Early in the summer my husband won a trip for my 8 year old son to attend a Detroit Lions Youth Football Summer Camp Session and some other Lions related goodies. We were thrilled to win the camp experience for my son as we had always talked about him doing something like this. Here is my review of the Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp:
The Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp is 4 days in length and meets M-Th from 8:30a-noon at various Metro Detroit Locations (ours is Lake Orion HS) through the summer. It's designed for boys and girls ages 6-14 to learn the fundamentals of all positions in football. I initially had concerns that a camp like this would be "too serious" for an 8 year old but was thrilled to learn the camp stresses fun, learning, friends, skills and scrimmages. Our Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp welcome letter sums up the attitude they want from campers. It tells you to bring: 1. Gym shoes, 2. The completed Waiver Form & 3. A great attitude toward learning football! Kids can even earn awards for their "great attitudes." Special awards are given for Attitude, Leadership, Future Star, Hustle, Consistency, Teammate, Most Improved and Extra Effort. The 4 day Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp is $159.00.
Director of Youth Football for the Lions Chris Fritzsching and his staff run a tight ship in terms of communications and laying out the details of what the camp entails. They openly welcome parents to stay and watch. I sent my husband with our Droid to provide video and coverage.
Here's the review for Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp Day 4: Day 4: By day 4 of sitting in the stands at Lake Orion High School's football field, you get to know a few of the parents and grandparents of the campers. It's not surprising. After all, we all spent the greater part of the past 4 mornings together. Every parent I spoke to raved about the Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp and the flawless instruction and discipline. This was the 3rd or 4th straight year of going to these camps for some of these parents. They tell me no other camp compares to it (and they've tried several).
In addition to new drills at all of the Offense stations at Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp, kids got to actually watch Lions game film to "break down" what players did correctly and incorrectly on certain plays like a real NFL player analyzes game film. The Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp lessons struck a chord with my son. He loved it and talked about it the whole way home. The Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp ended with an uplifting speech and awards ceremony where 8 campers received trophies for exceptional work. The 8 awards were for: Attitude, Leadership, Hustle, Future Star, Teammate, Most Improved, Consistency, and Extra Effort. All the awards were named for a Detroit Lion that best represented these traits (IE: The Matthew Stafford Future Star Award).
Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp wrapped with an amazing surprise! Each camper was called up to receive their very own Lions package (IE: Goody Bag). The package included: an offical camp certificate, Fathead collectables, a Lions car flag, official Lions program, a Lions hat/mask, souvenir noisemakers and more! As if that wasn't enough, the coaches sent home a breakdown of all the drills so each camper can continue practicing on their own time. The entire experience is incredible and well worth the $159 price tag. The value is incredible. The campers will take home an experience and lessons they can utilize their entire lives. Coach Fritzsching isn't the only one to be commended. The entire staff is just as dedicated to making this experience one any football fan would enjoy. My son is greatly looking forward to joining a football team this season (his first as a player) and he's already asking to go to Lions Youth Football Camp next year.
Here's the review for Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp Day 3: Day 3: Today's Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp practice opened with Coach Fritzsching expressing the importance of scholastic performance. It was a great message to get the kids thinking about how they were going to apply their hard work in football camp to the outside world. The kids then went through their warmups and were off to their skill stations where, like Day 1, they worked on Defense. Rather than run the kids through the same drills, the coach and his equally passionate staff ran them through entirely new defensive drills. I give them a lot of credit for doing this. They could have focused on the same routine from Day 1 but they expanded on them with new material. It was excellent. See video below:
The highlight of the day was the visit from pro bowler and new Lion Kyle Vanden Bosch. I expected Kyle to show up, give a pep talk, maybe sign a few autographs and leave after a little while. Instead, Mr. Vanden Bosch stayed the ENTIRE day. Not only that, he coached all of the kids at the D-line station. He was involved in the drills and helped many of the kids perfect their techniques. "Coach Kyle" then took the time to address the group and answer questions. Every child got an autograph! Vanden Bosch told the kids he joined the Titans when they were 4-12 and helped build them into a Super Bowl contender and that he's excited to try to do the same for the Lions. Video review below:
Here's the review for Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp Day 2: Day 2: My son was eager to get back to Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp. Coach Fritzsching started today's Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp camp by reviewing a homework assignment. At the end of Day 1 he told each camper to go home and make a list of things the kids wanted to learn at camp. He opened camp by having the kids read some of their items. Some kids forgot to do their "assignment" and he talked at length about personal accountabilty and how missing an assignment in football and in life has consequences. He stressed that kids had to take responsibility for their actions and how admitting to and fixing mistakes builds character. See video review below:
Day 1 of Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp had the kids learning defense and Day 2 was, as promised, all about offense. The kids did some fantastic warmup routines before hitting 4 separate stations geared toward offense. They learned proper receiving skills and route running at the WR section. How to properly throw a football at the QB one. Line techniques and the importance of protecting the QB at the OL station and how to properly protect the football and stiffarm opponents in the RB station. Campers spent 25 minutes at each station.
Like Day 1 of Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp, the afternoon culminated in Special Teams work and then scrimmages. Scrimmages are the most popular attraction for the kids. They love using their ever-developing skills in "real-life" scrimmage situations. The Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp campers finished up at noon taking home a new homework assignment. This assignment is writing down some questions for tomorrow's guest of honor - newly acquired Lions D-lineman Kyle Vanden Bosch. Everyone is excited!
Here's the review for Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp Day 1: DAY 1: Highly organized. Check in is a breeze. After dropping off our waivers at the Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp registration/souvenir tent, my son was on the field warming up while Director Fritzsching and his staff planned out the day. I was surprised and impressed that the Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp openly invites parents to watch the sessions and even take photos.
Day one of the Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp focuses on defensive fundamentals (db skills, tackling, defensive line work) and special teams fundamentals (coverage and special skills like recovering fumbles). There were about 50 Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp particpants who signed up for the Lake Orion camp. They divide the camp into 4 groups by age so kids were working with kids their own age and the camp had 4 stations at each corner of the field for work on each drill. Once they learn each position, the whistle blows and it's off to the next station. The Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp runs like clockwork and short breaks are given for rest and water/Gatorade.
Let me say this about Fritzsching and Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp... George Patton has nothing on this guy in terms of motivation! To say he runs a tight ship is putting it mildly. Each Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp drill is well-instructed and completely focused on how to make each child, regardless of skill level, a better football player. The Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp is all about exercise, hard work and having fun playing football. If you're expecting Lions Mascot Roary to come out and dance for the kids, you may want to look elsewhere. The strong work ethic Fritzsching uses is a welcome relief and a great precursor to what each child will face if they pursue athletics in junior and senior high school. Many coaches of leagues and camps just "go through the motions" with kids or are afraid to challenge them but these instructors take what they do seriously.
Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp ended with the 4 groups of kids scrimmaging to showcase their new skills. My son left camp on Day 1 tired and very excited about his experience. He is very proud of the "uniform" (free t-shirt) he gets to wear to Detroit Lions Youth Football Camp each day and is looking forward to meeting new Lion Kyle Vanden Bosch at camp on Day 3. Day 2 promises fundamentals and fun on the offensive side of the ball.
Click here for registration information for the Detroit Lions Football Camps.
For OCM's directory of awesome Detroit sports kids clubs (with tons of perks and swag) click here
More video of the review below:
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