National Football Foundation

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Foundation Kicks Off NFL/NFF Coaching Academy
The National Football Foundation, in conjunction with the National Football League, recently
Published: 11/8/2000 12:00:00 AM
The National Football Foundation, in conjunction with the National Football League, recently announced the completion of the pilot phase of its Coaching Academy Program. This program seeks to establish resources and standards which football programs across the nation can utilize in recruiting, selecting and maintaining coaching staffs and provide a vehicle to further develop qualified coaches. 

The Foundation believes that the most critical element in providing a positive lifetime and football experience to a young person is - the coach! The key to an enjoyable and educational football experience and, more importantly, to youth development is a positive relationship with a caring, trained adult or older peer. 

"We recognize that both high school and youth football programs are constantly challenged to simply meet their coaching needs, let alone fill them with people who have been properly trained." - NFF President Bob Casciola 

The NFL/NFF Coaching Academy program provides necessary training for football coaches at all levels and helps ensure that our youth and high school football programs are staffed with individuals who are prepared to focus on the social benefits and character-building attributes developed through participation in the game of football. 

Working with a nationally recognized team of coaches and educators, The National Football Foundation and National Football League have created a curriculum, which includes four areas of concentration. They are: 

1. Football Skills/Strategy 

2. Life Skills/Communications 

3. Health/Safety/Nutrition 

4. Program Management 

In order to implement the program, the Foundation has turned to its strong network of local chapters. The pilot phase targeted areas with local NFF chapters, NFL teams and existing youth football programs. During this phase, five chapters (New York, San Francisco, Denver, Richmond and Clarke County Washington) hosted Coaching Academies. Through the hard work and dedication of chapter volunteers, each site experienced great success with a total of over 500 youth and high school coaches participating. 

Those who attended the academies received an interactive CD-ROM, a "playbook" complete with detailed information on the programs four areas of concentration and an official NFL/NFF Coaching Academy tee-shirt. 

The first Coaching Academy took place in Hempstead, New York. Organized by Len Genova, New York City, Nassau and Suffolk county chapter president and coordinator for the pilot phase of the Coaching Academy program, the session was held at the Jets training facility on the campus of Hofstra University. The academy's 100 participants were treated to two days of football and life skills instruction. Portions of the Academy were held in a classroom type setting and focused on areas such as life skills development and program management. The majority of the football skills were taught on the field, while some of the instruction took place in the classroom using a specially designed interactive CD-ROM. Participants were treated to on-field instruction by a team of coaches from Hofstra, C.W. Post and St. John's University. The two-day academy was highlighted by a speech on day two from New York Jets Head Coach Al Groh, who discussed the important role coaches' play in the development of today's youth. 

Through our partnership with the NFL we were able to hold three of the five academies at NFL team training facilities and benefit from appearances of marquee NFL Coaches and former players. At the San Francisco Academy the participants were taught football skills and strategy from the "coach of the 80's" Bill Walsh. Those attending the Denver clinic were awed by the magnificence of the Denver Broncos training facility, where the program was held. The Virginia Academy got off to an enthusiastic start with a speech from former Chicago Bears great and College Hall of Famer Mike Singletary. 

As we enter the second year of the program, The National Football Foundation will expand the NFL/NFF Coaching Academy to at least 20 programs nationwide. With the ongoing commitment from the National Football League, the NFF's expansion of this program will further its mission to promote and ensure the future of amateur football across the nation. 

By Coaching Academy Coordinator - Kelly Thalman - kthalman@footballfoundation.com 

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