July 24, 2013 - Campers grabbed a yellow whiffle ball, held them up with their dominant hand and began practicing their throws in the shot put event during the Youth Track and Field Camp on July 17.
Campers use teamwork as they practice relays. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
As they threw and a fellow camper measured their distance, 2013 Clarkston High School graduate Taylor Beach shared a few tips to help the campers throw better.
Shot put was one of the events over 70 campers in grades 3-8 learned during annual camp last week, Monday through Thursday.
They also learned track and field events in hurdles, discus, high jump, long jump and relays.
"They learn the basics of all the events," said John Yorke, head coach for Clarkston High School Girls Track & Field team. "It shows them there is a lot more to track and field than just running. There are a lot more events to do. Our goal is to get them to enjoy the sport so they are excited to come out for it the next year and hopefully in high school."
Beach agreed, "there is a misconception it is just running all the time. It gives them an opportunity to see what track and field is all about.
Throughout the week they learn from the high schoolers who participate in the same events.
"I think their favorite part is learning from the high schoolers," Yorke added. "I have athletes in those events coaching them like Taylor, Tessa Manilla, Marcus Rogers, Merrick Canada and Ian Eriksen."
"I really enjoy it," Beach smiled. "Each of the coaches work at a station and show our abilities. The kids are really enjoying the chance to throw something - especially the boys. It is interesting because you learn how to say it because you sometimes think they already have the ability and have the knowledge. With shot put I break it down. I say 'look at your watch to get their left arm out.' It's things they can understand and to make it natural for them can be difficult."
She added it was great to watch the kids improve during the week and Wednesday was the first day they measured.
"It shows they are listening and they are really catching on to the concept," she smiled. "They are listening to the little adjustments they can make in their throws which will make them so much better. Plus adding the competition factor makes them really excited."
Beach added the campers also enjoyed jumping in the hurdles, into the mat for the high jump and into the dirt for the long jump.
The camp ended on Thursday and the kids compete against other campers in their own grade level and gender.
Yorke added by Thursday all of the campers have more confidence in each of the events.
Campers enjoyed a trip to the pool inside of the high school after they finished all of their events. During breaks they cooled off with a popsicle and water balloon toss.
"Going to the pool is always important to them," Yorke added.
The Youth Track and Field Camp began in 2008 and is offered through Clarkston Community Education. For more information on this camp and other programs they offer, please call 248-623-4326.
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.