Ballenas Whalers quarterback Ben Robinson will try to lead the school’s football team back into the playoffs in his Grade 12 year this fall. — NEWS file photo

Off-season training boosts Parksville football team

Ballenas Secondary coach happy to see players attend camp in great shape

Training is key to success.

That’s the message coaches of the Ballenas Whalers football team have strongly expressed to their players. They emphasized the importance of working out during the off-season and not to wait until the season starts.

The Whalers’ football camp will start on August 14. It will consist of four light gear and eight full gear practices.

Coach Dan Smith stressed that the football camp is important in determining the success of the team.

“It is also a great opportunity to shape the personality of the 2017 Whalers team,” said Smith, who has reminded his players to come into camp in shape and ready to go.

“The more guys that we have that come into Whaler football camp in shape, the better we will be as a team,” said Smith.

Smith encourages off-season training because it works. He cited this year’s spring camp as an example. He noticed that most of the players that attended were in “better shape, stronger, faster and with improved football skill movement.

“A better conditioned returning core group of players, joined by some excellent new players, contributed to what I would say was one of our most successful spring camps ever,” said Smith.

The commitment of many of the players to the off-season training program led by Whaler football alumni Terrek Bryant and Alex Adams, Smith said, was instrumental in the success of spring camp.

“We all felt very impressed with the work ethic and enthusiasm of the players,” said Smith.

The success of the spring camp was evident at the Annual Jamboree where the Whalers competed against Barsby Secondary and Nanaimo District Secondary. Both the senior and junior Whalers won all their respective games, which Smith said was a first for the team. The Juniors beat NDSS 20-6 and Barsby 18-6, while the Seniors beat NDSS 14-6 and Barsby 24-12.

“The jamboree is a very important aspect of spring camp as it gives the kids a chance to compete against other good players to test their skills,” said Smith. “It is also a nice reward for their hard work in camp.”

The coaches also use the jamboree to gauge the Whalers’ overall game.

“It provides an opportunity for us to see how our kids compete, to test our offence and defence schemes and to get it all on film,” said Smith. “We use the film to evaluate the player’s skills and to uncover what else we need to work on to get ready for the fall.”

The Whalers still need to commit to summer workouts as well as recruit more junior and senior players in the fall to improve the team’s depth in all positions.

Smith said he was excited to see the addition of the new junior Whalers, including those moving up from the Oceanside Youth Football Program at the camp. As well, he welcomed new Grade 12 players who have decided to be part of the Whaler football experience in their senior year.

“If we could add a few more guys like these in the fall, we will have a very competitive team,” said Smith.