Fun FAI camp leaves lasting impressions
THE FAI Summer Schools Soccer Camp made its way to Rush Athletic last week where more than 95 kids turned up for five days of fun and coaching.
Leading the camp was Rush head coach Vinny Patterson who commended his coaching team on an excellent job across the week.
He was joined by Rush development officer Paul Keogh, along with other trainers from around the local area, and he feels the fact that he knew the lads before the camp kicked off was a major factor in the smooth running of the week.
'We have a lot of local lads. Paul Keogh is the development officer and then you have coaches from Lusk and Rush. They go from camp to camp - I can only give my time to the Rush camp and it's all local coaches who do it mainly.
'Being the head coach, I want to know all the coaches, who they are and what's their background. When you have 95 kids, the majority of which are under 10, you want to know you're working with good people.
'For most of those coaches, that was their fifth or sixth week and to still have the energy and drive for it is fantastic,' he said.
The main aim for these camps is to instil a sense of fun and enjoyment in those participating, but Patterson feels there is also a need to teach at least one new skill.
'Although it's a fun week for them we wanted to make sure they learned something in the camp, so it did get a bit technical depending on age and skill level. So at the end of it, even if they come away learning only one thing it will make them a better player and make the week worthwhile.'
Having the opportunity to play on Rush's main front pitch was another plus.
'Having it on the front pitch was fantastic because it is in great nick, and for people passing through Rush, to see so much activity on that pitch is great. To see everyone in the same gear and to drive past and see that is fantastic, and we hope it attracts a few new players.'
Patterson said he could really measure the success of the camp by going through the village in the evenings.
'It's great getting them up with all the gear on, it's a big deal for them.
'You see a lot of the kids after the camp in the town and out in fields still wearing the gear. It makes them feel good about themselves and you know that you have done your job and you will have fostered a real sense of enjoyment in the kids.'
With so many coming from the local areas, Patterson says that the kids will develop friendships with other players and then when they face them with their respective clubs it will just enhance their enjoyment of the sport.
'It's fantastic and that's what it's all about. If Rush come up and play Skerries and there are two lads from the Skerries team who were on the camp coming up against Rush lads on the camp, it'll just be a bit of craic for them.
'That's what it's all about at the end of the day, just making friends and having fun.'