Column: Building a successful athletic program

This week, I want to dive into a second topic that I feel very strongly about - building a successful athletic program. Cameron themselves has one of the most successful athletic programs in the state in its football team, which is in the top 10 in wins all time for all classifications and has won a total of four state championships. There is potential for other programs in Cameron to reach this level, but I believe there has to be changes at the bottom to make that happen.


Why is Yoe Football is so successful?

In Cameron - on any given Friday throughout the months of August through December - there is just a different feel in the air. That’s because there is going to be a Yoe football game played somewhere.


Football is big in Texas, but it’s on another level in Cameron. When people ask about the tradition here, I just tell them to watch the Friday Night Lights movie and that can give you an idea of what the game means to this community.


Kids start coming to football games at young ages and they one day want to be part of that environment. Those kids will one day wear the maroon and grey, following in the footsteps of those that came before them. They want to play at Jerry’s World. They want to be a Yoemen.


There is no question that Cameron has had some talented teams come through the system over the years. But, has Cameron always been the most talented team on the field in some of their wins? I do believe that pride and tradition have played a huge role. This community holds its football program to a very high standard, and we must start making that happen in other sports. We want these kids involved.


Fine motor skills - enhancing your skills

“Fine motor skills are small movements — such as picking up small objects and holding a spoon — that use the small muscles of the fingers, toes, wrists, lips, and tongue. Gross motor skills are the bigger movements — such as rolling over and sitting — that use the large muscles in the arms, legs, torso, and feet.” -


Those are the skills each of us learned when going through the early years of life. I believe these same principles apply to sports. Regardless of your talent level, there is some sort of preparation that has to go into being a good athlete, as natural talent can only take you so far. Whether it is throwing a football, spiking a volleyball, swinging a bat, taking your shot in basketball, or your stroke in golf, those fine motor skills need to be the developed over time.


This is where I believe we in Cameron are falling short with a lot of our sports programs. A lot of parents get their kids involved in the little dribblers or youth baseball association, and I highly recommend parents continue to do that. But, at some point there has to be another step taken, and that is where we are falling behind the competition.


Those steps would include private lessons and select ball.


I want you to go back and look at the 2011 state championship baseball team. Guess how many of those players did not play some sort of select ball? The answer would be none. There was certainly talent mixed in, which is an important key to all of this, but without fine tuning those skills, I don’t believe the state championship would have been in the picture.


John Broussard, which led Cameron to that state title and is currently leading Georgetown Gateway Prep to the state tournament this week, recently told me that approximately 98 percent of his kids have played or are playing some sort of select ball. Look at others around the area like Salado, Robinson and West, and you’re going to see a similar trend.


Doing this may not result in state championship after state championship appearance, but it will make for a more consistent program year in and year out.


I will say that each individual needs to do their due diligence when selecting one of these organizations. There are teams that will label themselves as “select”, but at the end of the day the coaching won’t be any better than you get from your average dad that is volunteering to coach in the local little league.


For baseball, I know of organizations such as the College Station 12, Brazos Valley Renegades and the Waco Storm have built strong reputations over time. For whatever sport you’re looking at, make sure the qualifications as there.


If you’re looking for something local, the Blaze basketball organization may be a good option.


Success breeds success

My belief is that once a program starts seeing success, then it makes it that much easier to get kids to want to come out to play, instead of either just quitting or not having the passion to play the sport any longer.


I want to reiterate that our number one problem is not at the top, but at the bottom. Yes, you need quality head coaches at the high school level, but you cannot simply blame them for all the failures if things aren’t going well.


The athletic department has done, and will continue to do what they can to help the program succeed. A prime example would be the summer strength and conditioning program, which is helping develop those gross skills. You also have a variety of camps in addition 7 on 7 and sumer basketball. But, that is only part of the equation. If we can have our kids prepared when they get into high school, I believe you are going to see dramatic changes in results. That is when you start developing that winning attitude and become more consistent, much like you have with Yoe football. The kids will want to follow in those same footsteps.


If you’re not sure where you go, simply ask one of the coaches on staff. I’m pretty sure they have some insight that would be helpful.