Taking part in the ECU athletic conditioning camp are, left to right, Korim Topping, Duncan Long, Marnie Jones, Sammy Lucas, Dave Kemble, Nicole Mallard and Kirk Roberson. (Contributed photos)

Kids Work Out and Shape Up at ECU

By Kathy Muse

Local school children who play sports recently had the opportunity to get a leg up on their competition.

Athletes in grades 6-12 spent a portion of their summer on the East Carolina University campus attending the Department of Kinesiology (formerly Exercise and Sport Science) Athletic Conditioning Camp, College of Health and Human Performance.

Cones, ladders, plyometric boxes, jump ropes, and medicine balls scattered throughout the Christenbury Memorial Gymnasium were used to help these young athletes improve their power, speed, strength, and agility.

Catie Jones, 14, returned for a second year said, “This camp was fantastic. We did something new every day.” She plans to try out for volleyball and swimming as a freshman at South Central High School this fall.

Sam Lucas, of Winston Salem, was one of four ECU undergraduate health fitness specialist students who assisted with the camp. “Basic planning for each session included getting the campers to perform drills that would require them to use body awareness and coordination,” he said. “Progressive drills were designed to take athletes from simple movements to dynamic movements that involved major muscle groups.”

Students worked under the supervision of Dave Kemble, instructor, who has organized this camp for three years.

“The most important drills we teach are deceleration drills,” Kemble said. “Too often young athletes are taught to accelerate their bodies to run fast. My training philosophy is different. Before campers learn to run fast they must demonstrate their ability to slow down and control their bodies.”

While the focus of the camp was to improve athletic development, this type of training can also reduce the risk of sport-related injuries.

“This camp has proven to be an exciting time in my academic year. To see my students evolve from the classroom into these capable leaders is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in higher education,” said Kemble.

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Contact: Kathy Muse, (252) 328-5555 or