The American football Programme continues to develop apace. It was really good to see two of our PGCE students get involved with the programme this term. Hopefully Andy and Stacy will take their experiences forward and maybe set-up programmes in the schools where they end-up after they qualify. They certainly enjoyed learning about and playing the game with the Post-16 students!
Summer term focus is squarely on delivering the sport to a few select primary schools along with creating a Yr7 group coached by Yr11 Raptor Jess to be followed by a Yr8 group coached by Yr13 Raptor Josh. As Yr11 and Yr13 head-off into the ‘off-season’ to concentrate on exams, the building of an Elite Post-16 team for Sept has begun. Further more, it is also the time that Yr10 will be offered the opportunity to start their training. The current Yr9 group coached by Raptor Lewis is progressing well and some of those students are part of the Activities Week ‘boot-camp’. By next year there should be a Raptor group in each year group!
No date has been set for the Flag Leaders’ Award, although that will still go ahead next term. Just a question of when. Although Beth Thomson will be leaving the College at the end of this academic year, she will be starting her training to become (hopefully) a GB Coach for the woman’s team!
Coach Rooksby paid a visit to the Cornish Sharks in Falmouth a few weeks ago to see some of Cornish adult teams play 5v5 full contact games. Great fun and very interesting to watch. Photo opposite of the three teams from Cornish Sharks, Truro and Cambourne College and Falmouth Tridents (Uni).
An exhausting year since September but one that has been very rewarding too.
The Raptors are going to support the brain injury charity ‘Headway Devon’ for the academic year 2013-2014. Whilst this may seem odd that a sport known for the risk of head injuries opts to support a charity that supports those with head injuries, the response from Headway Devon’s Fundraising and Communications Manager Holly Keatings provides a good rationale for the choice;
‘Although we know that full-contact American football, like many other sports, can sometimes cause concussions in players, we believe that the sport is one of the most responsible in terms of safety and is often proactively involved in research to reduce the impact of brain injury. We would therefore be thrilled to be associated with your introductory programme.’
As a psychology teacher, Coach Rooksby is well aware of the devastating impact of a head injury on the quality of a person’s life. The AS Psychology course covers the severe problems caused to memory functioning that can occur after brain injury. The work of the Headway charity is featured in some of the teaching materials used by students. With some indirect personal experiences of head injury, Rooksby felt it more than appropriate to want to support the charity. It is also this risk that he feels needs to be addressed by those wanting to introduce American football into schools;
‘The key issue behind introducing a dangerous sport into a school is to make it appropriate for the participants playing it without losing the essence of the sport itself. Sometimes, it seems, too much emphasis is placed on one single element in American football – the big ‘hit’ – but this obscures the fact that this is a very exciting and an interestingly cerebral game of cat ’n’ mouse between teams. That it is a physically extreme sport at its highest level (played by millionaires – 2012 saw a player sign a 5-year $100 million dollar contract with a guarantee of $65 million) does not mean that it should be exactly replicated in that way in a school. It would be like expecting a 17 year-old to learn to drive in a Formula 1 car!’
Coach Rooksby is very excited about working to support the charity in the coming year.
‘This will be a great opportunity for everyone involved – so I am very grateful for Headway and especially Holly Keating for showing such enthusiasm and understanding about what we are trying to achieve.’
For more information about the Headway Charity and how you can get involved contact;
It started as one of those conversations: ‘Wouldn’t it be great to go to Wembley and record an item for BBC School Report Day?’ Unfortunately, this idea was voiced only some 9 days before the 6th International Series!
Incredibly, 9 days later we were standing on the pitch at Wembley, surrounded by NFL players, coaches and even owners! The interviews went well but thinking our interview with the UK Referees working at the game would basically be a ‘quiet chat’ pre-game on an empty pitch – we were not prepared for the noise and activity in the stadium before the fans were allowed in!
It was a whirlwind trip – last minute changes of plan, illness, desperate e-mails at 2am, virtually no sleep and running around Wembley getting press passes, doing the interviews and trying to soak it all in was breath-taking. Whilst the sound quality is a disappointment, in reality, it is very atmospheric.
Exmouth Community College is enormously grateful to the NFL Office, London in providing the press accreditation for the day and at such short notice. Hopefully the item will further help to raise the profile of the development of the sport in the UK and especially in schools and colleges. We would also like to thank the Bafa and Bafra Directors for taking time out to be filmed for the item.
The combined Yr11 and Yr12 girls group continues to make good progress in their kitted training. The training is slow and careful but is designed to build-up technique and confidence over speed and power. Working indoors with landing mats, tackle bags and shields allows for correct technique to be practised and in a safe environment. By half-term in the summer term the girls will be ready to play out-doors on grass and indeed quite possibly have a game against the Tiger Sharks in a hybrid format.
This group are making football history as the only under-18 female group in the UK playing full-contact. They also represent the next generation of players to arrive at university with a couple of years playing and training experience. Once they reach university, they will become key members of that playing and coaching community.
This project is very exciting and is a huge leap forward in female American football in the UK!