BATTLING THE HEAT: Knights run fourth camp under coach Gabe Gabriel

·4 min read

Jun. 13—Frederica Academy has been holding week-long camps in every facet of education and extracurricular activity, with students gnawing at the opportunities to learn something new during the duration of the camp.

For the athletic portion of camp this week, head girls soccer coach Gabe Gabriel held his first of two camps on the practice field.

Having his drills coned off early in the morning to spend as much time as possible with his 37 campers, Gabriel started the day with the campers jogging around the field while dribbling a soccer ball. Afterward, Gabriel let his varsity players lead the stretch lines.

Katie Eckert, Ruby George Pruitt, Katie Hartridge, and Jennie Bore led the campers through stretches before Gabriel returned with more soccer balls.

"Oh, it's great," Gabriel said of his players helping out. "I think its great for them. I think it gives them a good perspective and experience. It's always good for them to try and teach players to do things because i think it helps them see the purpose of certain things and realize that sometimes why do certain things. Sometimes things that don't click, click now because im showing this seven-year-old how to shield the ball with my body, and they go 'oh wow it makes sense and I should always do that.' I think its good to bring them back and have them join in."

With every camper having their own soccer ball at their feet, Gabriel went through a demonstration of what kind of juggling he likes to teach to work on dribbling mechanics, first showing them that the laces of their boots are the best spots to drop and catch a ball.

Letting the campers learn for themselves for a minute, Gabriel told his camper 'Come on keep going that's how we get better.' Allowing them to go through the motions with both their dominant and weak foot, Gabriel showed other dribbling skills that improve every player.

"I think the biggest thing is that they are enjoying it as much as possible," Gabriel said of the camp. "It's hard because of the heat and you are constantly fighting that battle. I think enjoying it and getting as many touches on the ball as they can. We've got to make up technical deficiencies that they are all going to have at that age. You have to continue to improve that and hopefully give the ones that are really interested the touches they need, and the ones that arent, hopefully, they are having as much fun as they can."

Showing off his favorite foot skill called the Tik Tok, Gabriel demonstrated with the ball being passed back and forth around his ankles.

Letting the campers continue to learn the skills, Gabriel could be heard telling everyone to focus on the technique, not the speed of trying to get crazy numbers.

Breaking the kids off to grab some water to fight off the blistering heat, the kids lined back up in a line to be broken into smaller groups by their age groups to play a dribbling game (6-years old to 11-years-old).

Hoping the campers would showcase the foot skills they learned the previous hour, they were broken into seven groups to play a dribbling relay race. Every camper had to dribble through the cone with what every dribbling style was asked of them and turn around and tag in their teammate.

After spending a few minutes doing different forms of dribbling to the relay race format, Gabriel broke the campers off for a snack and water break to reenergize for the final hour of camp.

Rejoining their groups after the break, the campers played red light green light with a soccer ball at their feet. Learning from their foot skills, each round was technical about how they should stop the ball and if they didn't do it correctly or moved during a red light, they back to the beginning.

Hydrating one final time the camper ended the day by playing games of small-sided, with campers keeping score to the T.

With three more days of his camp remaining, Gabriel said he wants the kids to enjoy the camp as much as possible first and foremost.

"Today we will do more of the same and just touch up on what we are doing," Gabriel said of the camp layout. "We will do different things in terms of foot skills and juggling in terms of the co-ladders, we will still do small side at the end, and then we will do some type of technical game before small-sided. As we get into Wednesday and Thursday it will be more games and putting them into different game scenarios and trying to let them have fun and figure it out."