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

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Heads Up with USA Football

USA Football and the NFL have worked cooperatively to develop and promote the Heads Up Football program to youth leagues around the nation in an effort to change the culture of the sport to be more focused on player safety. Check out this video to get a sense for how the organizations work together to bring HUF to communities:

Coach Riggs asked Joe Frollo, Digital Media and Publications Manager for USA Football to explain the background of HUF and explain the benefits of bringing the program to players and parents in South Dakota. This is his response:

Heads Up Football is a comprehensive approach to a better, safer game. Adopted by more than 1,800 youth football organizations across the nation already for 2013 – including SD Junior Football and Riggs Premier Football– Heads Up Football provides a safer environment for young football players to learn the basic fundamentals of the game.

By learning correct tackling techniques at an early age, athletes build muscle memory and take these skills with them as they progress through the sport. By involving parents in the learning process, Heads Up Football encourages everyone to know the standards, live up to them and engage to provide a great football experience for our youth players. Parents who know their coaches are certified to teach the game can feel confident that their organization is doing it the right way.

Five reasons players benefit from Heads Up Football:
· Coaches who properly teach football’s fundamentals make you a better player;
· Effective, organized practices keep you moving and having fun with your teammates;
· Coaches go step by step to make sure you learn a skill in practice before you do it in a game;
· Coaches aren’t asking you to do something your body isn’t ready to do;
· Good coaches and prepared players are keys to success on game days.

Five reasons parents should feel more comfortable because of Heads Up Football:
· Peace of mind knowing that the coaches are trained to teach football’s fundamentals in the safest possible way;
· Knowledge that coaches have access to an online drills library, film room and practice planner to facilitate teaching and manage practice time wisely;
· Confidence that coaches are teaching age-based instruction that help players reach their potential with drills appropriate to the players’ cognitive and physical skills;
· Assurance that coaches have a better understanding for concussion, heat emergency preparedness and equipment fitting;
· Improved communication between parents and coaches through a positive team environment.

--Joe Frollo

We are very pleased that SD Junior Football made the commitment to becoming a HUF league in the interest of training and safety for area athletes. Riggs Premier Football will be teaching HUF techniques at SD Junior Football Camp, a Non-contact camp, and a Tackling Clinic in July. Athletes who participate in any of these events will be ahead of the game for the 2013 season since they will already be trained in the HUF techniques for tackling and contact. Our staff will also be working closely with SD Junior Football this summer and fall to assist parents and coaches in making this transition. We stand solidly behind the principle that education and proper fundamentals will improve the safety of the sport without damaging the nature of competition.

Contact us with questions about HUF and the camp/clinic offerings in July. And stay tuned for Coach Riggs' interview with South Dakota's NFL Ambassador for HUF, Brian Hansen.

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