The Sonoraville High softball and football programs both got a look at the next generation of Phoenix athletes this week.
The Lady Phoenix Softball Camp and Phoenix Football Youth Camp were both held on campus this week as the high school coaches and players passed their knowledge and skills on to the young campers.
For more photos from both camps this week, see Saturday's Calhoun Times.
Here’s some info on how each camp went this week:
Sonoraville High head coach Chad Hayes, his assistant coaches and many of his varsity and JV players served as instructors for the Lady Phoenix Softball Camp, which was held Tuesday and Wednesday.
The camp, which was open to youth player from kindergarten through fifth grade ran from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. each day. Hayes said the group of 24 campers they hosted were great to work with over the two days.
“They were very coachable, and our goals were to teach them the fundamentals,” said Hayes. “That was really our main focus. We worked on the fundamentals of hitting, baserunning and defense and worked with some of the pitchers on some things as well.
“The big thing we tried to do was have fun and get the girls more excited about being a Lady Phoenix. They really look up to the older girls so it was fun to see that interaction.”
The camp featured drills and instruction as well as scrimmages and game-type scenarios to teach the campers. There was also some fun in the outfield with the sprinklers to cool off in the hot conditions.
Hayes said the large group of high school players took on a big role in teaching the youngsters.
“For the most part, we had everyone from our varsity and JV teams here other than one or two that were out of town,” said Hayes. “They love taking the young girls through the drills that we do and teaching them everything. We really let our players take the lead, and they really like being able to teach the campers.”
Each camper received a snack and drink both days and were also given a camp t-shirt at the end of camp Wednesday. Hayes said the camp is always something he and his players look forward to each summer.
“We love seeing the young kids,” said Hayes. “We want them to be excited about playing the game and being part of the Phoenix program.
“We always get a chance to see a little bit of the future, and this group didn’t disappoint. There’s a lot of talent coming up so we look forward to seeing them come through here in the next several years.”
The Lady Phoenix will now turn their attention to preparing for their season, which will begin in a couple months with fall practice and their first game in early August.
The Sonoraville High football program hosted close to 90 youngsters this week for their annual Phoenix Football Camp.
The camp was open to players ages 5-14 and focused on drills and skills to learn the fundamentals of the game with a lot of fun mixed in. The Sonoraville coaches and several varsity players served as instructors.
“All the kids get to meet the varsity coaches and several of the players, and they get the opportunity to see what we’re all about,” said Sonoraville head coach Jim Kremer. “We teach them skills and fundamentals, but we also reinforce manners and reiterate what their parents teach them. But we also have a lot of fun. The campers have a tremendous amount of energy, and our coaches do a great job of being positive with them.
“We hope they’ll all be a part of the Phoenix one day. It’s always a breath of fresh air to see the love and the joy they have for the game. As coaches, we feed off that.”
Each camper received a t-shirt, and several awards were handed out at the end of camp on Thursday for achievement in certain areas as well as overall camp performance. Kremer said he was impressed with the group overall.
“I think it’s the best group we’ve had, and they did a great job,” said Kremer. “I though they got better every day. We wanted to enforce what it the definition of a good player is. It’s to be respectful and coachable, and they can carry that over into life.”
Kremer added that he and his coaches saw some talent in the group they look forward to seeing develop in the future.
“We really did see some good athletes and a lot of bigger kids that tried really hard,” said Kremer. “We had a good mix of kids, and the biggest thing is all of them wanted to get better. It’s hard to tell what skill level they’re going to be at this age because they have a lot of development and growth coming in the next few years, but we were mainly impressed with all their attitudes. We were also thankful for the community support and for the parents bringing their children to be a part of this. That says a lot.”
The Phoenix coaches and players will now focus their attention on their summer workout program, which begins next week with workouts. They will also attend several camps throughout the summer before starting Fall practice in late July. They play their preseason scrimmage on Aug. 12 at Gordon Central and then open the regular season on Aug. 26 at home against Model.