I am often asked my opinion on things that involve football. The questions range from how to find which player position best suits a child to who I think will win the Super Bowl, and pretty much everything in between. I have many thoughts on the game, on coaching, and on improving performance, so I am starting Passing Thoughts to share some of those thoughts. I welcome your comments and conversation. –KR

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Work Those Skills! The Advantages of the 7 on 7 for Athletic Development

One of the most important concepts that coaches preach to their players is "maximum repetition." With limited practice time, coaches need their players to get as many reps as possible in a short amount of time. A regular football practice is often limited in the number of reps that skill players can get, and teams wanting to hone their skills in the off-season have found very few available options.

Those limitations resulted in the creation of  7 on 7 passing leagues. In a 7 on 7, we take away the Offensive/Defensive Linemen and allow the skilled positions to work on refining the passing game without the physical contact and pounding up front. QB's and WR's are given the opportunity to get the many extra reps that are not possible in a short practice. DB's and LB's are able to work their pass drops and strengthen their communication as they learn to improve their coverages.  It is a tremendous format for individual athletes to hone their skill sets and for teams to work together to enhance their technique and passing game.

The 7 on 7 leagues have been a big deal in the South and other parts of the country, both from the standpoint of improving athletic skill and giving recruiters the ability to see "best of" skilled positions playing at the same time.  In our area, 7 on 7's have been attempted in the past, but without an available year-round facility to house the competition, no one has ever been able to make it work long term.  The Sanford Fieldhouse changes that, and Riggs Premier Football is inviting athletes of all ages to get involved in these fun and competitive events this summer.

There are several options available for area athletes:

1)  Elementary/Middle School Tournaments - We have tourneys coming up on May 24th and July 19-20.  These tournaments give young athletes a chance to excel at the parts of the game that are difficult to duplicate in the regular season setting.  Offensive/Defensive linemen have the edge at this age, so the 7 on 7 format allows athletes to develop their position skills and complete plays to the satisfaction of a coach.

2)  High School Tournaments - We are hosting the 1st Annual Rise Above the Region Tournament on June 1-2, and a tournament for local athletes on July 19-20.  For the June tournament, there are over 400 invited coaches from the five-state area.  It will be a great opportunity to see how athletes and teams match up against each other in the region and for athletes to experience many different offensive/defensive looks.  The July tournament will allow athletes to fine tune their timing and continue to refine their skills before the regular season begins in August.

3)  Premier Passing - We are inviting area teams to bring players to the Fieldhouse on Sunday evenings now through July for a controlled 7 on 7 experience.  This is not a competitive tournament setup, but rather a chance for players to work their individual skills in the fast-paced 7 on 7 style under the direction of RPF coaches.  Athletes will develop their speed, agility and timing through the one-on-one play this format allows.  The focus of Premier Passing is on fine tuning the athletes' passing, catching, and defensive skills, and it presents a great opportunity for players and teams to improve their football aptitude in the off-season.

All of the 7 on 7 options are non-contact.  If individual athletes are interested, let us know and we can put together teams.  If a tournament team doesn't have a coach, let us know and we will provide one.  Athletes in the area have never before had the opportunity to focus on this level of skill development and competition in the off-season. We are looking forward to working with athletes and teams to build a consistent and successful 7 on 7 tradition in South Dakota! 

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