football fundamentals camp - what is it like?

Registration and Stretching

Around 8 a.m., campers arrive for registration where they discover what team they are on and receive their camp T-shirts. While they wait, campers eat bagels, hydrate, and talk with each other in preparation for the day ahead. Before breaking up into their groups, they hear opening remarks from Eric Mangini and listen to the National Anthem, sung by Erin Bellucci.

Before the athletes get started on their fundamentals break out sessions, they have a group stretch to prevent injuries and prepare to play.


Skill Development

The breakout sessions focus on three areas: defense, conditioning and offense. The athletes benefit from five different seven minute drills that are specific to their positions. Thirty five minutes later, they rotate to the next session. Because of this, players are exposed to a wide range of drills that they can continue to use after the camp.

It was a great day. Coaches were hands on, experienced, knowledgeable and focused all day. I got to work on a lot of skills that I am excited to apply this season.
— Jack Luppino, first time camper


Before lunch, the campers will hear from various speakers - which have included individuals like Michael Smith, former NFL player Bryan Cox, and Elisha Joseph. Smith has shared his experiences as an ESPN commentator; Cox has talked about his life as a player and as a coach in the NFL. Joseph, a four time CFM camper and graduate of Hartford High, has discussed how the camp has influenced his own life and educational journey. He stressed to the campers the importance of not just being a great player, but also being an outstanding student and citizen. 


Volunteers work hard throughout the morning to prepare food to feed hundreds of campers, coaches, refs, and volunteers. Everyone has time to relax and enjoy hot dogs and hamburgers, fruit, chips, and water. After receiving their team assignments, players and coaches meet up and began to bond as a team in preparation for the upcoming 7-on-7 games. 

Transitioning from a camper to a coach showed me that past impressions will always affect your future. This camp gave me an opportunity to grow and learn from some excellent coaches. The fact I get to coach at CFM camp now is an incredible gift.
— Khalil Patterson, Western Conn State University Former camper and volunteer coach Student and Player

7 on 7 Tournament

After players refuel, they head to one of the thirty fields to begin the tournament play.  During these  7 on 7 scrimmages, players are able to work on the skills they learned in the morning and are able to work together with a group of new teammates from 60 different schools, 48 different towns and five different states.

Awards- Winning teams & the Coach Graham Martin MVP Award

As the day comes to an end, the awards ceremony recognizes a winning team in each age group, and players receive a CFM Fundamentals trophy.

In honor of Coach Graham Martin (former Head Coach at Bulkeley High School), the Foundation also recognizes ten outstanding campers as MVPs for the day. These campers are recommended by their coaches for demonstrating key strengths throughout the day: effort, competitiveness, teamwork, and encouragement. 

Each camper goes home with a gift bag full of items to remember the day.

The CFM camp is a heartfelt example of a true community effort. From the coaches to the volunteers to the athletes who attend, it is obvious that everyone involved is excited to participate in something bigger than themselves. The players put in a long day of hard work for individual self-improvement, but also have the opportunity to work together as a team throughout the day. It is also a great opportunity for these athletes to have exposure to a higher-level of coaching and understand the discipline needed to win. The camp not only benefits young kids who are eager to succeed, but also shines a spotlight on the Hartford area and those who strive to make it better.
— Tori Savino, volunteer