Article By Tom Green
The Youth Highland Wildcats have undergone a three day camp on the 7th to the 9th April. This camp tested the players’ skills, knowledge and athleticism through three days of drills and video reviews.
I was unfortunately unable to attend the first day of the camp all of the feedback which I received from the coaching staff was really positive and everyone who attended the first day should be proud of what they achieved.
Day 2 was another strong day of work which this time I was able to attend and my overall summary of that day is extremely positive.
Over 25 players were active throughout the day and three other players who couldn’t participate in the practice due to injury turned up to learn the plays and support their team mates which is a great show of personal character and commitment.
There were also 11 coaching staff and volunteers who took their time out to assist in the development of the players which has to be commended as all of this wouldn’t have been possible without them.
The players were taken through a series of tackling drills involving crash mats during the morning session to work on correct tackling techniques under the supervision of the coaching staff.
Whilst all this was going on the Quarterbacks and lineman were participating in their own drills with Kyle Robertson (who took care with the QB’s) and James Hudson (Highland Bowl I Champions coach) took charge of the offensive and defensive lines. The players then separated into three groups to work on more position specific drills.
After the lunch break the majority of the players were sent into the “Green Room” to go over film from the previous day’s scrimmage period. The players who did not participate in the video review were taken outside to work on more basic skills. The team then reunited for install and walkthrough and then into the afternoon practice.
The day started with an emphasis on catching with all the skilled positions, led by Head Coach Robbie Paulin. Whilst this was going on Kyle Robertson trained the line with a variety of drills designed to make the linemen use their feet and play better under pressure.
After the morning workout the players were well looked after by Team Welfare Officer Marion Macleod who had organised lunch courtesy of LB Bakery from the Victorian Market which included hot food, fruit and homemade cake.
After the indulgence of the lunch period the players went through a video review of the previous days play. When this was done the afternoon practice started and included and a new gauntlet drill for linebackers and Cornerback ending in a situation scrimmage at the end.
The weather throughout the camp was warm and sunny with periods of light showers which made it a pleasant day for both the players and the volunteers who had taken the time to make the camp successful.
All of the players showed a great team spirit and determination throughout the three days which made it a difficult choice for the coaches to award MVP’s for each of the camps days.
The first MVP awarded was won by Cornerback Stig McArthur who put his all into the defensive drills and did his job during the team scrimmages at the end of the day’s practice.
The Day 2 award went to Quarterback Cameron Robertson who represented the Culloden Academy Raptors in the HACL. He worked really hard throughout the day and showed what he is worth throughout the day’s play.
The third MVP of the camp was awarded to Linebacker Fergus MacKenzie who in my opinion stepped up to the plate throughout all the days of the camp and gave offensive players a hard time during drills and scrimmages.
Every member of the Wildcats youth staff who were at the camp showed fantastic commitment and made it an enjoyable experience for all the players involved.
For instance, new coaches, Chris Shaw and Ewan Sime were very hard working throughout the camp and were very impressive as coaches and have done more than what could possibly be expected of them. They are a credit to the club and are two of the nicest people I have had the pleasure of meeting.
Daniel Woodley was there every day an hour or so before Robbie would unlock the Blitz (I know because I was half an hour earlier than expected and always bumped into him) and does as much as he can to keep the practice facility running as smoothly as possible.
Marion Macleod kept The Blitz reception area running smoothly throughout the day whilst finding the time to source half the world’s supply of oranges and food to make sure the players are well fed.
The camp was an enjoyable experience for me and I hope that the Youth Wildcats can keep up this hard work and bring the Wildcats another Scottish Championship and BritBowl.
I asked Head Coach Robbie Paulin what his thoughts were about the last three days, “It’s been one of the most productive camps we’ve ever had. Over 30 players throughout the 3 days participated and all of them improved majorly. I’m so please with how my staff delivered the camp and it’s their hard work that’s allowed us to maintain a high quality even with such large numbers of players working out each day. As well as our MVPs, every player put in a hell of a lot of effort and there were some real standouts! Alasdair Howie, Seumas Ross and Mark Pyper made big impacts from Running Back and really impressed me! Corin Robinson at Linebacker came on leaps and bounds during the camp and with more practice Joe Eaglesham I think could be a real impact player in that position too.”
“The next two practices are crucial as we put together our squad for the first tournament in Elgin on 26 April and also prepare our for the development game against the Moray Tide the week after on 4 May.”