Going the Extra Mile: Top Gun QB/WR Academy
Written by Jason Lewis (Sports Editor), on 10-13-2010 18:44
A Top Gun QB/WR Academy athlete digs down deep to snag a ball in the back of the endzone.
Photo by Jason Lewis
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
Going the extra mile means putting in the extra work to become an elite athlete. Sometimes that means that an athlete has to go outside of their team’s coaching staff for help. That’s where coaches like Ron Jenkins at Top Gun Quarterback & Receiving Academy come into play.
“The high school coach, they have like 60 guys that they have to control,” Jenkins said. “When they’re putting in the offense or the defense, they’re just trying to line them up and tell them what to do. They just don’t have the time to sit down with the players, one-on-one, and show the kid exactly what to do.”
That statement is no slight on high school coaches, who spend hours doing the job, and sometimes a thankless one at that, of preparing players to take the field.
Jenkins statement is simply pointing out that players need individual attention to reach their full potential.
“What I look for is what the kid has the problem with, and I give him the tools where he can correct it,” Jenkins said. “And then they get better really, really quick.”
With Jenkins, it is all about the details that can take an average player and develop him into a really great player. Take wide receivers for example, Jenkins points out that many receivers, who run a 10-yard curl route, will slow down at the top of his route, just before he breaks down and comes back to the ball. Well, when the receiver slows down and starts to break down, it tips the cornerback off that it is a curl pattern, and the cornerback will then break down and come back too.
Jenkins makes one simple change that is very effective. He instructs his receivers to run the 10 yards as fast as they can, selling the deep pattern, and then hitting the breaks. Running the pattern like that does not tip the cornerback off.
Jenkins has all kind of techniques that can take a quarterback or receiver to the next level.
“I’m trying to teach them the technique and the little things makes things a lot easier,” Jenkins said. “When we’re out here, we rep it so many times that they do it automatically when they are in the game.”
Jenkins recently coached quarterback Matt Simms, the son of Super Bowl champion quarterback Phil Simms. Matt Simms is now playing college football at Tennessee.
Jenkins also worked with Kenbrell Thompkins, who was a wide receiver at El Camino College. Thompkins was heavily recruited by many Division 1-A programs, and he chose to play football at Cincinnati.
Jenkins trains athletes from Pop Warner age to the pros. During football season most of his sessions are on Sunday afternoons at West High School in Torrance. During the offseason the sessions are Saturdays and Sundays.
Smaller group sessions helps Jenkins give his athletes the attention that they need. For quarterbacks he usually limits it to 3-4 at a time, and he prefers to only work with two. For wide receivers he likes groups of four. He believes that larger groups or clinics are not as effective.
“There is one coach, and he has to teach eight or 12 guys,” Jenkins said. “I can tell a kid a drill that they are all supposed to do, but I can’t take the kid to the side and say ‘look, you’re not turning your ankle enough, you’re not snapped your head around.”
With smaller groups Jenkins can walk his athletes through the drills a lot more effectively than with larger groups.
Jenkins has written books and has a DVD set, which can be purchased through his website, and he has several youtube videos that are useful tools for quarterbacks and wide receivers.
Visit www.topgunqbacademy.com for more information.