A Mainland-style Football Camp

Each year, hundreds of top college football players are invited to the popular NFL Scouting Combine where they take part in various measurable drills, such as the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone drill and shuttle run.

It’s conducted by coaches, scouts, executives and doctors from all 32 NFL teams and takes place prior to the NFL Draft, which means each athlete’s performance at the combine can have an impact on their chances of being drafted into the NFL.

For Hawaii’s youths who dream of playing college and pro football one day or simply want to improve their game, the inaugural Gridiron Performance Academy (GPA) Football Combine and Camp happening this month at Kaiser High School gives them an opportunity to test their skills and abilities and then compare it to others their age across the nation.

Organized by former NFLer Rich Miano, strength and conditioning coach Chad Ikei and Play Sports Hawaii president Brian Kaupiko, the event is divided into three age/grade categories: Grades 1-5 (June 8), sixth- to eighth-graders (June 15-16) and high schoolers (June 21-23).

Participants will be evaluated for height, weight, vertical reach, 40-yard, pro-agility, broad jump, vertical jump, bench press and L-Cone. There also will be position-specific instruction and evaluation, one-on-one time, and seminars with guest speakers, including coach Dick Tomey.

“I think most parents want to know how their child stacks up physically against the kids in Hawaii and on the Mainland,” says Miano, who played more than 11 seasons in the NFL with the Jets, Eagles and Falcons. “We want to give the best in terms of coaching and in the techniques and structure of the camp. We want it to be as much like the NFL, big college football or any big clinic that’s done on the Mainland, but people in Hawaii don’t have to spend all that money to go to the Mainland.”

Miano, who also is president of Hawaii Speed & Quickness Camp and head football coach at Kaiser High School, notes that education also will be a big message at the camp. “GPA also stands for grade point average, and we’re going to talk about how important education is, the process of being accepted to a college and using football as a vehicle for higher education,” he explains. “And while the focus is football, we encourage kids from a young age through high school to play all sports.”

Cost is $99 for elementary school ages, $149 for middle school and $199 for high school. For details, visit gpafootball.com or call 384-3265.