The Sound Mind Sound Body (SMSB) Football Academy was created and founded by Curtis Blackwell in 2004 in Detroit, MI. The camp’s growth over the years is evident and consists of alumni like Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess and Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Desmond King. The camp has welcomed the likes of great coaches like Ohio State’s head coach Urban Meyer and Michigan State’s head coach Mike Dantonio. Fast Forward to present time 2017, even after the restriction of satellite camps for recruitment by the NCAA, Sound Mind Sound Body remains as one of the most notorious sports camps in the Midwest region.
On December 26-27, the camp held its Midwest Invitational consisting of the top high school prospects in Michigan and surrounding areas.
Day 1: SMSB differentiates themselves from other camps with their focus on the before and after life of football. The first day of the camp consisted of work on the “sound mind” of the players. Parents accompanied their child into the Detroit Music Hall out of the blistering cold, where their child would venture off to receive their camp jerseys. The athletes then proceeded to their section of offense or defense within the auditorium and were greeted by SMSB’s infamous life-skill video. After seats were filled completely, with the help of motivational speakers Raphael Johnson and Eric Thomas, the camp was officially underway. Besides giving the young men the typical financial scare, they went into deeper “locker room” talk as Raphael Johnson called it. Using statistics and factual news snippets about crime, STD awareness, and personal branding; the camp put emphasis on the importance of making the right decision off the field. The speakers made sure to keep the crowd involved and even called out the less attentive players to reel them back into the presentation. The aggressive yet caring tone they used resembled one of a loving father figure that only wants to see the best. To wrap the first day of the camp up, the players were treated to the Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field where they watched Duke University and Northern Illinois University battle on the field.
Day 2: The second and final day of the Sound Mind Sound Body invitational was the “sound body” portion of the camp. Players arrived as early as 7 AM to Ford Field, where they were put through a series of drills. Grouped together by their respective position, the players were taught the mechanics and terms that many players had no prior knowledge of. Going from drill to drill, the players were worked hard but still given lessons on the importance of the technique being taught. Coaches allowed time for some fun with one-on-one competition, where the competitive spirits of not only the players but coaches would flare. The passion displayed by not only the young athletes but the coaches was mesmerizing. Besides teaching the players the on-field skills, they would emphasize the importance of unity and the mind. Instilling the importance of fighting for your brothers on the field.
Sound Mind Sound Body continues to grow with upcoming camps in Virginia and Minnesota. You can learn more about Sound Mind Sound Body and their mission on their website http://soundmindsoundbodycamp.com.
Article written by Dervon Thompson.
Dervon is a guest writer for Voice Magazine. He is a member of the organization National Association of Black Journalists or NABJ.
“Detroit Native. Current sophomore at Michigan State University. Aspiring journalist with a passion for writing. Sports fan and music connoisseur.”