Brent Kucera, who coached the St. Mary’s football team to the state semi-finals last year, will hold two free football camps this summer. The Youth Camp for grades 1-6 is on Tuesday, July 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Players should meet at the St. Mary’s High School gym. The two-day varsity camp, grades 7-12, is on Monday, July 30 and Tuesday, July 31 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Players should meet at the St. Mary’s High School football field.
“The main purpose of the Youth Camp is to get the younger kids excited about football and to start developing a passion for the game,” said Kucera. “We’ll cover the fundamentals: how to catch, throw, how to get into a correct stance, what the different positions are and their roles. They’ll learn how to stretch, how to hold onto the ball, kicking, which we obviously need to start teaching Sleepy Eye kids how to do, as well as some basic strategy.” Kucera will show players some film and senior football players will be there to comment on how they use film to prepare for a game. Campers will even get to try on new Knights uniforms. If the temperature is too hot some camp activities will be held inside the auditorium where the kids will be safe and cool.
“The Varsity Camp will get the younger players used to working with the older kids and getting everybody on the same page as to what we are trying to do with the program,” said Kucera. “This year we plan on having our grades 7-12 running the same base system, which means that the Junior High will be running our shotgun system for offense.” Kucera figures this is the best way for the newer players to learn along with the varsity. “We’ll also review fundamentals and start getting them ready for the season,” said Kucera. “It’s easy to forget how to get into a correct stance, how to catch a football with your hands and not your body, how to hold on to the football and not fumble, and so on. This is our time to work on these skills and to start forming the team bond and chemistry. We also plan on taking the kids to the lake for a couple of hours to get out of the heat and do some competitions.” Kucera will be assisted by some college players from the University of Minnesota-Morris, including St. Mary’s alumni Chad Mathiowetz. “I want my players exposed to how things are done at the next level, as well as by different coaches,” he said.
Assistant coaches helping Kucera with the camps are: Matt Andres, Dusty Mangen, Nick Novotny, Andrew Bach, Mark Simon and Cory Kober.
“As a coaching staff we are extremely excited to see how much the players have improved from last season,” said Kucera. “We can’t wait for the first game of the year... Friday night, under the lights, August 31.”