Category: Coaching

Posts related to Coaching activities

SportNI Safeguarding Children and Young People – Online Workshops Now Available

Sport Northern Ireland have launched their new online version of the Safeguarding Children and Young People course. This will allow Northern Ireland coaches and volunteers to gain the required safeguarding certification they need to coach/volunteer with persons under the age of 18 (flag and youth football). The first dates have just been announced – please find these and further information at http://www.sportni.net/clubs-coaching/safeguarding.

Spaces are limited so if you as a coach or volunteer need this certification, please sign up as soon as possible.

Quick reminder that coaches and volunteers must also be vetted (find out how to here: https://www.americanfootball.ie/governance/vetting/).

Coaching Course: Mental Health Awareness for Sport & Physical Activity

AFI is delighted to inform you that through UK Coaching, coaches can access the online course ‘Mental Health Awareness for Sport & Physical Activity’ for free!

Usually £18, the course is accessible via the organisation’s learning and development platform and will remain free of charge until the 31 August 2020.

The mental health of the population is being challenged during this isolating time. Through this course, coaches will be able to increase their knowledge of mental health, and confidence when applying the learning into their coaching practice.

Specifically, learners will be able to:

  • Welcome and support people living with mental health problems in their sport and physical activity sessions
  • Increase their knowledge of mental health problems
  • Apply the learning in their coaching practice
  • Make their club or organisation more inclusive.

All you need to do is click here where you will be able to purchase the course for free.

2020 Senior Kitted Season Cancelled

Statement from AFI Commissioner Brian Cleary “The AFI board held an online meeting to discuss the current ongoing situation and the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

It has been decided that the 2020 Senior Kitted season will be cancelled in its entirety. A number of factors were considered in making this tough decision. There remains uncertainty as to when this crisis will end, which makes it very difficult to publish a schedule that will allow for enough time to prepare and complete a season for our members. It may also prove very difficult to secure ambulance bookings for fixtures due to the increased workload of our front-line services. We are also very aware of the financial difficulties our clubs and members may be facing during this time and do not wish to add any more pressure than what they are already facing. Ultimately, we need to put our members physical and mental welfare first before football.

We will continue to monitor the situation and, if circumstances allow, we are open to the possibility of hosting a 2-3 week tournament at the end of the summer for clubs that wish to participate and have some form of kitted football in 2020.

With immediate effect all current Adult Kitted, Coaching, Officiating and Non-Playing memberships will be extended until 30th September 2021 and there will be no need to purchase or renew your membership for the 2021 season.

No decision has been made yet in relation to Youth and Flag football. We will continue to monitor the situation and liaise with our directors in the coming weeks and update you when we have a clearer picture on the possibility of the Youth and Flag seasons going ahead.

It is important to note that we have put our insurance on hold at this time and under no circumstances is any physical footballing activity to take place until further notice.

Please look after yourselves and your loved ones and we will continue to provide updates as the situation unfolds. If you have any queries please contact me at brian@americanfootball.ie.”

Significant Increase In Membership 2018/19

2018/19 has been a stellar year for IAFA that’s seen a 31% increase in unique membership, with particularly strong growth at youth level, in female membership and officials. These statistics formed part of our Commissioners (interim, Brian Cleary) report at yesterday’s AGM.

Year
Unique Members
% +/-
2017
1314
+7%
2018
1256
-4%
2019
1641
+31%

Overall memberships totalled 1774 – this includes members who took one more than one membership e.g. registered as an official and player.

Year
Overall Memberships
% +/-
2017
1567

2018
1635
+4%
2019
1774
+9%

Youth football had huge growth this year, thanks to the addition of four new teams to the youth league. Youth football is key to the future of our sport and whilst IAFA is pleased with this increase, IAFA will continue to push this growth and encourages more clubs to join the youth league in 2020.

Officiating was another department that seen considerable growth. There have been changes made to the operations of the officiating department, including 5 new personnel appointed to help improve standards across the whole department. The success of this can be clearly seen, with an 81% rise in the amount of trained and registered officials.

