SEBRING - The fourth annual Heartland Football Camp attracted athletes of al ages at the Highlands Coutny Sports Complex on Friday.
Music played in the background as clouds briskly floated by bringing moments of shade and a steady breeze passed throughout the facility as approximately 200 youngsters ran football drills.
"I expected about this much," said Sebring High School football coach and the founder of the camp LaVaar Scott. "Every year it is getting bigger. We are really starting to become known statewide."
Scott noted that participants in this year's camp came from as far north as Haines City and Orlando and as far south as Miami.
Scott noted even though there are several camps in the Orlando, Lakeland and Miami areas, there was nothing right here in the central location for Hardee, Frostproof, Lake Placid, Avon Park and Sebring. This was why he started the Heartland Football Camp.
The major change from this year's camp from the previous camps is that it was reduced from two days to one day.
"We reduced it to one day," said Scott. "Because we kept running into so much youth stuff and baseball on Saturday that we decided to make it one day and see how this works."
Scott also noted that no decision had been made about whether they would go back to a two-day camp next year or stick with one.
"In the past the kids were pretty much spent after the first day," said Scott. "And the second day the kids were tired. That makes them more susceptible to injury and we don't want to get anybody hurt, so one day might be good."
The participants were not separated by position, but instead broken down into two age groups. The first age group being for eighth grade and below. The second age group for high school students. Each of those groups was large enough to divide into two more groups as they performed various drills.
"The purpose of the camp is for the kids to come out and get great coaching from guys that coach," said Scott. "These guys are professionals and college guys that came here to bring good coaching and football into this area."
He also noted that a major difference between this football camp and camps held at many other places is that those camps have position coaches that are looking for kids to recruit and that there camp is to help build on their fundamentals.
"We have certified speed trainers out here," said Scott. "They are certified to come out here and show the proper way to run and explode off the line. You do not get this when you go to University of South Florida or Miami. They do not take the time to sit there, put you on the line, and coach you up. You get that here."
Although the camp's purpose is to help with conditioning and teaching some fundamentals, Scott was clear that this was not a substitute to what they player's coaches have already been teaching them.
"We are not trying to take away from what their coaches are doing," said Scott. "We are trying to add to it."