Campers getting ready for some football

Apr 28, 2024

MIDDLEBORO — There’s never a bad time to tackle football skills.

That explains why dozens of youngsters have been spending their spring Sundays attending Mitchell Memorial Club Cougar Camp, a free weekly training session to develop and strengthen gridiron fundamentals. 

The program began April 14 and ends June 23, with sessions taking place at Battis Field.

Participants, who range in age from kindergarten through eighth grade, can “get a taste’’ of football, said Ryan Whiteside, who is chair of the MMC Youth Football program.

Some participants may already be involved with the program, which offers youth flag and tackle football and cheer programs for Middleboro youngsters in kindergarten through grade 8.

Others might consider joining once they develop a sense of the skills required.

But even if they don’t play again, the camp provides a chance to “come out and have fun and get some exercise.’’

The program features mesh drills, blocking and tackling. The skills the youngsters learn vary by age. 

But the lessons provide a head start to the fundamentals of football to even kids in kindergarten through second grade, who can participate in the flag football program. 

Flag football coach John Thrower said the young players learn the fundamentals, even such basic concepts as what each position does on the field.

Bringing the youngsters on the same field also develops a sense of camaraderie, coach Shon Hurley said.

In addition to the fresh air and activity, participants can develop “responsibility and discipline,’’ Whiteside said, a valuable skill to practice on and off the field. 

“We take pride in our ability to host this free program for our youth, to help shape them into healthy, disciplined young adults,’’ he said.

The team includes many important players, on and off the field. “The Mitchell Memorial Club Football and Cheer program is built on our volunteer,’’ Whiteside said. “Without the hard work of a lot of people, past and present, we would not exist.’’