Year
Youth Kitted
Officials
Other
2017
70
78
173
2018
63
75
44
2019
123
136
106

IAFA is delighted with the increase in female membership, with members taking on roles across all areas including kitted and flag players, coaches, officials and volunteers (club and NGB level). IAFA has worked hard to increase the visibility of American football to females as part of Sport Irelands 20×20 strategy. IAFA will continue to strategize to increase female membership and welcomes all feedback to help with that strategy.

Slight decreases were noted in the number of senior kitted players and coaches – IAFA are working hard to address this to ensure that these increase next year.

Year
Coaches
Senior Kitted
Flag
2017
99
956
191
2018
125
1006
322
2019
110
968
331

Statistics collected using the IAFA registration system (Azolve).

National Flag Football Programme: Head Coach Appointed

Following on from our National Flag Football Programme Reboot announcement, IAFA are pleased to announce that Guillaume Poznanski will officially take up the role of Head Coach on 1st January 2020.

Guillaume brings with him a wealth of coaching experience as well as having spent 5 years as the IAFA Director of Flag Football. The full coaching staff will be announced in due course. We are very excited that the national flag programme is back and look forward to seeing the male and female teams in action very soon.

IAFA Level 0 Coaching Courses in November and December

The IAFA Coaching Department will be to hosting two Level 0 coaching courses on the 16th of May in Dublin and the 8th of December in Belfast.

These sessions are exclusively available to brand new coaches never previously certified. Anyone who has previously sat a course can now take a brand new online exam to renew their licence if its due to expire soon or has already expired. Please contact Director of Coaching via our online form (here) if you wish to gain access to the online examination.

Alll candidates need to first be registered their membership with IAFA with via the GoMembership portal here.

Once signed in, go to the events & course page and select the course you wish to attend.

If you have any questions please contact us here.

Volunteer With An American Football Club

Ever thought about VOLUNTEERING with an American football club?

You don’t have to play to be part of something special. There are many roles available in every club such as coaches, team managers, game day personnel, photographers, videographers, statisticians, graphic design, equipment managers plus many more

Check out our A-Z of clubs and get in contact with your nearest club to get involved:

Thanks to T. McCann and M. Lavery for the photos.

IAFA Level 0 Coaching Course – May 18th

Starting this year, all flag football teams must have at least one IAFA Level 0 certified coach to be eligible to compete in the EBC.

IAFA Coaching Department will be to hosting one Level 0 coaching course on the 18th of May at the NSC, Dublin.

This course is primarily geared towards EBC teams coaches (male and female) who do not already have a Level 0 certified coach but is also opened to GBC teams and Kitted teams if spaces allow.

All candidates need to first create an account with IAFA GoMembership portal here.

Once signed in, go to the events & course page and select the course you wish to attend.

If you have any questions please contact us here.

Vacancy: Coach Developer

Coach Developer

The Irish American Football Association (IAFA) is seeking applications for the role of Coach Developer. IAFA is the National Governing Body for American Football in Ireland and is recognised as such by Sport Ireland and the International Federation of American Football (IFAF). At present IAFA is a volunteer-run organisation and there are over 3,000 active members involved in the sport at various levels. This is a volunteer position. Continue reading “Vacancy: Coach Developer”

IAFA Appoints New People to Administration

The Irish American Football Association (IAFA) are pleased to announce the appointments of the following, both at Board and Administration level;

Our new External Board Member Colum Cronin is originality from Cork. Colum has been living in Dublin for over a decade. He works as the International Student Adviser at University College Dublin, having previously been in a similar role at Trinity College Dublin. Continue reading “IAFA Appoints New People to Administration”

Coaching Courses Level 1

Level 1 coaching courses in february 

The IAFA is pleased to announce Level 1 Coaching Courses will take place on the 17th & 24th of February

These courses will take place in Dublin at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blanchardstown.

We appreciate the demand throughout the country for these courses and it is our ambition to roll out more but given the proximity of the season and the demands placed on the tutors at present we are endeavouring to supply courses so people in need of the qualification can at least have the opportunity.

Team Managers should email enquiries@americanfootball.ie with your club name and the names and contact information of those intending to take the course. The necessary booking information will follow.

2017 Coaching Courses Announced

The following coaching courses have been announced for 2017.

