Wes Kar/Special for The Foothills Focus
A camper in the Let it Fly Football Drills and Skill Camp in Anthem goes through a drill focusing on the importance of running low, as he drags one of the camp coaches behind him. Throughout the summer, the camp, open to ages 7-14, has been attended by anywhere from 22-50 kids at Anthem Community Park. Cost for the final two Saturdays is $50.



Football camp provides foundation for Anthem youth

Mark Huston, the founder of Let it Fly Football Drills and Skills Camp, promises that the youth that go through his camps will learn the fundamentals of the game.
Whether it’s the details of a proper stance for lineman or tackling techniques for linebackers to the footwork a defensive back needs to stick with a receiver Huston, a former college quarterback at Northern Arizona University, has an experienced coaching staff with the expertise to offer local youth a leg up as they prepare for the upcoming football season.
On Saturday’s throughout the summer Huston has had anywhere from 22 to 50 kids ages 7-14 participating in the camp, which runs from 7 – 11 a.m.
“My experience is kids are willing to absorb as much as you’re willing to teach,” he said. “All I want is their best. Too often that isn’t the expectation for our youth. Our camp is intense and rigorous. It’s fast paced and they’ll get a lot out of it.”
Now in the camp’s sixth year, Huston takes pride in the fact that 29 of his one-time campers are now members of the Boulder Creek High School football program at either the junior varsity or varsity level. In addition to a number of youth coaches on his staff, some with college playing experience on their resume, Huston also has a number of camp alumni coaching,
including his son, Isaiah.
“The kids in the camp learn discipline,” Isaiah said. “Things move pretty fast, so they have to pay attention. You also get a lot of details on how to do things. Some of them seem small, but they make a difference.”
Fellow coach, Antonio Effinger, a sophomore wide receiver and corner back at Boulder Creek, said he credits his speed and footwork to the fundamentals he learned at the Let it Fly camps.
“Coach teaches about a lot of different areas of the game that make a difference,” he said. “Plus you just learn how to work harder. The camp motto is about striving for perfection and it is our job as the coaches to help kids work toward reaching that goal.”
Drew Henderson has been coaching youth football for approximately 20 years. On Saturday he had 10 of the 20 kids that will play for his Wolf Pack team in August take part in the Let it Fly camp.
“What I like is that they really keep them moving for four hours,” he said. “The conditioning work they do here really puts the kids ahead of the game when I get them. Plus the detail they offer is pretty impressive. I don’t have to waste time on the basics. We’ll be implementing our offense and defense early on because they’ve already got sound fundamentals from going through this camp.”
Huston’s camp is setup with 24 stations. In the course of the four hours the players spend six minutes going through a different drill at each station. When the whistle blows they move on to the next station.
Mark Douglas has had his 10-year-old son Matt in the camp each of the past two summers.
Even though Matt’s primary sport is soccer the elder Douglas said the camp is worth more than simply football techniques.
“It’s not recess,” he said. “They’re teaching these kids values along with the skills. I like the way they coach. They’re serious, but not aggressive in the way they teach. The kids are encouraged, but they’re also held accountable. It’s tough to find a camp of this quality for this age group. I come out here and each week I can see improvement not only in my kid, but all the other ones participating.”
While this season’s camp season is winding to a close as youth football teams will begin practicing in August Henderson said that even a couple of sessions of Huston’s camp would make an impact.
“It’s a big advantage,” he said. “You can see the difference between the kids that spent the summer playing video games and the ones that have been out here working. These kids have a spring in their step. They’re not as tired and that allows me to be more productive with my practices. If they can get through this four hour camp then my two hour practices shouldn’t
be hard at all.”
For information on the Let it Fly Football Drills and Skills Camp go to letitflyfootballcamp.com or call Huston at 623-551-0816.