Understanding the price tag that was being placed upon players and their families, Spanish Springs High football coach Scott Hare decided to change the regular summer itinerary for his football program.
For the second year in a row, Hare and the rest of the Cougars staff are running a four-day-long camp at Golden Eagle Regional Park for their team as well as other squads looking for an alternative to the expensive norm.
“The reason I started this last year was because of the fact that our kids were spending so much money and we were giving it all to the universities,” Hare said. “To me, that didn’t make any sense because when you go to the university’s camps, you’re still coaching your own team. It’s not like the coaches from Oregon are coaching my team. I’m coaching my team. So when you go to their camps, they’re just facilitating it. We’re paying them basically for us to have the ability to practice on their field.
“I started to realize ‘Why not keep our money here in town?’ Obviously we still have to pay for insurance and we still have to pay for the fields, but that’s a nominal cost compared to what the universities were charging us for the right to basically practice on their campus. To me, I just couldn’t see charging the kids $150-$200 anymore just so we can practice on UNR’s field. It just didn’t make sense. This way, our team is getting better and if we want to go watch a college football game, we can go sit in the stands and go watch a college football game.”
In the previous years leading up to Hare’s intuition to start his own camp, he and his football team had traveled to camps in Gold Beach, Ore., Redding, Calif., as well as the camp at the University of Nevada. While other schools continue to choose to go the route of a university camp, the crews from Galena, Reno, Wooster and Spanish Springs are happy with their newest way of training.
“Everyone loves it and everybody I’ve talked to really loves the structure,” Hare said. “Reno and Wooster we’re both here last year and obviously Galena came out this year. To me it’s one of those things where it seems like the coaches really like the structure and even more so they like the cost. I don’t know how you can beat the cost for $35 per kid.
“I think the biggest success is the fact that Galena came out this year so that means that we’re gaining schools. I think word is getting out from a local standpoint that this is a pretty good deal. At the end of the day your kids get to go home. You don’t have to spend a bunch of money on cafeteria food and they get to go home and sleep in their own bed. I used to go to Oregon for a couple of years and there was some great camaraderie stuff to it, but shoot, we can go camping. Last year we went to Pyramid Lake for the day and had a barbecue and that was great. We do still do the camaraderie stuff, but we’re not paying for it anymore.”
The savings are not the only thing the teams at the camp are banking on. Along with the nominal price, players are also getting quality time on the field under the direction of their own coaches.
“It is really team-based so when the teams come out here they really get to dictate what they want to do and how they want to do it,” Hare said. “I think that is what everybody liked the most. Everyone enjoys the fact that we’re not on a timed schedule. If we want to run our own practices, we can. Or if we want to do some team practices with another team, we can do that too. I think that’s really the biggest attraction. Plus, obviously the place is beautiful. We really just want to take advantage of what the community has given us out here. I think that’s the number one thing though. Everybody really liked the ability to do their own thing and get their own team better and then being able to kind of combine and do some scrimmage stuff.
“It’s two hours of your own practice, so you do a self-practice to start then we’ll do an inside-run, team-pass period versus the other teams that is very structured and then we’ll do some 7-on-7 and then we do kind of a live scrimmage. For the most part though, it’s pretty quick. I would say every body is getting in about 25 plays and that’s about it. You’re trying to get a little bit on film and your kids are trying to show the coaches what they can do. Really, ultimately it’s just about making mistakes now so we’re not making them in September.”