Dublin: January 14th and February 11th, Crowne Plaza Blanchardstown 9am sharp.

Cork: January 21st, Rochestown Park Hotel. 9 am sharp.

Belfast: January 28th, Maldron Hotel. 9 am sharp.

You can book by clicking here.

Coaching Courses – 17th & 24th October 2015

The IAFA has finalised the dates for the coaches certification courses due to take place this off-season. Coaching Ireland Introduction to Coaching Courses (commonly called ‘Level 1’) will take place in both Dublin and Drogheda next month. For both of these courses, pre-registration via eventbrite is mandatory as places are limited.  Course details are as follows:

 Saturday 17th October – CityWest Hotel, Dublin.

 Click on the following link to book a place:

 http://www.eventbrite.ie/e/introduction-to-coaching-course-registration-18495460420?aff=es2

 

Saturday 24th October – D-Hotel, Drogheda.

Click on the following link to book a place:

http://www.eventbrite.ie/e/introduction-to-coaching-course-registration-18687238032

 

*** These will be the only Certification Courses run before the start of the 2016 season ***

New Changes in Certification Rules:

 When Coaching Ireland Certification was introduced in recent years, it was always with the understanding that any existing coaches with other types of certification will have to update their qualifications and be transitioned over to Coaching Ireland within a period of time. With this in mind, the following rules apply w.e.f. 1st January 2016:

 IAFCA/BAFCA Level 1 no longer valid.

The ‘IAFCA Level 1’, which was delivered by BAFCA Tutors in Ireland a number of years ago is no longer considered a valid certification. The content of this course is below the minimum Coaching Ireland standard. Coaches currently coaching with this certification must take one of the above mentioned courses if they wish to coach in 2016.

 

Overseas Certified Coaches must certify with Coaching Ireland if changing teams.

There are a small number of coaches currently coaching with overseas qualifications, mostly BAFCA Level 2. Any of these coaches who are switching teams this off-season will need to re-certify by taking one of the above mentioned courses.

 

Coach Dan Hawkins

Dan Hawkins delivers clinic to Irish coaches.

 

Dan Hawkins delivers coaching clinic to Irish coaches at CityWest Hotel in Dublin.
Dan Hawkins delivers coaching clinic to Irish coaches at CityWest Hotel in Dublin.

 The IAFA hosted a coaching clinic delivered by former NCAA Head Coach, Dan Hawkins, in CityWest Hotel on Saturday 15th August. Approximately 20 Irish coaches attended. Coach Hawkins is a former University of Colorado and Boise State Head Coach. He is currently the Head Coach of the USA National Team, which won the World Cup in Canton, Ohio last month. Topics focused on included offensive strategy, special teams tactics, leadership practices and team organization.

 

IAFA Coaches at Dan Hawkins Clinic.
IAFA Coaches at Dan Hawkins Clinic.
 

New Coaching Ireland American Football course starts soon

The Irish American Football Association is pleased to announce that the inaugural Coaching Ireland Level 1 American football course will commence in Sportslink, Dublin on 16th December. Director of Coaching, John Judge and Terry Lynch, have completed the Coaching Ireland Tutors training course at the University of Limerick and assisted with the development of the new Level 1 course.

This new course is more extensive than the BAFCA Level 1 course that has been used in Ireland in recent years. It will provide aspiring coaches with a much more comprehensive introduction to coaching in an Irish context. The course will be run over 2 weekends, separated by a 6 week gap and with each participant having to do course work and exercises in the intervening period.

There are only 10 places available on this initial course. Anyone interested in applying should contact John Judge – john@americanfootball.ie.

Further courses will be run during 2013.

Coaching Ireland Tutor Course – Applications open for 2013

The Irish American Football Association is currently looking for applicants to undertake the Coaching Ireland Tutor Development programme. This an intensive and very rewarding course which will show the successful applicant,  tutor and information delivery techniques and skills to which they will be able to deliver coaching programs for Irish coaches. The course will be run in the University of Limerick on the following dates in 2013:

Weekend 1 February 2nd & 3rd

Weekend 2 February 23rd & 24th

Weekend 3 March 23rd & 24th

Weekend 4 April 20th & 21st

Weekend 5 May 18th & 19th

Duration:

The courses comprises of 5 weekends (72 contact hours), structured distance learning tasks and tutor practice.

