Players prep for season with speed and agility training

VERNON, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The first day of high school football practice is July 29.

No matter how close or how far, the grind never stops for athletes and teams, always trying to find ways to improve.

Vernon coach Gerald Tranquille brought players from his school, Port St. Joe, Liberty, and Holmes together Saturday for a collaborative camp with speed and agility extraordinaire Keion McNair.

McNair, the track and field coach at Port St. Joe, has worked with athletes in just about every sport, from youth to the pros.

These drills look simple, but there's more to be learned than meets the eye, and the hope is that the lessons will carry over into this season.

"We've been going to a lot of these camps and their testing times haven't been where I thought they should be," Tranquille said. "He's a great guy, USA Olympic certified. I just knew if the guys showed up, they could get some good work."

For McNair, the guidance comes easy. When working with football players, it's often the first time any of them have been given formal instructions of this kind.

"It's the basic knowledge to let them know you're false stepping, you're stepping behind, you're coming out of the blocks, and by showing them the small things that you can do to increase your speed, showing them the hurdles," McNair said.

But the vibe isn't like a football practice. It's McNair keeps the camp fun.

"I'm showing them about some other athletes I've worked with," (a list which includes Roman Quinn and Calvin Pryor) "and compare their times with them. Hey, you're almost right here with this guy and that's a grown man! They love competing."

Preseason classics are scheduled August 14 through 17, with the regular season beginning the following week.

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