RICHMOND, Va. - On any given night, on any given field in the Richmond area, you will find young athletes practicing their chosen sport to improve as much as they can.
Football may be played in the fall, but for those who want to excel it's a 12-month process. And more of those athletes are turning to Malcolm Bell for help.
"They just want to come and learn no matter how good they are," Bell explained. "They just want to come and get better. They want to find ways to fine tune what they're not good at."
Quarterback is the most important position in what has become America's favorite sport. Bell played the position in high school at Henrico and in college at North Carolina Central where he led the Eagles to MEAC titles all three years he was the starter. He also played professionally in Canada. And he did it all without a dedicated quarterback coach for most of his career.
"Some of these things that I don't know, I could have learned the way to do it for the next level, not just at a high school level," Bell said.
So Bell made the decision to come back to Richmond and be a specialty coach for quarterbacks. They are immensely popular in football crazy states like Florida and Texas. You can find at least 15 different quarterback coaches in the Los Angeles area.
Bell is the only one doing it in Richmond and explained the fundamentals of what he teaches every athlete who comes to him.
"Being able to produce weight from the ground up, be able to get force and drive it forward. Just simple bio-mechanics stuff that they have to understand and then they get it from there and they`re fine," he said.
"Malcolm's done it at a high level and that translates to the kids when he coaches them," said Jamie Locklear, whose son Ben attends Bell's camps. "We saw an improvement in Ben."
Ben is a rising junior at Woodberry Forest and is already drawing interest from several ACC programs. While his high school coaches are good, Bell provides detailed instruction at the quarterback position that regular high school coaches don't have the time to teach.
"Having the talent to throw the ball, that's one part of it," Locklear said. "Having the talent to beat a defense, that's the other part, and that's the important part that Malcolm taught him."
Jake Shelek, a rising junior at Cosby High School, also found working with Bell has paid off.
"Before I came here, I would throw an interception or two interceptions per game," Shelek said. "Once he taught me to be comfortable and confident in myself, it became one or two interceptions a year."
Brendan Clark, who is headed to Notre Dame, and Jalon Jones, who played at Florida, both worked with Bell. Both learned more than just what to do on the field.
"Quarterback is literally a lifestyle," Bell said. "It's way different than any other position. And you have to treat it as such."
As you might expect, such specific instruction isn't cheap. That's why Bell also holds what he calls Pop Up Camps. Those are free tutorials for athletes and families to get a small glimpse of what his instruction involves.
"They get classroom time. We go over film," Bell explained. "We go over everything you need to know in about five hours. I want everyone to be able to come out and experience everything that I give that people are paying top dollar."
"That's giving back to the community, giving guys a chance to see what he's about," Locklear added. "Sure it helps him grow his business, but it also helps him provide a service that people might not think they need or want yet."
For more information about Bell's program and camps, click here.
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