Entry requirements:

Entrance to the tutor course is based on nomination by NGBs.

There is only one tutor position available on the 2013 course and anyone considering applying sould be mindful that they must be available to attend the University of Limerick for all the scheduled dates. The successful applicants course fees, expenses for transport, lodgings and food will be covered by the IAFA for the duration of the course.

The successful applicant will have to agree to be part of the IAFA Coaching Department’s Tutor staff and make themselves available to deliver IAFA/Coaching Ireland courses to the IAFA membership periodically.

Closing Date: 5th November 2012

Further Details:

John Judge, IAFA Director of Coaching: 

086 8615689 or john@americanfootball.ie

Coaching Ireland:

http://www.coachingireland.com/node/354

 

Applicants for GIFT 2012 Coaching Placements

Each of the 12 teams participating in this years GIFT 2012 series of games has offered to take two IAFL coaches onto their coaching squads for the event. These coaches will be embedded with their allocated team for the duration of the teams stay in Ireland. They will attend all practices and coaching meetings. They will also be on the sideline on gameday.

All IAFL teams have been asked to nominate up to two candidates for these positions. Interested coaches should forward their names to Greg Loughran via their team manager as soon as possible.

4th Annual IAFCA Convention 2011 Update

Mark Fri September 10th,Sat September 11th and Sun Sept 12th on your calendar, as the dates mark the 4th Annual IAFCA Convention.

The event will be held once again in The Camden Court Hotel,Dublin.

Speakers this year include:

Aitor Trabado-Spain

Ted Seay-USA

Jim Messenger-UK(other BAFCA are tbc)

Also speaking will be IAFCA Coaches Mark Lawless,Ciaran O’Sullivan plus many more.

This year sees new features such as on site equipment and apparel stands selling items, DVD’s for sale, exclusive courses for Head Coaches, exclusive courses for novice coaches plus much more.

On Saturday evening the event will also continue the tradition of hosting The IAFCA Coach of The Year Dinner.For the first time, the cost of this event is included in the clinic fee, plus tickets are available for wives and girlfriends.

Level one courses and Level two courses will be hosted over the weekends, a must for anyone planning to coach football this year.

All in all it promises to be an exciting event.

To attend please mail darrin@americanfootball.ie for details of how to reserve your place!

IAFCA announce second speaker for IAFCA Convention 2010

Spanish Coach Aitor Trabado to visit Dublin
IAFCA 2010 second speaker Aitor Trabado

IAFCA are proud to announce the second confirmed speaker for The IAFCA 2010 Convention is Spanish Coach Aitor Trabado.

Coach Trabado becomes the second speaker announced for the event,following last months announcement the Coach Ted Seay will be educating Irish Coaches on his “Wild Bunch” offense.

Coach Trabado is the Technical Director of ANTFA,the Spanish equivalent of IAFCA,aswell as Head Coach of the Spanish National Youth Team. Aitor spent part of last year with Mater Dei learning the secrets of their success and hopes to pass this knowledge to Irish coaches.

Coach Trabado has expressed his excitement at working with IAFCA, and sees a new relationship forged between Ireland and Spanish football. The following weekend sees ANTFA host its annual clinics,where IAFCA Technical Director Darrin O’Toole will be the guest speaker.

Keep checking www.americanfootball.ie for further announcements on more exciting speakers lined up for what promises to be IAFCA’s best convention to date.

Jeff Reinebold Players Clinic on Wednesday 21st July

Jeff Reinebold, who is currently part of the Southern Methodist University Mustangs coaching squad, will be delivering coaching clinics to IAFL coaches and players between 19th and 21st July. Reinebold is well known to most sports fans as one of the pundits on Sky Sports coverage of the NFL. He won the World Bowl as Head Coach of the Amsterdam Admirals and has coached at University of Hawaii and in the Canadian Football League.  He has also been the NFL’s Senior Manager of International Player Development.

