NORWALK -- When you're in grades 1-8, there are a lot of different ways to spend your summer days: Jump in the pool, play video games with your friends, get some ice cream, go on a family vacation or simply kick back and put your feet up.
But 37 students from Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, Wilton, Westport, Rowayton -- and even as far as Meriden -- made a four-day commitment to hone their lacrosse skills at Darien High School lacrosse coach Jeff Brameier's camp at the SoNo Field House.
"I think the No. 1 thing is the amount of touches and repetition they get in a short span of time. It's a very advanced level of play," Brameier said. "Lacrosse is such a booming sport that everyone tries to find ways to get themselves better. The kids are interested in learning more about the game and learning from the coaches."
Wednesday was day three of the camp, and McNulty indicated that the boys get to participate in a wide range of drills, stating specifically that the camp focuses on basics and builds to live game action, the latter of which is very popular among campers.
"We make sure they know the basics. We start with catching and throwing. Then after that is learning all the dodges, which includes stick protection. That's important," McNulty said. "You've got to be able to run down the field without losing the ball, and you've got to be able to get away from the guy who's guarding you, and we show them different dodges."
And since the camp is being hosted by local high school lacrosse coaches, a youth player's commitment has the potential to make an impression.
"The players here are good. They've obviously been working at it. This isn't their first camp," McNulty said. "They can play, they have good skills and they can improve in something like this because they're getting lots of repetition."
The camp not only helps players sharpen their skills, but also allows them the chance to make some new friends from other towns.
"I like just playing with my friends, and it's fun just getting out there and playing lacrosse," said Darien's Connor O'Malley, a rising fifth grader and midfielder. "I'm going to say my dodges (have improved the most). It's pretty amazing that you get this good of coaching."
"It's really awesome. I like the scrimmages at the end when you get to just play little games," said New Canaan's Diego Ferreira, a rising sixth grader and defender. "It helps because usually you don't play lacrosse in the summer, and it helps you get better."
The SoNo Field House is a spacious indoor facility, so the coaches have all the room they need to get the most out of the time they have with the campers.
"The air conditioned facility avails kids the opportunity to not be effected by heat," Brameier said. "There's a lot of individual and small group work, but you still want to play the game. This number (of campers) gives kids the chance to go out and play for last half hour or 45 minutes of camp."
The players also seem to believe that they're getting the most out of every minute spent at the camp.
"We've been learning different types of shooting and how to work on our dodges and improve stuff," said Darien's Steven Pokorny, a rising fifth grader and midfielder/attacker. "It's really fun to get to meet the coaches, and maybe they'll pick me for the high school teams."
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