Three years ago I introduced a concept to our youth football organization which is nicknamed the Hawks. The concept was originally presented as a fund raiser to earn money for what was at that time a very poorly equipped high school weight room facility.
What I did was go to the president of the Hawks football club and the varsity head youth football coach and proposed that I do a 3 day Pre-season Hawks Football Mini-camp for the entire Hawks program which included grades 6 through 8th. It was a conditioning camp that focused on getting the boys to do some football based running with and without the ball along with participating in a Battle Ball Tournament. (Battle ball is ultimate Frisbee played with a football)
My key selling points to the Youth president were:
- Youth football is coached by parents who do not understand proper warm-up drills. So by inviting the youth coaches to attend not only do I educate them but I save them time by teaching the boys an effective warm up that the youth coaches can use day 1
- Most youth coaches consider a 1 mile run to be a good conditioning test for football. The mini-camp provided the kids with fun and safe ways to train running by having the them not just do sprints but play games of tag, partner chase, and other competitive based games that would be easy to simulate for coaches in practice.
- The mini-camp would provide the kids with a safer progression into the season which required them to be without pads for 10 hours. I would work on a lot of change of direction drills, tumbling, crawling, and obstacle avoidance drills which not only help the kids with injury prevention but provided coaches with fun on the field training ideas for strength, agility, speed and balance.
- It would give his program a competitive advantage by providing them with 3 additional practices that were completely within the rules of the league.
- It created a stronger relationship between parents and coaches because we presented the program as the president’s idea not mine. As a result the youth president was looked upon in a very positive light which he already was. But it never hurts to strengthen that bond
- Lastly it got the kids excited about going out for football because it was kind of like what the pro’s did which is why we called it a Mini-camp
The key selling points to the head varsity coach were:
- We would earn money for his weight room which could only help his program
- Since the camp coaches were many of the high school varsity boys, it help build community awareness for his program and start bonding his athletes
- It allowed him to learn some drills that he could use at the high school level.
- Also since I offered to consult with him on reorganizing his weight room once the money was earned, it provided him additional value without spending a dime.
What did it do for my company?
- It put me in front of 40 plus youth athletes who would be high school athletes some day
- It put me in front of twice as many parents
- It allowed me to pay forward which helped build a bond with the community, high school coaches and youth coaches which was a very rewarding experience
- It allowed a new group of adults for me to market my adult boot camps too
- It provided me a starting list to run future speed camps for youth athletes that would be paid for
- It allowed me to improve my youth training skills without financial pressures
- It exposed me to key high school athletes that would use my services in the future
We had 40 athletes participate in that initial camp in 2009 and we earned $1200 for the weight room
Flash forward 3 years.
This summer as a result of paying forward and doing that youth charity camp 3 summers ago, have been able to strength my relationships with many of the football coaches to the point where I was provided the opportunity to run paid summer camps for their athletes. This summer I had 250 athletes fill the summer camps.
Middle school (65 athletes),
Boy’s high school camp (140 athletes)
Girl’s high school camp (35 athletes)
And I have 70 athletes registered for this year’s Hawks Mini-camp.
As a side note, I also now volunteer 6 hours a week to assist with the entire off-season program and in-season program for the football program so I have the pleasure of working with high school athletes’ everyday which was always a dream of mine.
Getting Better with Bands,
Dave Schmitz (The Band Man)
Dave Schmitz is the author of the upcoming IYCA resource, IYCA Resistance Band Instructor Course, which will be available this fall.