The on-field clinic open to all IAFL players will take place at Castleknock College in Dublin from 7pm onwards on Wednesday 21st July. All IAFL players are invited to attend. Castleknock College is the West Dublin Rhinos home venue.

IAFCA Announces First Coach for IAFCA Convention 2010

Coach Seay and his famous wild bunch scheme comes to Ireland

 The IAFCA is delighted to announce that the first speaker for the 4th Irish American Football Coaches Association convention,held Sept 10-12th in The Camden Court Hotel,Dublin, will be Coach Ted Seay.

Coach Seay has built up a legendary following in the coaching community following the publication of his “Wild Bunch” Offense.Coach Seay has had a successful coaching  career at several different levels and has served as a consultant over the years for several teams worldwide. Coach Seay has been a guest speaker at various double wing & single wing seminars in Texas, Los Angeles & Philadelphia.

Coach Seay has coached internationally at the American High School in Mexico City, with the Waverley University Sharks in Melbourne, Australia, and as a volunteer assistant with the youth program of the Chrysler Vikings in Vienna, Austria.

Coach Seay is the first Coach to be confirmed for what promises to be IAFCA’s biggest convention to date.

Keep checking back for further exciting announcements.

FAQ About Coaching in Ireland

If you are from overseas,we’d be delighted to have you but please read the following before contacting IAFCA:

Q: Do Coaches Get Paid?

A: No.Our coaches work voluntarily in their positions.Housing is not provided either.

Q:Will IAFCA arrange my visa?

A:No,all non EU citizens will have to have already arranged their visas before being considered for a coaching vacancy.

Q:Do I need to be qualified?

A:Yes.All IAFCA coaches are IAFCA level one minimum qualified.All Head Coaches are level 2 minimum.All IAFCA Head Coaches also hold Ethics in Sport licenses through the Irish Sports Council & have IAFCA Head Coaching Licenses, earned through ongoing training and appraisal.All these can be obtained through IAFCA.

Q:I have an education in coaching football from another country or NCAA,does this count?

A:Maybe.IAFCA does give recognition of prior development(RPD) based on previous education,if IAFCA has granted RPD status to the qualification.These are granted on a case by case basis,so contact IAFCA and we can investigate if you qualify.

Q:How do I join IAFCA?

A: Contact us once you have decided to coach in Ireland and are aware of the items above.We’ll be happy to assist you in getting started!

Jeff Reinebold to give clinics in Ireland

Jeff Reinebold, who is currently part of the Southern Methodist University Mustangs coaching squad, will be delivering coaching clinics to IAFL coaches and players between 19th and 21st July. Reinebold is well known to most sports fans as one of the pundits on Sky Sports coverage of the NFL. He won the World Bowl as Head Coach of the Amsterdam Admirals and has coached at University of Hawaii and in the Canadian Football League.  He has also been the NFL’s Senior Manager of International Player Development.

The IAFCA will be arranging a clinic for its members. There will also be an on-field clinic open to all IAFL players.  Both clinics will be held in Dublin – times/venues will be announced soon.

IAFCA Head Coaches to receive access to Glazier Database

The IAFCA are extremely proud to announce a tie in with the Frank Glazier Clinics.

IAFCA Head Coaches will receive access to the Frank Glazier online database, which contains over 200 hours of video sessions by coaches from the NFL, NCAA and US High Schools, over 600 sets of their notes and numerous recorded and live webinars.

IAFCA Technical Director Darrin O’Toole said “IAFCA are delighted to announce the deal which will benefit the whole league. Our Head Coaches will now have direct access to the elite coaches from the USA. Glazier clinics are the best networked organisation there is for coaches and this will teach our coaches the inner workings of  top schemes. The fact that our coaches will have access means they can learn and develop themselves at their own pace, so all will improve themselves and their team through this”.

The new scheme will be seen as part of the continual development of coaches in our sport and further strenghtens awareness of IAFCA and the IAFA amongst the US coaching fraternity.

IAFL Head Coaches Meeting a huge success

The Master Coaches of Irish Football meet in Dublin

Saturday 6th March saw the IAFCA Master Coaches convene to the Camden Court Hotel once again, this time for the inaugural IAFL Head Coaches Meeting.

