We set our goals high for 2013, and it turned out to be an incredibly busy and successful year for the Sanford Power-Riggs Premier Football Academy. We celebrated our grand opening first year anniversary in September, 2013, and the year was filled with great stories, performances, and accomplishments. Some of the highlights of 2013:
Dale Moss was one of the first athletes to train with us, and he now coaches wide receivers at the Academy and signed on to offer an annual WR Clinic for area athletes. We hosted the clinic in March, and had 200 athletes from 3rd grade-college attend. It was a tremendous success, and we are looking forward to Coach Moss' continued involvement with our training sessions and his clinic.
During 2013, we assembled a top-notch group of coaches at every position, and put together a Think Football program to offer 12 camps, clinics and 7 on 7 tourneys to area athletes during the traditional off season. By bringing together excellent coaching, the state-of-the-art Fieldhouse, and a variety of training options for area athletes, we believe we have started to change the culture of football in SD. We saw over 800 athletes take advantage of our training options in 2013, and it was exciting to see so many kids working hard to learn and improve their skills!
We also teamed up with SD Junior Football to offer the first ever full-contact camp for kids in the area and to help bring Heads Up Football and a 'better, safer game' to young athletes. Over 250 kids participated in the SD Junior Football Camp, and our coaches worked extensively with athletes and their coaches throughout the summer and fall to ensure proper training in football fundamentals.
7 on 7 format has been widely utilized in other states to develop individual skills and a team's passing game, but it hadn't been used in this area. We ran a series of competitive tournaments in 2013 for elementary, middle, and high school athletes, and also developed our Premier Passing program, a non-competitive, skill-building program for area high school athletes. All four of the semi-finalist teams in this year's 11AAA tournament participated in the Premier Passing program, and we hope to build on that success in 2014.
One of the values we have tried very hard to instill in our athletes is a focus not just on physical skills, but on sportsmanship, and being part of the greater community. To help emphasize the importance of that, our coaches, athletes, and families came together and ran as a team in the Susan G. Komen SD Race for the Cure in September. It was a tremendous experience to be part of this community event, and we intend to field a team every year! Our team members had a great time, and we will be continuing our focus on sportsmanship and community involvement in 2014.
2013 also saw further development of the Sanford Sports Complex and emphasis on providing big league opportunities to area athletes. We were able to have over 100 of our athletes meet several Minnesota Vikings players in October, and the Pentagon's opening has brought big events and additional focus on Sanford's sports medicine program. I feel very fortunate to be partnered with Sanford with their clear commitment to providing quality programs, facilities, and opportunities for area athletes.
Over the past year, we have built great relationships with the athletes and families who are part of the Academy, and I feel extremely lucky to have surrounded myself with top caliber people in every facet of the program. The Academy is enjoying tremendous success because of the people who are involved at every level, and 2013 demonstrated how fortunate we are to have deeply committed staff and families working together.
What will we do to build on the successes of 2013? We will be offering another series of camps, clinics, and 7 on 7 tourneys in 2014, along with our Premier Passing program and a Recruiting Combine in May. We are partnering with Special Olympics SD to bring 'All Champs Camp' to area athletes and allow athletes with and without disabilities to share their love of football. We will be expanding our camp offerings in the area, and we will continue to provide the best coaches, the best facility, and the best training options for area athletes.
Stay tuned for another exciting year, and we hope you will join us at the Fieldhouse in 2014!
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