To help young  football players learn the basics and develop good habits as early as possible, Basehor-Linwood High School football coach Rod Stallbaumer hosted the Junior Bobcat Football Camp last week.  

Open to students from third through eighth grades, the camp’s goal was to teach some of the basic fundamentals of football in addition to having fun while they learn to play the game.  

Stallbaumer has hosted the camp for each of the three summers he has been coach at BLHS.

In addition to Stallbaumer, Basehor-Linwood Middle School coach Cody Holland helped at the camp as well as other local coaches. 

“Several of our high school coaches help during the camp which gives us a chance to streamline our middle school and high school programs and begin teaching them some of the offensive and defensive schemes that they will be using in high school,” said Stallbaumer. “Most importantly, we have a lot of our high school players and former graduates who get to switch roles, put on their coaching hats and come out and coach the young kids. I think it is a very important way for our young guys to give back.”

The former students who come back as coaches quickly learn a different perspective in dealing with players than when they were playing the game. The younger students look up to them and it is their way of giving back to help the young players.

Some key elements of the camp included basics of safe and proper tackling, defensive pursuit and how to catch, throw and carry the ball. A segment was also dedicated to punting and kicking the football.

“We also emphasize the three key virtues of a Bobcat football player: hard work, teamwork and discipline. We emphasized a different theme each day and we gave out a trophy to the hardest worker, best teammate and most disciplined player at the end of each day,” Stallbaumer said.

Stallbaumer sees the value in developing these players at a young age to help mold them into players that can more easily move into high school play. Recognizing that these young players are the lifeblood of the high school’s program in the future, he realizes the importance of getting the players excited about football and to help them succeed.

“I think that any coach who is trying to build a sustainable program is doing themselves a disservice if they ignore the youth in their school,” he said.

Beth Kornegay is a freelance writer covering news and events in the city of Basehor. If you have a story idea, email her at gabi_kansas@yahoo.com