By Michael Kelley
LATROBE, Pa. – It's not just the Steelers' players who are learning drills this year at training camp, but it's also kids in grades 1-12 who are learning at the new Play 60 Fun Zone during training camp.
The Play 60 Fun Zone is stationed above the practice fields and runs daily from 3:30-4:30 p.m when the team has practice. Participants stretch and warm-up for ten minutes before embarking to the five drill stations, each ten minutes long, for a full 60 minute workout.
Included are the following activities:
- 40-Yard Dash – Test your speed against the best
- Running Backs Station – Shift and cut before scoring a touchdown
- Wide Receiver Drills – Run five different receiving routes like Antonio Brown
- Do-It-At-Home Exercises – Pushups, situps, and squats
- Quick Feet Drills: Work on your lateral quickness and foot speed through various obstacles
"It's awesome. I can watch my favorite team and then come out here and have fun," said Bryce Darling, 13. "I try to play like Big Ben (Roethlisberger)."
Hedstrom Fitness, a training partner of the Steelers, provided Bosu and Kamagon Balls for the Do-It-At-Home Exercises Station.
Local area youth football teams are also at training camp each day taking part in skills clinics to celebrate Back to Football 2014.
The Steelers are staying involved in the community while at camp, hosting groups and youth football activities.
Steelers' players including Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey and Le'Veon Bell have taken part, as well as wide receivers coach Richard Mann and defensive assistant Joey Porter.
Kids learn more about the 'Heads Up Football' program, which encourages safer football techniques. USA Football's Heads Up Tackling program includes a series of drills that reinforce proper tackling mechanics to reduce helmet contacts. Concussion awareness is heavily emphasized.
Bob Chorba of Norwin Rams Youth Football is one of the coaches who brought his team to participate in the clinic and learn from the Steelers.
"I think it's such a great experience for the kids," said Chorba. "They learn how to keep their heads up during tackling as opposed to heads down and then they see the Steelers doing the same thing and they think it's the greatest thing in the world."