Friday, March 18, 2011

IFAF Coaches Clinic: Lagos

Team IFAF held its first official American Football Coaching Clinic on the continent of Africa, welcoming over 20 local coaches from the city of Lagos, Nigeria to a 3-day clinic.  Coaches were versed on the rules of the game, positions, strategy, and fundamentals.  After two rigorous classroom sessions with Coach Jim Barnes, formerly of Augustana College, and Coach Willie Robinson of West Virginia Wesleyan, the coaches hit the field to put their knowledge into action.

Jack Reed, IFAF Development Manager, came away optimistic about the sessions, "The response from the coaches has been very encouraging. Their enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge of the game has made the last two days productive.  We are very excited about the future of American Football here in Nigeria."

Joining the coaches on the second day of camp were NFL Players Amobi Okoye and Connor Barwin from the Houston Texans, and Frank Okam of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Their first hand knowledge of the game helped bring the on-field portion to life.

In a twist that only happens on such international trips, a late addition added a little spice to the mix  - a potential coach discovered by the coaching staff at the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Lagos.  The man, who had previously spent 7 years in Germany and was familiar with the game, saw the coach's shirts and asked what they were doing in Nigeria.  A few minutes later, he was signed up for the clinic and just might prove to be a factor in shaping the game in Africa.
Nigerian Coaches listen intently as NFL Player Connor Barwin explains the game. Two coaches were so excited to see American Football equipment that they wore them for the duration of the three hour clinic. 
Coach Jim Barnes uses the 2008 Fiesta Bowl as a teaching tool to explain the game. Before the conference, just a handful of coaches had seen a college football game.
Coach Willie Robinson gave a fiery speech on Defense that appealed to the Nigerian coaches.

IFAF Development Manager Jack Reed welcomes Nigerian Coaches to the camp.
Coaches Manuals from USA Football proved to be an essential tool for explaining the game.
Starting from the basics, the 4-3 Defensive Alignment was used to discuss the different positions on defense and overall strategy.  Coach Willie Robinson spiced up the discussions by using visual analogies for each position, including a "Cash Cow" for the Rush Defensive End and "Man on an Island" for the Cornerbacks. 
Coach Jim Barnes lectures the importance of the quarterback position.

Amobe Okoye, who grew up in Nigeria, shows a local coach how to throw the football.

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