By Charles Prince

The North Jefferson News

Former University of Alabama football star Jeremiah Castille will co-host the Jeremiah Castille Foundation/S.W.A.T.S Sports Performance Cam Speed Camp this Saturday in Fultondale from 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Castille, who has co-hosted two camps already this summer, said the change from football camps to speed camps was a move to give more athletes a chance to enhance their athletic abilities.

“We can touch more athletes with a speed-training camp than a football camp,” Castille said. “We’ve hosted football camps in the past, but this gives athletes from all sports, including female athletes, a chance to get involved.”

Castille, who played professional football after graduating from Alabama, said the key to success in any sport starts with speed.

“Think about it,” he said. “Speed training helps in every sport. Look at soccer, what are they doing the majority of the time? Running. In baseball, the outfielders run. A player’s skill in any sport will improve if his speed improves.”

According to Castille, who will be joined at the camp by former Auburn and Olympic sprinter Willie Smith, said many of the athletes who have attended the first two camps this summer saw dramatic decreases in their time in the 40-yard dash.

“We’ve had camps at Brairwood Christian and at Oxford and some of the athletes shaved more than a second off their 40-time,” he said. “Others saw their times go down by .3, .4 or half a second.”

Castille said many of the campers realized right away the benefits of improving their speed, such as giving them a chance to go from a back-up to a starter on their high school team, moving closer to being a division one prospect in their chosen sport, among others.

“A lot of division one athletes don’t know proper running technique,” Castille said. “When they are taught it, it allows them to compete at the highest level possible.”

Castille pointed out that his speed allowed him was able to overcome a perceived lack of size to play football at one of top programs in America.

“I played football at the University of Alabama and I was only 5-foot-9 and 155 pounds,” he said. “I played there, because I could run. I was small, but I could run.”

Castille said improved speed can open the way for young athletes to improve their chances of receiving scholarship offers.

However, he pointed out the camp consists of much more than just athlete training.

“We’ll talk to the athletes about character and also about drugs,” he said. “Not only steroids, but street drugs as well.”

Castille said the campers will learn the proper fundamentals of running and this will help every aspect of their games.

“Any athlete can be taught to run faster through learning proper mechanics,” Castille said. “That’s what they’ll get at our camp, and they’ll see the results right away from using the proper technique.”

Athletes from all sports, ages eight to 18 are welcome to sign up, with the cost per camper set at $75.

According to Castille, his football camp in Fultondale last year attracted about 125 athletes. He’s expecting a similar number this year and he asks all campers to come ready and eager to learn.

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