Each IAFL team was represented by their Head Coach and their Assistant Head Coach for this vital 4 hour session. IAFCA Technical Director Darrin O’Toole opened the meeting with a presentation on a Head Coach’s responsibilities on game day. Topics such as health & safety, team ethics, game day procedures and coaching conduct.

The second session saw IAFL Board members Maurice Cosgrave and Barry Bolton give an update on the IAFL By-Laws for 2010. Coaches asked a variety of questions and both Cosgrave and Bolton were extremely helpful in clarifying a number of items.

The IAFOA was next up and saw veteran IAFOA official Tony Rivers give a presentation on this year’s rule changes. Coaches could be seen furiously scribbling and taking down this vital update.

Following this a presentation on Coaching Etiquette throughout the season was given. Topics such as player registration, transfers and video trading were discussed.

Coach Paul McKillop of the Carrickfergus Knights was introduced at this point to give a presentation on proposed video citation procedures in the IAFL this season. Coaches exchanged viewpoints on the pros and cons of this system and Coach McKillop was given the IAFCA’s endorsement to continue working on this procedure for inclusion in the IAFL By-Laws this year, and this will be worked upon by the IAFL this week with the full support of IAFCA.

In closing Coach O’Toole officially welcomed the beginning of the 2010 season, and all coaches were extremely jubilant and looking forward to meeting each other in the coming weeks in the games ahead.

Chalk Talk with Coach O’Toole-The Y Stick

The Passing game is becoming more and more prevalent in the modern football game.This was highlighted by the NFL Superbowl in Miami this year. Drew Brees and Peyton Manning executed a masterclass in the passing game. Receivers are becoming more akin to basketball players than their counterparts of even 10 years ago.

The core philosophy of todays offense?

Spread out the defense.Make them choose.Find a hole in coverage.Exploit.

The Spread offense and it’s relatives have really taken off in the USA, and at the high school level schemes like the wild bunch, the air raid and the run and shoot have really worked on this concept. Anyone watching The New Orleans Saints sees WR after WR find open holes.But at IAFL level one scheme is tailormade.

The Y-Stick.An OLB’s worst nightmare.

The concept is pretty basic.Line up 3 WR’s or WR’s/TE’s to one side, or 2 of either with a RB to this side.

Y Stick with a RB in formation
Y Stick with a RB in formation

In the diagram above, we are lined up with a WR, TE and RB to the right. F runs a passing route into the flat zone. The QB’s first read should be the SAM LB. If the SAM steps out  to cover the flat and the S is in zone, a quick completion is possible to the Y should be there.

If the OLB sits in a zone and the CB takes the short sideline zone,the Z will dart upfield,forcing the Safety to cover deep. The Y should get behind the LB’s and proceed to read the Safety.If the Safety has gone deep the Y should cut  on a post if the weakside safety is wide in coverage.If the weakside safety is free the Y should cut on an out route.

Y Stick from single wing formation
Y Stick from single wing formation

Different formation above,same concept. Attack the OLB and make him choose.The QB should always read inside out on Y Stick. Against man coverage or cover 3 the QB should anticipate the Z will lure the CB and the SAM LB will move to cover the flat where the WB is moving to the flat as the safety valve.The Y will again get behind the LB,and can read an out route or if the S is over agressive try a sit route inside to lure him further down.If  this is the case the play will take a little longer to develop but the weak TE should be open deep.The Y is the key to what is open in these concepts,even if it is not him.

Y Stick Cut Up

Air Raid Y Stick

The Y Stick really utilises your TE and makes reading the D a little easier.Time to really get those yards!

Coach Darrin O'Toole
Coach Darrin O'Toole

-Darrin O’Toole is the Technical Director of the IAFCA.He is also Head Coach of Trinity College Football and has served on various incarnations of the Team Ireland Coaching staff.He previously served as Defensive Coordinator at DCU and was a multi time Shamrock Bowl winner as a player with the Dublin Rebels.He lives in Dublin with his wife Laura.Coach O’Toole can be reached via email darrin@americanfootball.ie

IAFL Head Coaches Meeting

This is a mandatory course for the IAFL head coaches this year.

