The Rookie Round-up

As an NFL fan, I can remember the days when I would have loved to turn my hand to play the great game but in the UK. However, this didn’t happen. The reason? Well, injuries for me due to other sports but one thing that is always at the forefront for someone, is apprehension.

Apprehension comes in many forms, the fear of the unknown is the leader of that if you took a poll, but fear of injuries, age, fitness levels,  and mostly self-doubt as to whether you can do the sport. I can assure you everyone, who is currently in the sport, and past players and coaches will have had one of the above circle around their minds at some point.

Tackling the opposition.
Darlington Steam vs Lincolnshire Bombers
Pictures by Dave Morgan

On Sunday we completed our first rookie programme of 2021 which is allowing us to sign some seasoned players but mostly, new players.  No fewer than eight new players are taking their hand to the sport, that’s amazing! As a Head Coach, I love to see the growth of players, no matter their level, but the trajectory they take in their playing career.

I recently asked current players and past players, currently coaches, to give me a few words of advice to those of you out there who are wondering if this is the sport for you and should you “give it a go”.

Keep turning up, You’ll get it eventually.

Johnny Clarke, Wide Receiver

You’ll get out of this team what you put into it. #choochoo

Jim Riggall, Flag Team

Turn up, always ask questions, and most of all enjoy yourself.

Chris Kilgour, Wide Receiver

Fundamentals, Fundamentals, Fundamentals and the rest will come with good coaching.

Coach Magnet, QB Coach and Flag Team Head Coach

Heads Up! (talking from a safety standpoint.)

Lee Kelly, Offensive Lineman

Being hit (tackled or blocked), doesn’t hurt, so get stuck in.

Chris Armstrong, Running Back

First and foremost, enjoy yourself.  We’re here to have fun. How do you do that? Make sure you keep an open mind and take on board any advice from coaches and senior players (youth too if that’s your age group). There is a lot of information to take in but just keep going and it’ll come to you and you will start to see improvements in your game.

Alex Holland from the 2020 rookie class.

The sport truly is for everyone. We currently have a Senior team who compete in the BAFA National League. We have recently gained associate status for our Youth Team. Also, if the contact side of the sport is not for you, we have the option of the Flag Team which is an excellent way to play the sport, a lot of enjoyment and led by a great coaching staff, this is the case at all three teams.

If playing is actually not what you want, we are always looking for gameday staff, and people to be on board for the general day to day running of the organisation.

The Rookie Programme is headed by myself and Assistant Head Coach, Lee Howitt. As per Bafa regulations, this is non-contact but we make sure we cover the fundamentals in tackling, blocking, catching, route running, defensive backs work and throwing the ball. Once the permitted three sessions are completed, the rookies will then move into the sessions with the first team, once registered with BAFA. This allows us to see if the players are competent in the tackling and blocking side of the game and that the safety aspect has been taken on board.

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