Physical fitness made fun
AMHERST?- It's no secret that Corey Crocker is the coach of the Amherst Ramblers and Jeff Lewis is his assistant coach, but both are also becoming very well known for the youth fitness camp they run each summer through the YMCA.
"Me and Jeff both have physical fitness degrees," Crocker said. "And it's a shame to turn on the news and hear about how our youth are out of shape. We want to preach a healthy lifestyle and ensure kids are living a good lifestyle and taking advantage of all the opportunities offered through sport.
Top Prospects is open to all youth.
"We've had figure skaters, track and field athletes and soccer players," Lewis said. "We started off with hockey in mind but we've had all kinds of athletes who find it beneficial."
The conditioning program is divided into two groups.
Group 1 is made up of children ages six to 11 and runs most weekday mornings from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Group 2 is made up of children ages 12 and up and their camp runs from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
All groups meet at the YMCA each morning. The YMCA is where all athletes will be dropped off and picked up.
"The YMCA has been great to us," Lewis said. "They have a perfect facility, with awesome equipment and a gymnasium."
The camp focuses on a wide range of conditioning.
"We use various physical education and physical training techniques to introduce the fundamentals and benefits of both general and sport specific training," Crocker said. "Local athletes of different ages and caliber will develop the knowledge to train themselves properly and safely long after the program is over."
This year will be the third year the camp has been running and it has always been close to capacity.
"We accept 50 kids altogether," Crocker said. "We usually have close to 25 in each group."
Both groups focus on agility, balance, co-ordination, the importance of stretching and the importance of hydration and nutrition.
They also learn to work on speed and strength training, overall cardiovascular endurance and the most important aspect of the program - to appreciate the importance of physical activity while having fun.
Both Crocker and Lewis have lots of fun teaching the class.
"Most of the things we do are quite challenging and the older class is a lot of fun, but the younger kids are a blast," Crocker said.
Crocker has a bachelor of physical education and is a certified personal trainer with seven years experience and Lewis has a bachelor of education and physical education and a bachelor of kinesiology and coaching concentration.
They emphasize the camp is for everyone but there is no doubt they hope that by providing this conditioning program to the community that they will be able to develop some future hockey stars in the Amherst hockey program.
"We looked at a lot of local hockey players and how when they get at the higher levels they weren't quite as prepared as the players coming out of Halifax or the other bigger cities," Lewis said. "These kids in the bigger cities have personal trainers throughout the year and do a lot of off ice conditioning and it seems to give them a bit of an edge."
The system seems to be working well so far for the Ramblers.
Many of the players the Ramblers drafted at the 2008 draft last weekend are local players who spent the last two years in the Top Prospect program. It's mutually beneficial for all parties concerned.
The camp begins July 9 and registration will take place on that day.
The cost of the camp is $160.00.
Any questions or concerns can be directed to Corey and Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration will be done through that e-mail address.