Provisional Programme:
12pm Head Coaches Role – Game/team management.
1pm IAFL By Laws and interpretations.
2pm Officials Session – rule changes, interpretations and points of emphasis.
3pm Coaching Etiquette.

Coaching with the experts…Coach Ciaran O’Sullivan

Ciaran O'Sullivan

1st DOWN & 98

The official spots the ball on your 2 yard line and points to the endzone 98 yards away – “First Down!”

In 400 BC Sun-tzu wrote:    “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”

As a football coach I feel these words best describe my role in the team.  I put my players in the situations they will face on game day and through this I give them the opportunity to win.  An area of the game where Sun-Tzu’s words resonate is when your offence is “backed up”.

First & Ten from your own 2 yard line is a strange and daunting place.  The normal rules and roles of football have been turned on their heads.  You have the ball.  Your opponent has to defend a lot more real estate and airspace.  Yet they have the spring in their step.  They feel closer to scoring than you do.  They smell blood.  In a league where the athletic ability of the participants does not differ greatly, the psychological initiative becomes even more important.

THIS WILL HAPPEN TO YOU!

IT WILL HAPPEN

WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT!

Both of these facts must dictate how you prepare your team to get the most out of the situation.   If it will happen then you have to plan for it.  Set your offence realistic goals based on the worst place you want to be when the down marker is turned to 4.  For most coaches it would be acceptable to arrive at 4th down with your punter NOT standing in the back of the Endzone.  Rest assured the defence will send the house on 4th down to block your punt.  They are getting the ball in pretty good field position without having to return it!

Basic Rules

  1. Keep it simple.
  2. Protect the football.
  3. Limit the time the ball spends in the Endzone.
  4. Calculate the risks you will take.

Most teams try to eek out yards up the middle and punt on 4th down.  Fine, it follows all 4 rules and can be effective.  Gains of a yard per carry will give your punter 15 yards to work with.

Think about this:   The defence will be expecting the run.

They will be sitting on it – keying on your backs – filling the interior gaps quickly.  So why not try something different?

PASS ON 1st DOWN!

Don’t just pass – take a shot at the Endzone!  Following the rules let’s see how that shapes up.

 

Rule 1: Keep it simple: Basic Pass Blocking Scheme.  No reads or options. Just call the play and run it.

Rule 2: Protect the football: Dedicate 9 players to pass protection.  Switch the centre and the play-side guard (right guard for a right handed passer).     This gives the defence something out of their comfort zone to think about and balances out the pass protection, once the running backs are brought into play.  Your QB has serious blindside protection and should have a pocket to work in.  

Play1

The defence will be keying on the run.  But this is a pass play all the way.  There are no reads for the offence.  The QB takes snap under centre and opens play side – effect a fake hand off to the Full Back on an A Gap Blast.  The Defence has to respect this and will, more than likely, jump all over it.  The Full Back fakes run to the line of scrimmage or first defender – he then becomes part of the pass pro. Tail Back moves straight away to block the play side edge rusher.  QB executes a 5 step drop and passes deep to X on a fly route.  X must release from the LOS. The play action is set up to help him.

Rule 3: Limit the time the ball spends in the Endzone:  The ball spends only 5 steps in the Endzone!

Rule 4: Calculate the risks you will take: How bad would it be if the Corner Back picks the ball?  Provided you train your wide out to recognise this as a possibility and he is ready & able to make the tackle, you could be looking at a similar result to a punt from under your posts!  That’s not much of a risk, when you consider the risks of punting from the back of your Endzone.

RULE 1: KEEP IT SIMPLE

1 Fake + 5 step drop + 1 Fly route + Max Pro =   Football 101.

As a  completed pass puts your offence back on track and an interception puts your defence back on the field.  So play 2 in the script is based on an incomplete pass. Limited to these outcomes all of your players know what’s coming next when Play 1 is blown dead, giving your team more of a sense of control and certainty.

2nd Down & 10

Play2

 

This play gives the same reads to the defence as PLAY 1.  The success of the run is reliant on the quality of the fake hand off on first down.  The Full Back must take the ball out of his own end zone!  The QB must fake his 5 step drop.

