Exclusive LaDainian Tomlinson Interview And Football Camp Details

Youth Football Online had the disctint pleasure of exclusively interviewing NFL great LaDainian Tomlinson. As you make decisions on which football camps that you will attend this summer, we encourage you to visit LaDainian’s academy, the LT Preparatory Academy. LaDainian and his team have created a program to help students improve their chances of earning an athletic scholarship.  For football, they put focus on drills and skills training, performance clinics and much more. They are also dedicated and proactive with the educational component of being a football athlete and help kids prepare for the next step.

LT Academy Dates: 

June 28-30, 2013 in Texas, for more details please click Fort Worth Clinic LT Academy Info .

July 12-14, 2013 in Georgia, for more details please click  Kennesaw Clinic LT Academy Info.

Our interview with LaDainian Tomlinson:

Question/Answers:

Youth Football Online: 

Football safety is in the news often as the game evolves into a safer sport. What are your thoughts on recent rule change for NFL running backs, now unable to lead with crown of helmet? How is this going to effect RB play in the open field?

LaDainian Tomlinson: 

I actually like the rule, I do think the NFL is doing everything possible to make the game safer. They said when you’re outside of the tackle box, you can not use the crown of your helmet. I always tried to use my stiff arm, make moves in the open field and look for the big run. Bigger back may have a problem with it, they want to put their pads down and run you over. But it makes you be more of an athlete particularly at the running back position.

Youth Football Online: 

We believe the NFL needs to lead by example as kids often mimic what professional players do- what are your thoughts on this subject.

LaDainian Tomlinson: 

I absolutely agree with you. Everything that the NFL does, the kids are watching, they mimics what the professionals do.  I’m sure that Roger Goodell and guys that make the decisions are thinking about that. They know that these kids are watching them. The NFL is a lot of times involved with Pop Warner and the little league teams so it’s a great relationship between the two and a great step that the NFL is taking.

Youth Football Online: 

What can little league football coaches do at practice to ensure player safety?

LaDainian Tomlinson:

More emphasis on fundamentals. Things are changing on a Pop Warner level. When I played, it was bull in the ring, heads up, but nowadays it’s not the safest way to do it. Coaches need to spend more time out of pads, teaching more how to tackle, the right way to lower your head. You don’t need pads. I think it’s great that Pop Warner is taking steps to make the game safer.

Youth Football Online: 

We often highlight all of the benefits of playing youth football as the game has come under criticism as of late, you played Pop Warner football as a child, tell us about experiences playing the sport as a kid and how it shaped you as a man.

LaDainian Tomlinson: 

I had great experiences playing Pop Warner. Playing it helped me to play better, understand my teammates and taught me to really not to be a selfish player. Also, it teaches you early on how to deal with disappointment- wins and losses, good sportsmanship. Pop Warner football continues to do that for our youth.

Youth Football Online: 

What can a youth running back do at home to improve their vision and explosion?

LaDainian Tomlinson:

For vision, one of the things I liked to do, get a deck of cards, throw one at a time and try and catch the card, it helps work with hand to eye coordination. If you really want to get tricky, have a fan there to blow the cards all over the place, it’s a drill I did constantly to help my vision.

For explosion, so many things that you can do at home, jump rope is one of the biggest things to help with explosion. Also, running hills, pulling tires, pulling parachutes.. all these things you can do at home if you’re a youth football player.

Youth Football Online: 

LaDainian you are the fastest to score 100 TDs in NFL history, how were you able to find the end zone so consistently?

LaDainian Tomlinson:

It’s a combination of things, have to have good teammates around you. I had some great linemen that did the dirty work in the trenches,  a really good fullback in Lorenzo Neil who used to throw his body in there against the best linebackers in the game. I also had a coach that gave me the football, he believed me enough to give me the ball. It’s also about having the determination to get into the end zone when you have the football, sometimes there won’t be anything there, but it’s the determination that drives you to get to the endzone. We talked earlier about vision- sometimes the hole may not be where it is supposed to be, you need to have the vision to find the soft spot.

Youth Football Online: 

You’re so passionate about giving back to your community, with annual events such as 21 strikes for kids and Thanksgiving dinner giveaways. What motivates you to give back to your community?

LaDainian Tomlinson: 

I saw giving back through my family. I saw my family taking in kids that didn’t have a place to stay, stay with us at times. I had an aunty that would have 5 or 6 kids living with her at the same time because they didn’t have a place to go, or their mom was on drugs. I saw this as a kid, so I always felt the need to give back. My family set the example at a young age.

Youth Football Online: 

We understand that you now have what is known as the LaDainian Tomlinson Preparatory Academy, What is the Academy and what are some services it provides?

LaDainian Tomlinson: 

We’re a resource for student athletes, parents and coaches. For those athletes that aspire to play at the collegiate level, we help student athletes get scholarships to schools, that’s our goal. Is that division I? Not all the time, maybe it’s division II or III, our job is to help you get a scholarship and we have so many services to help educate parents and students on the process. What’s it mean? Taking the ACT and SAT , what’s your core course GPA, what’s the grading scale, all the different things you need to know to get to college. I didn’t know when I was coming out, it’s our job to educate on the process.

Youth Football Online: 

YFO has a national All-star program that showcases the best student athletes in the classroom, tell us about your commitment to highlighting the importance of education and how your Academy help in those areas.

LaDainian Tomlinson:

We always use the term ‘student athlete’, we believe you’re a student first then an athlete, because we understand that if you don’t have the grades, then you won’t be able to play. We’re real big on the educational part, there is never a year that you should take off because you’re really good in football or basketball. We’re taking the approach of being proactive.

Youth Football Online: 

We understand you have a Football Clinic in Fort Worth, Texas and another in Kennesaw, Georgia this year. What will it entail, when is it and where can we get information about the clinic?

LaDainian Tomlinson: 

The Fort Worth clinic is on June 28-30th, the Kennesaw clinic is July 12-14th. It is a 3 day clinic of everything- on the field, in the classroom. It’s like going through a car wash in 3 days. It’s everything you need to know about the process of getting to college, kids are going to get tested on the field, in a combine style atmosphere (40 taken), as well as learning the skill side on the field, getting coached by excellent coaches. Then in the classroom kids will learn what it takes, what they need for GPA, how to get recruited, how to make a highlight tape, right things for parents to do and not to do. Everything you need to know, we do it.

We thank LaDainian Tomlinson and his team for taking the time to conduct this interview and look forward to covering his camp. Visit the LT Academy on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LTprep

 LT prep academy interview

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