NFA provides competitive edge with PSP camps

Natahn Hamby, left, and NFA Founder/President Darin Slack at the 2014 Duel

The calendar says football season starts in late August and possibly runs through through the New Year, depending on a team’s playoff status.
In reality, football season runs year round.
When the gridiron’s bright lights are dim, football’s shining stars are prepping for the next game. Or, for the season that lies ahead.
In either scenario, NFA is a major influence.
As we journey into the summer months, NFA’s Off-Season Development Camps are in the books.
Now, it is almost time for the critical Pre-Season Preparation Camps.
Let’s let NFA Founder/President Darin Slack expound on the importance of the OSD and PSP camps:
“I stay motivated year-round because I’m talking to people every day that have needs,” Slack said. “I was recently on the phone with a father who is looking at our program not as a single event, but as an experience to condition his son for future growth. No one event is going to be what an athlete needs to get better. What we’re looking for is to create a partnership, so I have to stay pretty motivated year round to assist people to achieve the objective they have, not just build a one-and-done quarterback or a one-event player, but a player who connects with us on a partnership level and takes our material and is able to use it in a way that helps him gain a competitive advantage.”

Welcome to NFA

Clearly, NFA is committed to building quality football players on a year-round basis. But the upcoming PSP camps – followed by the wildly popular Duel in Massilion, Ohio – are special.
“With the PSP camps, what I like about this particular group, this is a different group,” Slack said. “Our OSDs, many of them have already bought in, we get about a 50-60 percenrt retention rate. PSPs, it’s an awful lot of new people. We get a lot of new people that we don’t yet know. It’s a lesser priced point camp and it’s more entry level. It allows people to be exposed to our material.
“What I get excited about are the new faces, the new people, that come in and learn about NFA and then they recycle and join the program in December coming back to our OSDs for the coming year. What you end up with is you cycle them into a deeper, more meaningful experience in their specialization once they find out about us through the PSP program. I get excited about the new faces we’re going to meet every summer in the PSPs and forging that partnership that’s going to give them that advantage they’re going to need.”
Remember that word.
Among many other things in the NFA experience, advantage is critical.
“Anytime you get immersed in material that’s going to help you be more effective in self-correction, it’s going to be a good thing,” Slack said. “Most people go to camps for the opportunity to do drills or get noticed or get exposure. I believe in that very, very much. There is a time where you have to pursue exposure. But when there’s nothing to export and you’re not at that point yet, you need to be in development mode. You need to be constantly looking for opportunities to challenge you to prepare for the upcoming season.”

Position to succeed

NFA has been preparing up-and-coming football players since 1988 with a roster full of some of the top coaches in the country.
“NFA’s approach to leadership, as well as the way we do drills, are going to put kids in a position to succeed a lot faster than other kids because we’re drilling down on things they’re actually going to do in the fall at their programs in high school or at the youth levels, not things they hope to do one day in an offense they don’t play for yet,” said Slack, an All-American quarterback at the University of Central Florida. “We’re preparing them for the actual season they’re going to play in, giving them that competitive edge. We’re not focused on giving them things that aren’t going to matter in the upcoming season. We’re focused on what matters most, and that’s preparation to serve their team as leaders and as the men they need to be as well as the quarterbacks they need to be, and the wide receivers and running backs they need to be.”
At the end of the PSPs, the best of NFA’s best meet up at Paul Brown Stadium in Ohio to compete at the Duel.
Here are last year’s Duel winners:
First – Kristoff Kowalkowski
Second – Aidan Pieper
Third – Eli Holstein (competed as fourth grader)
First – AJ Simpkins
Second – Coleman Smith
Third – Joey McCann
First – Ken Seals
Second – Trent Graves
Third – Shaun Wimberly Jr.
First – Michael Kern
Second – Keegan Holloran
Third – Trey Brown
First – Davis Brin
Second – Josh Jones
Third – Jake Dilcher
First – Kiernen Hamilton
Second – Johnny Carnagio
Third – Taden Blaise
First – Zach Simons
Second – DJ Phillips
Third – Nathan Hamby

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Scot Gregor is an award-winning sportswriter for the Chicago Daily Herald. In addition to writing about Big 10 and Notre Dame football, Gregor has also covered the White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and college basketball. He grew up in Pittsburgh and watched the Steelers rise to prominence in the 1970s. Gregor has a B.S. degree in Journalism from Ohio University