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From the Sidelines

Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / August 3, 1998

Community benefirs from sports camps

During the past two weeks, the sports calendar section of this newspaper has been filled with advertisements for various sports camps, from baseball and football to cheerleading and tennis.

I have had the opportunity to visit some of the these camps and all I can say is that I have been extremely impressed. The level of instruction Ihave seen is top rate, coming from coaches and players who really know the games they are teaching about.

These coaches and players have taken time during the summer months to help another generation of athletes learn the game and improve their skills. I have kidded with some that they are checking out the talent forthe future but I believe the actual reason is that they love what they are doing and want to pass their knowledge on.

“We want to take some things they learn here and practice them at home and get a better understanding of football,” St. Charles Catholic headfootball coach Wayde Keiser, who conducted the school’s football camp this past week, said. “We want to promote the sport.”One of the complaints about many sports today is that the players lack fundamentals. These camps are a beginning to dispel that notion. At theRiverside and Destrehan basketball camps, the campers learned the basic fundamentals of ball handling, shooting, passing and defense. At the St.Charles Catholic and Riverside football camps, it was the fundamentals of passing, receiving, blocking and defense. And at the Riverside softball andSt. Charles Catholic baseball camps, it was pitching, catching, fieldingand hitting. Nothing complicated, just the simplest components that makeup each sport.

The campers also learned about other things that will make them better athletes such as weight lifting and conditioning. But at the same time, thecampers, ranging in age from about 4 to 13 years old, were also having fun.

Every camp had some kind of competition – whether it be punt, pass or kick or touch football, 21 or relays in basketball or games in baseball and softball – that the campers enjoyed while picking up a few pointers along the way.

Participation at each camp was also encouraging. I have seen comparablecamps cost in the hundreds of dollars but these were well priced, allowing more and more youngsters to have the opportunity to have fun and become better athletes.

The campers should be commended for their participation and hard work in the camps, their parents for giving them the opportunity to attend them and the coaches and the players for giving up their time during the summer to conduct them.

Because of all involved, these youngsters will learn skills and have experiences they can carry with them the rest of their lives. And thetradition of excellence in athletics in the River Parishes should continue for years to come.

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