First Milford Bucs Youth Football Clinic a Success
By Kevin Eickman
Throughout the years, football has been a game passed down from one generation to the next. While the game has changed and evolved, it has always been about teaching and learning. This past Tuesday and Wednesday the Milford High School Football team held their first ever youth clinic for aspiring players at Briggs stadium. The goal was to bring instruction on basic skills and fundamentals of the game for 6-12 year olds, with Milford Varsity players and coaches leading the instruction.
The clinic was the result of collaboration between Buccaneers coach Shaun Strickland and Milford Pop Warner. Speaking with Strickland about the clinic, he looked at it as simply a way of giving back to the community “This is a great opportunity for our guys to give back to a program that a great many of them were a part of. A lot of our players came up through Pop Warner and it gives them a chance to be a mentor to the younger kids,” he stated. While the focus was on fun, the most important aspect of the clinic was the teaching of proper techniques. It’s important that players learn to do things the right way form the beginning.” Strickland continued “We have an opportunity to teach them properly and they will become better players because of it.”
One of the high school players donating his time was junior Caleb Watson, who plays fullback and linebacker for the Buccaneers. “This is a great opportunity to spend some time with young players just starting out in football,” Watson said. “I can remember when I was their age we always got help from the older guys that came out to lend a hand. This is just a way for me to give back to the game that I love.”
On hand representing Pop Warner was Scholastic Representative Wes Cromer, who has a son who started playing football. “I had spoken to coach Strickland about having a few of his players possibly coming to a few of our practices last season, but we just couldn’t find a way to work it out,” Cromer stated. “We just kept the lines of communication open and we came to the conclusion that a clinic would be a great way to get some instruction in.”
In recent years the concern over football injuries has grown and as a result USA Football has adopted Heads Up Football, a program designed to certify youth coaches on how to provide proper instruction on how to play the game more safely. There was a lot of information available regarding USA Football’s safety program, which was made available to the parents of the clinic’s participants. One of the key elements in the program is the certification of coaches at the Pop Warner level. “All the coaches now are certified in Heads Up Football. Which is a completely new way of tackling and making contact as to what we were taught as kids. Safety is our first priority,” said Cromer.
Milford Pop Warner will be out at the Bug and Bud festival on April 28 and will be accepting registration for new players.
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