Hilburn Van Buckley has a straightforward ambition for Vancouver's young jocks this summer. The new association head coach of the Vancouver Trojans minor football club wants to see more kids running around outside.
"Personally, for myself, I don't like seeing empty fields," he said.
On Saturday afternoons from 12 to 2 p.m. at Renfrew Park (22nd Street and Nootka) Van Buckley and the Trojans host a free skills camp that welcomes all boys and girls aged six to 18. The focus is speed and agility.
The training program is geared for all football positions but the first hour is dedicated to fitness and skill development suited to all sports. "You don't even have to be a football player, as long as you come and train and play hard," he said. "The only equipment you need is your cleats. Another thing with the cleats is a smile-we try to make it a lot of fun."
Exercise enhances physical and mental well being, believes Van Buckley. Training programs should be enjoyable and challenging in order to maintain an athlete's motivation and progress.
The weekend day camps run until August 18. Said Van Buckley, "It gets kids to develop their overall motor skills and gives them a chance to network with other kids."
It may seem like an action better suited to professional adults, but Van Buckley chose the word deliberately and knows children network just like their parents. The shift is in line with cultural pastimes and he wants to see young athletes do their networking outside, ideally on a football field. "Maybe it's an adult sort of thing. It's a sign of the times," he said. "All the kids are online. It's funny how this curve happens but before we would have to ask the kids to [keep to] the grassy area and now they're all inside, doing their own thing, Facebooking, playing video games."
The two-hours of training incorporate drills and speed work designed to make an athlete faster, stronger, more agile and explosive, explained Van Buckley. Football training targets athletic ability, which the athlete learns to compete at a higher fitness level as development progresses.
Twitter: @MHStewartFor more information, visit vancouvertrojans.net.