The team had about 20 young football players learning the basics of the game from those who have played it. And the school’s annual three-day youth football camp — July 23 through 25 — at Patterson Community Stadium is a learning experience for coaches and campers alike.
“Our coaches teach these kids, our players work with these kids,” said Patterson coach Nick Marchy, who was assisted at the camp by several of his assistant coaches and 15 of the school’s athletes. “There’s a correlation to the continued improvement of the program — correlation to the momentum our program is building — and I think we have a good product.”
Patterson coaches encourage their players to become volunteer coaches for three days as a form of community service. It also builds a sense of responsibility.
“The youth players really look up to the (high school players),” Marchy said. “These kids are out here watching the high school players during the season, so it definitely helps to build a bond between the two groups.”
Tiger athletes found out just how patient a coach has to be as they repeatedly showed youngsters the right way to finish agility drills at the non-contact football camp.
“We are just trying to teach kids fundamentals and a love of the game,” Marchy said. “You start to see the (high school) players become teachers of these techniques. They take the stuff that our coaches have taught them, and turn around and teach it to the kids.”
Marchy said the four-year-old camp is a chance for his coaches and players to have some fun before they get down to the serious business of the prep football season.
Each camper worked on both offense and defense, receiving instruction in passing, receiving, route running and defending. Because football is a team sport, campers also ran drills in groups. That, Marchy said, helps them learn to work as a unit, while giving young athletes a sense of the basics that will one day become second nature.
Patterson players connected with the kids in a way that was reminiscent of their own camp experience as a youth player, Marchy said. With stopwatch in hand, they got young players to push themselves even harder under the afternoon sun — and enjoyed every minute of it.
“The kids looked like they had a lot of fun out there,” Marchy said. “They showed off what they can do and they learned a lot, too.”
The first day at camp, when a youngster has to run through drills with a bunch of players he doesn’t know, is a little intimidating, Marchy said. Before long though, they form a bond with other campers and Patterson’s players.
“Along with working on individual techniques, we also want the players to understand the idea of team bonding,” Marchy said. “It was a great chance for kids and coaches to hang out and share a passion for football.”
The camp, which cost $20 per participant, was open to children from 6 to 13 years of age. Each left with a Patterson High football T-shirt and a greater knowledge of fundamentals, form and technique.
It raised about $400 for the Patterson High football program, Marchy said.
Tuesday through Thursday, the campers went through stations, specializing in fundamental skills and the team concept of football. Individual groups were small, so campers received personalized instruction.
Gordon Hediger, who took his 8-year-old son, Elias Mahoney, to the Patterson football camp, said he figures a youngster should practice under different coaches with different styles.
“The people teaching them makes a huge difference,” Hediger said. “If you have a coach out here that’s (nonchalant) about everything, just here to be here, versus someone who’s energetic and wants to watch and teach them every little thing...it really makes a huge difference.”
He added that the camps allow today’s group of Tiger players to inspire the next group.
“They should give back to their sport, if they love it. That’s how you bring up the next generation of football players.”
For the 10th consecutive year, the Patterson High football and baseball teams sponsored their annual golf fundraiser at Stockton’s Oakmoore Golf Course on Saturday, July 27.
This year, 72 local golfers helped raise money for the two Patterson athletic programs. A final tally of the funds collected was not available at press time.
“It was a great day for golf. The weather was great, and everyone had a great time supporting Patterson football and baseball,” Marchy said. “The money that was raised will go to both of the sports, to pay for equipment and tournaments for the programs.”
Keith O’Day, Mike O’Day, Pat O’Day and Vince Rucobo teamed up to win the event at Oakmoore’s par-72 golf course. Each member of the winning foursome received a free round of golf at Diablo Grande Golf and Country Club.
Prior to the golf tournament, Steve Cozart won the event’s long-drive competition, while Noe Garcia won the putting contest.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.