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The summer “‘7 on 7” season is a time of testing out the raw athletic skills of a wide range of players in a competitive but more casual circumstances than under the ‘Friday night lights’ for quickness, agility and speed coupled with passing and catching on the offensive side. On the defensive side of the ball, skills like picking up on the right ‘cues’ by reading the other team’s offensive lineups, proper positioning at the time of the snap, pass coverage once the ball is snapped, pursuit and reaction skills once the ball is in the air or responding to an occasional run or ‘draw’ play is the focus. 

June 13th marked the beginning of the Summer 2009 season

June 13th marked the beginning of the Summer 2009 season

 

In addition, on the offensive side the coaches are analyzing things like understanding how the team as a whole is interpreting each play that is called, manifested by each receiver properly running routes, including well executed ‘fakes’ and focus in pressure situations show the coaching staff the intelligence, focus and progression of the team in preparation for the coming season. 

The Master craftsman plys his trade

The Master craftsman plys his trade

While the ‘Hogs’ competition is less glamorous to watch, it is equally interesting in understanding what the coming season will bring. For those not familiar, the lineman ‘Hogs’ competition is a series of team based strength and agility skills kind of like the Olympic decathlon meets a weightlifting strongman competition. Teams comprised of 5 lineman each compete as a team to get the most points or best times in events like the “20 yard sled or truck push” (yes, an actual truck can be used), bench press 185 lbs the most times, clean & jerk lifting, throw a heavy odd shaped rock for distance, relay with football for best time, relay with a 100+ lb tackling dummy on your shoulders (no dropping allowed, thank you very much) and of course – the crowd pleasing “Tug of War”. 

  

Coaches look on as Westlake gets ready to run a play from scrimmage

Coaches look on as Westlake gets ready to run a play from scrimmage

 

All this competition is extremely fun to do and watch, especially by the players, parents & fans who can’t wait for the Fall season to start. But despite the outcomes; too much should not be read into these events as the coaches themselves will tell you, they are experimenting with multiple combinations of plays and players, skills, game intelligence and personalities to come up with the best team to put on the field come the Fall. Plus, most who have played or understand the game of football know this but one knowledgeable father on the sidelines summed it up nicely by saying, “this is fun, but everything changes when you put the pads on”.

 Pride, Respect, Champions!

Teaching & learning is the foundational purpose of 7 on 7 competition
Teaching & learning is the foundational purpose of 7 on 7 competition

Photos courtesy of Yashica Wilson Budde