer Camp’ for several days throughout the summer, and Lakeview Summer Football Camp, which is being held for several days this week.
The Veer Camp portion of Lakeview’s summer refers to the Spartans’ veer-option offense, which has been central to the program’s ability to win division titles in recent seasons.
The quick-hitting offense is based on the team’s ability to work as a unit, choreographed blocking schemes and skill position players being in the right place at the right time.
All of that is learned in the summer, because it can’t be taught completely in the less than three weeks teams have between the first day of official practice and the first game.
“The better the kids are in the terminology and technique, with the quick offense we have, the better they are at that stuff, the better off we will be,’ Matt Miller said. “So work in the summer with that is critical.”
Based on the numbers at Spartan camp this week, the emphasis on getting every player on the same page during the offseason seems to be working.
“I feel like we have strength in numbers, so the more people that come out to these camps, the more that will know the system and the better we will be when the season starts,” said C.J. Foster, who will be a senior and three-year starter in the fall. “It’s all about creating muscle memory. When you create muscle memory in camps like this through drills, then when you get to games, you don’t have to think about it and you can just play.
“If you don’t get out, you are behind, because the other teams on your schedule are working out this summer, so we have to also.”
Contact Bill Broderick (269) 966-0678 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter @billbroderick