Like most of his professional counterparts, Belton’s head football coach spends almost every day of the year attempting to improve his team. Whether conducting practices, finalizing game plans, overseeing summer conditioning programs, breaking down film or building up relationships, the end goal is for the Tigers to compete at the highest level.

For Sniffin, football is serious, but during the opening day of the Belton’s football camp for incoming first- through eighth-graders, he was reminded it was fun as well.

“I definitely like working with the little guys the best,” Sniffin said, “because you never know what they are going to say. You never know what is going to come out of their mouths, and sometimes, it is more than you want to know.

“It’s just neat to watch them learn, have fun, run around and sweat a little bit. It keeps us coaches young.”

One year after the coronavirus pandemic cancelled the annual camp, the three-day event returned Monday with approximately 100 kids taking part at Tiger Field.

With the Belton coaching staff instructing during the three-hour sessions, campers spent time warming-up and stretching before breaking into groups based on age to take part in various skill-specific drills and games.

While the ultimate goal is to impart techniques and knowledge capable of elevating participants’ overall abilities, there are other mutual benefits.

“I think it is pretty cool that these kids get to come out and interact with the coaches they see standing on the sidelines on Friday nights,” Sniffin said. “It is a way to introduce them to us.

“Then, when we see them in middle school, they already know who we are, and there is a familiarity established. That makes the transition a lot easier.”

He also hopes the camp initiates a seamless conversion into the fall after dealing with the unprecedented obstacles due to COVID-19 during his debut season with Belton.

“Stuff like this is awesome,” Sniffin said, “because it makes things feel normal again. This is the first camp in over a year with the kids, we have our strength and conditioning program coming up, and we won’t have to be cleaning everything constantly.

“There were just a lot of unknowns, but now we know that we are back in the full swing of things, and that feels good.”

Of course, winning will feel even better.

The Tigers produced an overall record of 3-7 and missed the playoffs last year, and while none of the campers in attendance will suit up for the Tigers this fall, Sniffin understands the potential.

“We want them to have fun,” he said, “and we want them to get a grasp of the brand and begin to develop a passion for football in their minds.

“When they are on this field, we want them to have dreams of playing here on Friday nights.”

By Clay Whittington – Journal Reporter