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My insight into the BAFCA Level One Coaching course

By Coach Will Babbington

I have now been with Leeds Academy of American Football for around 7 months and through that time have learned an awful lot not only about the fundamentals of the great game of American Football and seeing it grow throughout Leeds but also about what goes into coaching a session. I have also seen the thought that goes into the planning of each session, ensuring that the right techniques are worked on each week and most importantly making sure that everything that is done is safe, fun and engaging. With that in mind and with the massive challenge of getting a communities league, involving schools in the north Leeds area up and running, it was decided that I should take my coaching knowledge to the next level and go through the level 1 coaching course run by the British American Football Coaches Association. This would help cement my knowledge of the game and teach the basics of the theory that goes into planning a session.

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It was not just myself that was going to go through the course, 9 other Academy coaches would also be doing it and it all would all be funded by the Academy so that their reach into schools in Leeds and beyond could be further expanded. The course itself was a full day in the classroom as well as a practical and a written exam. The main emphasis of the course was on safety and ensuring that players learn the correct technique in tackling and blocking by keeping their head up at all times and not using their helmet in the tackle. By correctly teaching this aspect of the game at all times it means that all players know what is expected of them which in turn makes the whole game a lot safer.

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Part of the day involved us having to plan a short session where we taught one of the techniques that we had been discussing making sure that all the proper safety information was given and that we recognised any situation where a player demonstrated an unsafe technique. The other people in the session acted as the players which was a little intimidating as they of course would know if I was doing anything wrong! I needn't have worried as I passed that part with no issues. Next came the exam, which due to the great teaching throughout the day and the knowledge I had learned while working with the Leeds Academy of American Football, it wasn't as hard as I was expecting, in fact I got 100%! Having passed the entire course I was presented with my certificate and I am now a certified level one assistant coach, as are the other 9 Academy coaches who also passed. Now I can't wait to get back out onto the practice field and start teaching the kids of Leeds about American Football and ensuring that they do it in a safe and proper manner!