August 3, 2011
THINK DETROIT PAL FOOTBALL PARTICIPANTS PARTAKE IN FREE CLINIC AT FORD FIELD
Detroit, Mich –Nearly 200 Think Detroit PAL football players were afforded a unique opportunity to enhance their skills and learn new ones when they participated in a free youth football clinic hosted by the Mid-American Conference and the NCAA Football Youth Initiative. The clinic was held on July 25 at Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions.
“I think it’s pretty fantastic, that they would think enough of us to call us up and want our kids to participate,” said Think Detroit PAL COO Tim Richey. “We’re always grateful for those opportunities when they come along. We hope to have a chance to work with them again next year. I think it’s great for the conference to look out for the youth leagues and in particular Think Detroit PAL”
The camp was operated by numerous coaches from MAC institutions, Wayne State University, and coaches from Detroit Lions Youth Football. Wayne State’s Paul Winters, CMU’s Dan Enos, and EMU’s Ron English were head coaches that attended the clinic.
Obtaining knowledge from people who coach at the collegiate level can only be beneficial to the players that participated in the camp. The advice can be invaluable to the developing skills and minds of the youngsters.
“What happens when you’re this age is you’re impressionable,” English said. “You have people come out here, they get to play football in this facility and they get to be around college coaches. I just think that it makes an impact. They remember it and it helps them further down the road.”
Enos, who played and coached at Michigan State University prior to becoming the head coach at CMU, mentioned that there is an obligation that coaches in Michigan must fulfill for the youth.
“I think first and foremost, when you coach football in this state, it’s our duty and our responsibility to help football grow in the state. We take that very seriously,” Enos said. “Anytime you can work with young people and have a positive impact, you want to do it as a coach and as a man.”
The Dearborn native is familiar with Think Detroit PAL and spoke very highly of the organization and its football program.
“The PAL football league is famous. I know a lot of the players that have come through here and played, and went to colleges and played in the NFL,” Enos explained. “I’ve recruited several guys that have played in this league growing up. I used to love listening to them talk about when they played in the PAL football league.”
The clinic began with former Eastern Michigan, Detroit Lions and Think Detroit PAL football player Ron Rice speaking to the participants. The University of Detroit Jesuit High School graduate, stressed accountability, team work, leadership and academics. Rice’s presence gave the participants an opportunity to learn from someone who started where they’re at now, and became a professional.
The players were then separated by age into several groups. The groups rotated through stations, where they would partake in different drills. The participants worked to refine their skills in areas such as, route running, fielding kicks and tackling. Nearly every aspect of the game was covered, which will help make the participants better players this upcoming season. Chris Fritzsching, Detroit Lions’ director of youth football, feels said that the clinic was essential, because it contributed to their mission of helping the community.
“What we’re trying to do with our Lions organization is provide coaching education programs to Think Detroit PAL coaches, and opportunities for Think Detroit PAL kids to come on down here and experience what it’s like to be here on Ford Field and learn the game of football,” he explained. “It’s important for our organization to reach back as best we can, to give back to the community of Detroit and obviously the kids of Think Detroit PAL.”
Coach English felt that the event would affect the kids of Think Detroit PAL in ways that can’t be measured by a person performance on a football field.
“I think that with the kids being out here, with the cameras being out here, and them being able to talk to people, I think it will certainly influence them and give them hope and make them feel good about themselves and their city, said English.”
To view photos, click here.
Think Detroit PAL was formed in 2006 with the merger of Think Detroit Inc. and the Detroit Police Athletic League. In partnership with the Detroit Police Department and community volunteers, Think Detroit PAL builds character in young people through athletic, academic and leadership development programs. In 2010, Think Detroit PAL served over 10,000 girls and boys through 10 sports, making it one of the largest youth organizations in the state of Michigan. More than 80 cents of each dollar donated to Think Detroit PAL goes directly into programming
For more information, please visit http://www.thinkdetroitpal.org or call 313-833-1600.