Summer AYA camp coming

Published 12:01 am Friday, June 22, 2012

NATCHEZ — Clay Arnold’s goal is simple: Teach children the game of football, so they can get a head start on everyone else.

Arnold is hosting a summer AYA camp July 23-27 at Adams County Christian School, and he said he wants to cram as much football information into the campers’ brains as he can.

“There won’t be any pads, it’s simply going to be fundamentals,” Arnold said. “We want to teach them how to move, what to move, what moves first — everything.”

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Arnold’s plan is for participants to already know the basics of the game before AYA football season begins.

“If a kid wants to play football in third grade at the same level as a fifth-grader, someone has to teach him what to do so he won’t hurt himself.”

Health and preparation are the two main reasons Arnold said he came up with the idea to host a camp based entirely on fundamentals.

“It only takes one hit,” Arnold said. “If you don’t do what’s right in football, you can get hurt.

“It will be hot, you’ll be exercising, but more importantly, you’ll be learning the game of football. We’ll be teaching all of the little things that will make kids get better.”

Arnold said he’s reached out to both local coaches and former high school football players about helping him coach, including former Cathedral High School quarterback Caleb Upton.

“We want people who want to be out there with these kids,” Arnold said. “This is all about people being excited to teach these kids.”

Upton said working with younger players is something he enjoys, and that he would be interested in helping Arnold with the AYA camp.

“I like seeing how excited they get, and how happy and willing they are to learn something new,” Arnold said. “It’s still a game to them, and it’s fun seeing how they react.”

After each session, Arnold said a local high school coach will come out and speak to the children. Cathedral, Natchez High, Trinity Episcopal, ACCS and Vidalia High School are expected to be represented, Arnold said.

“They’ll come speak and say something that means something to these kids,” Arnold said.

The third- and fourth-grade session will run from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., with the fifth- and sixth-grade sessions to follow from 10 through 11:30 a.m.

Costs for one child is $40, $30 each for two children and $25 each for three children. Entry forms are available at Sports Center.

“We’ll start them out with agility drills just to get them loose, and then we’re going to do what we do, which is teach them,” Arnold said.

For more information, Arnold can be reached at 601-870-4601.