Basile, Tomczak Lead Youth Camp
The first annual Pittsburgh Power youth camp took place this morning at CONSOL Energy Center from 9 am-12 pm. The National Guard sponsored the event and they brought in a humvee and gave away free water bottles to whoever participated in the camp. Power Assistant Coach Brian Basile led the camp with the help of three other coaches.
“We have three great coaches along with me today. One of best high school coaches in western PA, Coach Sam Zambanini. From the college level we have Tom Rogish and on the professional level we have our Power offensive coordinator Mike Tomczak,” Basile said.
After introductions, Coach Basile had the kids take a knee and welcomed them to the arena.
“We want you all to learn as much as you can in the three hours you are here so when you come back next year we can build on those skills,” he added.
The kids started on the goal line and were split into groups of 10 for warm ups and stretches, which included high knees, butt kicks, and lunges. Then they were divided into the Panther group, Power group, and Steelers group for drills.
Coach Rogish led the shuttle run; Coach Tomczak was in charge of the 40-yard dash, and Coach Zambanini headed the broad jump. The kids then moved on to agility, offensive, and defensive drills.
One of the participants of the camp was 11-year old Mick Walsh. Mick was the Make-A-Wish kid for the Power last season. His mother, Ann Walsh, said the Power went above and beyond for her son.
“The Power were such a source a goodness through such a tough time. The way they have treated him and the things they have done for our family is incredible,” she said.
The Power set up a recruiting call between Mick and Coach Sigfried and then had a big press day for him to sign his contract. Power co-owner Matt Shaner was there with him and then they went over to the practice facility where Michael was able to participate in the practice.
“He was out there catching passes and running routes with the guys. It really was a dream come true,” Walsh said. “They called later that week and said ‘hey there is a team dinner you have to come with us’. On game night Mr. Swann met him at the back door and then Mick got to run through the tunnel with the players and sat on the bench during the game.”
Walsh said she saw the camp advertised on the website and signed her two boys up. Halfway through the camp Coach Basile called the kids in for a pep talk.
“We win games by being strong in the second half. You get a little tired but this is where you have to focus and get your concentration back,” he said.
Toward the end of camp, Coach Rogish explained the final drill: 8 on 8. The kids were split into two groups, one playing on each side of the field. Each side was then divided into two teams. Power players A.J. Jackson, Bryan Williams, and Jason Jones came to the camp and helped coach the games.
“Once you catch the ball you have three chances to get in the end zone. There is no blocking either. If there is an incomplete pass it goes to the next down and once the ball is caught you are down,” he said.
Each kid received a certificate at the conclusion of the camp with his or her stats from the morning along with two tickets to tonight’s game, a hat, and a drawstring bag.
The Power take on the Jacksonville Sharks tonight at 8 pm at CONSOL Energy Center.