The Coaching Clinic Season is Here

Tis the season for coaches to belly up – to a classroom desk.

Every coach will tell you the same thing. If you want to win you have to get better. If you want to get better you have to learn. If you want to learn you have to go to coaching clinics.

 North America

And there are plenty of them. In North America, one of the leaders is Glazier with roughly 300 clinics per year and with an average of between 500 and 1,000 attendees at each one. They attract the best of the best but as yet they have not ventured to Europe other than through webinars.

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Europe

The American Football Coaching and Teaching Academy  (AFCTA) has been conducting coaching clinics, along with player camps for the past two years in Europe. Jim Criner, veteran college (Boise State) and NFL Europe (Scottish Claymores) head coach, heads up the organization and as Executive Director arranged five clinics in Europe in 2014 alone including stops in the Czech Republic, Norway and France.

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They are planning another two major clinics in 2015. One will be held in Vienna, Austria and the other in Stockholm, Sweden in conjunction with the IFAF World Championships in July.

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An AFTCA clinic in Finland was a huge success

Typically they set up five day clinics with two days devoted to the coaching and three days running a player camp. The concept has been hugely successful.

“We have been working with the NFL and NFL International, USA Football and IFAF ” said Criner. “Matt Birk, who is Director of Player Development for the NFL has given us their full support.”

Criner’s staff has an impressive pedigree and includes Lynn Stiles, who himself has coached in four Superbowls, one Pro-bowl and has a 30+ year career coaching in the NFL. Also coaching and organizing is ex-NFL player, World Bowl and Euro Bowl Winner, Phillipe Gardent.

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Jim Criner and AFCTA staff in Norway

Another new entrant to the field is Euro Football Clinics. Organized by Pierre Trochet, assistant coach with the Danube Dragons in Austria and former player from France.  “I have been involved in setting up coaching clinics in Europe for many years and also attended clinics in the United States,” he said. “But for a coach it can become very expensive and time consuming. I wanted to make clinics more accessible. We have developed a webinar that has a more realistic feel with on-camera teaching and an opportunity for feedback.”

The lineup for the first installment on December 15-17 is high profile but gives coaches the world over an opportunity to participate at a reasonable cost. Videos of the clinic will be available for two months afterwards for anyone who misses all or part of the clinic.

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In Sweden, another new addition to the coaching clinic field is the Swedish Football Network (SFN) coaching clinics. SFN is a relatively new website devoted to American football in Sweden. The site, originally established in 2009,  carries scores, standings, stories, and everything else related to American football. The brainchild of ex-player Linus Jakobsson, SFN has grown to become the “go to” site for coaches, players and administrators in Sweden. Their first clinic will be held November 23 and run all day. The site is in Swedish, but Google Translate is invaluable and fairly accurate

SFN AcademyThe German American Football Federation (AFVD) organizes a number of clinics every year and this year is no exception. Follow the link to find out dates and locations. Everything is in German but Google Translate unravels most of the language difficulties.

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There are a number of other clinics held in Germany by the regional federations and other groups. AFVD will have more information. We truly believe in the importance of coaching clinics. If you are holding a clinic anywhere in the world, let us know about it and we will publish it.

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Howard Mudd coached the Indianapolis Colts offensive line from 1998 through 2009

Adam Rita a believer in clinics

Adam Rita, highly successful football coach in college and in professional football (six Grey Cups as a coach and Coach of the Year award in the Canadian Football League) thinks coaching clinics are a must:

“Football coaching clinics are a great way to learn, the lecturer is usually an experienced coach who has gone through the wars and has lots of

knowledge to share.  As a young coach it gave me the knowledge to improve.”
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Adam Rita

But he believes in clinics for all ages of coaches: “As an older coach clinics give me a chance to see the latest trends in the game and they also give me some idea as to what people will do against me. It also gives me confirmation as to what I am doing. Clinics also perk up the grey matter (brain). If I can pick up one idea that will help my team and my ability as a coach/teacher , I feel that my time is well spent”

We at AFI fully believe in coaching clinics and will do our utmost to promote them. If you have a clinic of camp planned, send us the info at [email protected] and we will publish it.

Roger Kelly
Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.
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