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Ultimate Fan Experience Is More Than Just A Meet And Greet

NFL wide receiver hosts catching camp with youngsters at Hofstra University

The importance of physical activity for children is becoming more important by the day. In the age of instant gratification and technology making daily tasks as simple as a finger tap, exercise is of primary concern; especially in young, growing children.

New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks knows that and showcased those ideals at his recent ProCamps Worldwide Ultimate Fan Experience presented by Citi at Hofstra University on Saturday, Nov. 17. Nicks, a four-year veteran, used the team’s bye week to give future gridiron greats an inside look of what it is to be an NFL player.

He put on a catching clinic which focused on everything from route running, line of scrimmage technique, proper ball placement in the arm, among other callisthenic drills. The 6’1, 215-pound Nicks touched on childhood health in an interview with Anton Newspapers, stating that being active and health consciousness is key, whether it’s catching passes at MetLife Stadium or going about a daily routine.

“Activity at a young age is very important,” Nicks said inside the David S. Mack Student Center as he signed an autograph for a child. “Regardless of the age, childhood health is key and should not take a back seat in a girl or boys life.”

From the swim move, to the slant, curl, hitch and go routes, Nicks hammered two common themes home to youngsters in Hempstead: dedication and practice, practice and practice.

“You learn at an early age the fundamentals of football take you a long way in life,” Nicks said. “For me personally, I learned that at a young age and I just tried to better myself. As the years went on with the fundamentals of the game, I just worked on those fundamentals, getting back to the basics of football. It’s all about practice.”

The North Carolina native called his chance to toe the line in the NFL a gift from God and is always looking to pay it forward, educating youngsters in the fundamentals of America’s passion that is professional football. Nicks credited the passages from the Bible that aid him in preparing for what lies ahead.

“I go with the flow and always make sure I read the Scriptures,” he said. “They are an important part of my life and I cherish them dearly.”

Rod Huber, head football coach at the College of Mount Saint Joseph in Ohio has worked with the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Adrian Peterson, Ben Roethlisberger and other NFL stars at ProCamps around the country. He lets the campers look into the mind of a collegiate football coach.

This marked the first time Huber has worked with Nicks, who he commended for using an off day to teach kids some key aspects of the game. Huber hosts 22 camps per year and noted similar points of interest Nicks found important, especially safe play. He started working with ProCamps in 2005.

“The concussion thing scares a lot of parents away from football,” said Huber. “We believe that if you start teaching a young child at eight and nine and 10 years old…flag football, how to catch the ball and how to run with your head up and tag kids, never dropping your head. By the time they get to middle school and they understand saying ‘this is how they taught me how to play the game without pads on,’ then when they start putting those pads on, they already have a good fundamental base on the safety that is necessary to play this great game.”

Nicks said that as he was telling the kids at the ProCamps event to stay strong and dedicated, he reminded himself that he and his teammates tell each other that everyday. “We all work hard and we go hard at each other to make each other better.”