3rd Down & Long

play3

3rd down and the set up is the same.  The Full Back fakes the blast to the play side A gap.  He must account for the defender in this gap. Centre and back side Guard combo block the Back Side A gap defender.  They are not looking to get to the second level.  They are looking to move that defender off the line.  The Tail Back takes the same first step he has taken on the previous 2 plays.  He then cuts up behind the full back & centre. This is similar to a zone step.   The QB must hold his position for a moment longer – the play is just a simple lead!

That’s the script.  You may have a different script but you must now empower your team!  You have to prepare them to be able to run the script.  Install and walk through the play as you would any other element of your offence.  BUT spring it on your team at any time during practice. Get them used to running these plays when they least expect it.

It is also vey practical to mix up the order in which you run the plays.  This will keep your defence honest and you may end up in this position more than once in a game – it’s not lightning and it will strike twice.

THE DON’TS OF A BACKED UP OFFENCE

REACT: When it does happen you must show your team you have confidence in their ability to execute the script!

SHOTGUN: The defence is already keyed up.  There will be pressure on both A gaps.   You’re moving the ball back quickly and have to regain all of those yards to break even.

OFF TACKLE/SWEEP: The more gaps you run the ball across – the more defenders you are giving a shot at the tackle in your Endzone.

SCREENS/CROSSING ROUTES:  Even an average defence will swarm around the ball when they have you backed up. Airing the ball out across or through an entire defence is asking for trouble. 

You must get your team on-board with your script.  Sell them on the idea.

–Ciaran O’Sullivan is the Head Coach of the Shamrock Bowl Champion University of Limerick Vikings.He served as UL’s special teams coach in 2008. He was Cork Admirals HC in 2006 and was instrumental in their youth policy in 2007. Ciaran also served as the Development officer for the IAFL and has been on the coaching staff for Team Ireland.Coach O’Sullivan can be reached at coachciaran56@gmail.com

IAFCA makes presence felt in USA

IAFCA visits the football facilities at UCF
IAFCA visits the football facilities at UCF

IAFCA Technical Director Darrin O’Toole visited the USA Jan 8th to attend two very important coaching events- The IFAF Technical Conference in Central Florida and the AFCA Convention at the world famous Marriott Convention Centre.

Technical Directors from around the world work on youth development
Technical Directors from around the world work on youth development

January 8th 9th and 10th saw Coach O’Toole attend conferences with representatives from all over the world to discuss strategies for the development of youth football world wide. Speakers from Australia , Japan, USA and Canada amongst others outlined their strategies for LTAD, or long term athlete development.

On January 11th 12th and 13th, Coach O’Toole became Ireland’s first ever representative at the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Convention, which attracted over 6000 coaches from the USA.

Legendary Coach gives inspiring speech
Legendary Coach gives inspiring speech

Attendees were lucky enough to hear seminars from Elite Master Coaches such as Lou Holtz,TCU’s Gary Patterson, new Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, Texas Coach Mack Brown, Superbowl winner Tony Dungy and many more.

The highlight was an emotional talk by San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Mike Singletary, who gave a heart felt speech about the tolls of coaching on the family.

The evenings saw chalk talks and buzz sessions from coaches from the top US colleges on a variety of formations and philosophies.

IAFCA Technical Director meets AFCA President
IAFCA Technical Director meets AFCA President

Coach O’Toole also met with AFCA President Grant Teaff, who was supportive of football in Ireland, and stressed his family tree comes back to Ireland and the Taffe families.

Coach O’Toole also met coaching legend Jack Lengyel, made famous by Matthew McCaunaghy in the movie “We are Marshall”. Coach Lengyel was the Athletic Director of Navy during their trip to Croke Park in the 90’s and stressed he is eager to return.

IAFCA Technical Directoe meets former Naval Athletic Director
IAFCA Technical Directoe meets former Naval Athletic Director

Overall the IAFCA’s attendance at both events was vital for the progression of the great game of football on the global scene. Several coaches expressed genuine interest in coming to Ireland, and the plans for LTAD will greatly benefit the youth football scene in Ireland.