LYNNFIELD — The Lynnfield youth football camp has become a tradition for Pioneers coach Pat Lamusta, giving his staff and his players a chance to bring the community together.
“It’s really turned into a bit of a tradition,” Lamusta said. “We always do something with the youth before the season starts. I was happy to do it, the coaches are happy to be here and our older kids get a chance to be role models.”
The camp runs for two days this week for seventh and eighth graders and began Monday night at Lynnfield High School. For Lamusta one of the key focuses of the camp is to show the group what a high school practice is typically like.
“We want them to see what the structure is like,” Lamusta said. “Going through stations, moving and being in a much smaller groups at practice. There’s not as much down time. They get an idea of what a high school practice is like.”
Along with going over some of the basics, the camp also gives youth players their first chance to get their feet wet in the Pioneers’ offensive scheme.
“We work on offensive fundamentals for each position,” Lamusta said. “It’s nothing too crazy. We went over the big picture philosophy of our offense, how we use and really base everything off one run play but that one play can branch to different plays because it’s based on a read. We give them that perspective.
“At the youth level they run all types of offenses, which I’m fine with,” Lamusta said. “I think it’s great for the coaches to be creative. I don’t believe in them just running our offense. Showing them these things opens their eyes to what we’re doing at the high school level.”
Getting the camp together is a group effort between Lamusta and Lynnfield Pioneer Youth Football President Steve Connolly.
“They’ve been doing this every year,” Connolly said. “It’s more of a program for the community. The kids can join whether they’re signed up for youth football or not. It’s more about building skill levels for the young kids as opposed to a team practice or something. It’s a way to start sharpening some of these skills.”
Finding time to get kids out on the field during the busy summer months can always be a challenge but being able to work with the high school players and coaches creates more of a motivation.
“It’s great to have kids this interested this late in the summer,” Connolly said. “You have kids on vacation and other commitments that pop up. But we had 21 kids sign up, just for the seventh and eighth grade, so that’s good to see.
“I think the kids get excited for it,” Connolly added. “It’s part of the motivation. We kind of bill it as a chance to work with coach Lamusta and the high school program. Seventh and eighth graders, they come to the games on Friday night during the season. It’s a chance to get to know the high school guys up close and in person.”
Having a group of high school players on the field to help with drills adds another layer to that, Lamusta said.
“It gives the younger kids a chance to see what they might look like,” Lamusta said. “It creates a real thing to look forward to, like ‘OK I’m going to be here someday.’ If it was just coaches out here it would be different. It makes it more authentic having our players here. Sometimes it’s easier for kids to relate to other kids. I think that’s helpful.”
Overall Lamusta came away impressed with the athleticism from the group Monday.
“I think once again it was a very athletic group,” Lamusta said. “We’re very lucky in Lynnfield to have been blessed with athletes over the years. Sometimes it’s harder for us to get big guys, but we’ve definitely had some athletes over the years. A lot of kids with good feet for seventh and eighth graders. I was impressed.”
The camp continues Wednesday (6) at Lynnfield High School.