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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Camp A-Train

FB Mike Alstott continues a holiday tradition by holding his annual football camp for the children at the Joshua House


FB Mike Alstott ran the kids at the Joshua House through a variety of exercises, including the favorite A-Train Drill

Tampa Bay Buccaneers FB Mike Alstott is usually on the receiving end of the handoffs. On Friday, however, the six-time Pro Bowler was the one doing the distributing, as he hosted his sixth annual holiday youth football clinic at the Joshua House. The Joshua House is a group home for children between the ages of 4-12 that have been in dysfunctional, violent or otherwise unhealthy living situations.

On Friday, Alstott began the afternoon by pausing at the Christmas tree to take individual pictures with the children and give each an autographed Buccaneers pennant and a Nike water bottle. Alstott then invited the kids out into the yard to take part in his football clinic.

The first segment was a pass-catching drill where the kids divided up into two teams and raced against one another. The drill began with the children racing over multi-colored, stuffed speed bumps and into a box. Once in the box they turned around and caught a pass, then weaved through several cones before sprinting across the finish line.

Alstott's team lost the race, but he disputed the results, pointing out that his group had about seven more people than his rivals. All was forgiven as the two groups merged and headed over to the next station.

"They're having fun and I'm having fun, too," said Alstott. "It's a great thing to be a part of."

The next station was called the Rumble-Stumble-Fumble drill. It began with the kids taking a handoff from Alstott and weaving around several cones and then sprinting through a ladder drill, making sure a foot hit in each rung of the ladder. After the ladder, the kids ran over several speed bumps and around a cone, before bursting through two heavy blocking dummies. The drill concluded with the runner tossing the football to a drill instructor who then rolled it on the ground for the kids to recover.

"This was awesome," said Steve, a Joshua House resident. "I get to run the football with Mike Alstott. It's really cool."

The third drill was a fan-favorite, as everyone got to do his or her favorite Warren Sapp or Simeon Rice impression. The drill began with each child taking a handoff – hey, this is Mike Alstott's clinic – and running through a ladder drill. As each kid finished the ladder run, they flipped the ball to an instructor and did five jumping jacks in a marked off area. After the jumping jacks, the kids sprinted over several speed bumps, knocked over a heavy blocking dummy and exploded through the final tackling dummy. As an added bonus, the kids were all encouraged to perform their favorite sack dance after taking down the quarterback.

"They were really good on the agility drills," said Alstott. "There are a lot of QB killers out here."

That wasn't quite the end of the fun, however. Alstott had one more drill waiting for the kids, his personal favorite. He calls it 'The A-Train.'

The A-Train begins with Alstott handing the ball to the kids and having them shuffle sideways through three cones. After the shuffle, they must stiff-arm a heavy blocking dummy and take off on a short sprint. After that, the kids must backpedal around another cone before jumping several speed bumps and plowing over another blocking dummy for the touchdown.

That, folks, is the A-Train.

That was also the end of Mike's clinic at the Joshua House, and time for everyone to get ready for dinner. There were no sad faces, however. Everyone knew that Alstott and his camp would be back again next year.

"It's for the kids," said Alstott. "To be able to come out here and put a smile on their face and interact with them is great. Hopefully, it's something special for them, because I know it was special for me."

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