Smith’s back with another free youth football camp

Banning High School Hall of Famer, Derron Smith (at center), of Cleveland Browns fame, gives directions during a youth camp last year at Banning’s football stadium.

SPORT NOTES: Target date - July 14 … Maximum number bloats to 350 … Tennis camp could expose youth to a new sport … Tseng misses cut at Volvik tourney.

Derron Smith’s 250-player youth football camp is expanding this year.

This year’s July 14 camp will host 350 players, said Smith, who will battle for a spot on this year’s Cleveland Browns’ roster for the 2018 season. He’s headed into his fourth NFL season after being drafted by Cincinnati in 2015.

From all outward appearances, last year’s inaugural camp was successful.

Besides Smith, there were a handful of other NFL players, alongside past collegiate players.

The camp, which will be held at Banning High School, will be held from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (check-in from 8-8:45 a.m.) A mandatory on-line registration (derronsmithnfl.com) must take place for the free camp.

Last year’s camp was filled to its 250-player capacity. The key, said organizers, was to register early.

The clinic will include a series of football drills with NFL players and coaches, plus some mock 7-on-7 (no blockers) drill.

Last year’s camp included NFL players Aaron Peck (Green Bay), Charles Washington (Detroit), Curtis Riley (Tennessee), Josh Shaw (Cincinnati), Troy Hill (L.A. Rams), plus former collegiate teammates off of Smith’s Fresno State squad.

Only Washington is set for a return so far this year.

There will be a breakfast bar, lunch, plus a gift bag and an autograph session after the clinic. Among the gifts were items provided by the Browns in support of Smith’s camp.

Currently, Smith is playing in organized team activities in Cleveland.

YOUTH TENNIS CLINIC

Richard Jimenez, a United States Professional Tennis Association instructor, was watching a girls’ high school tennis tournament in recent months.

He was muttering, almost under his breath, about a high school coach that tried to change a player’s stroke.

“Why?” he asked. “Why would they do that? Everyone’s made differently. Everyone’s body’s different. If you’re going to change their stroke, you’d better know what you’re doing.”

That comes from a teaching professional.

Jimenez will start another 10-week session beginning Saturday on Redlands High School’s tennis courts.

Redlands is an interesting place. For years, the local university was a small college tennis powerhouse. Its high school programs were blockbuster playoff teams almost each year. In part, Jimenez been a central part in that exposure.

Currently, Redlands High has notched multiple Southern Section boys’ championships on multiple occasions. Last fall, Redlands’ girls won their first-ever CIF title. In recent weeks, Redlands East Valley’s boys reached the division finals before losing to perennial power Laguna Beach.

Many of those players started with Jimenez.

Player after player, year after year, handfuls of top Redlands-area players have been lifted from Jimenez’s Saturdaymorning sessions.

Redlands has long been a tennis haven – high school, college and open players. Jimenez, among others, has been a constant figure in beginning development.

Jimenez promotes three Saturday sessions — 8 a.m. (ages 5-7), 9 a.m. (8-16 beginners), 10 a.m. (8-16 intermediate). Cost is minimal, $70 for those 10 weeks.

It could be a chance to turn a kid onto a sport. Imagine a group of, say, 10 kids from Beaumont or Banning showing up to get a start on tennis. If they kept it up – lessons, youth leagues, tournaments, continuous play – high school teams could be well stocked for players.

In many cases, tennis teams consist of players that have never played.

Beaumont’s boys won CIF a couple years back with a deep lineup that only comes from hard work, persistence and a tactical approach to singles and doubles.

“Parents want to see their kids play a sport,” says Jimenez.

The courts are located right on Citrus Ave. Parking is across the street.

WOMEN’S PRO GOLF

Yani Tseng, who held the world’s No. 1 ranking on the LPGA Tour, is now at 244 in the Rolex ranking.

In her latest tournament, Tseng — the onetime Beaumont-based golfer at Oak Valley Golf Club — shot 146, failing to make the cut at last weekend’s Volvik Championship in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Minjee Lee won by a shot over In-Kyung Kim.

Tseng’s career earnings are $10.5 million, which includes $16,724 this season. Tseng has 26 worldwide career victories and 68 top 10 finishes. She was ranked No. 1 for 109 weeks between 2011 and 2013.

Tseng, LPGA Rookie of the Year in 2008, is the youngest player to ever win five major championships.

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