International Youth Football Camp in Vienna, Austria

This past weekend Youth Football Online flew out to Austria for our first ever international youth football camp. We partnered with the Jr Tigers Youth Football Organization who are based in Vienna, Austria (ages 6-15). This was a two day camp where we focused on offense the first day and defense on the second day. The first phase of the camp was warm-up/ stretching and speed and agility training. The second phase was focused on tackling. We implemented shoulder tackling and went through all the non-contact drills, then we went into some live tackling drills once the kids understood the technique. The third phase was when we broke the kids up into position groups. This is where we really focused on technique. The fourth phase had the kids go with their coaches so they can start to install plays.

International Youth Football Camp in Vienna, Austria

International Youth Football Camp in Vienna, Austria

This was a very interesting experience for me. This camp was the first time I have ever coached kids outside of the United States. What I noticed is that the kids absolutely love American Football out there. They all are very plugged into the NFL and College Football. American Football is on the rise in Austria, each year more and more kids are signing up. The kids and coaches are very enthusiastic and they love learning. They are all very competitive and have a lot of organizational pride. They love their team and they love the sport. I was also surprised that many of the kids actually spoke or at least understood English. All the coaches spoke English very well and many of the older kids spoke it as well. The kids in Austria are very smart.

I also noticed that kids will be kids whether you are in the United States or in Europe. If things slow down they lose focus, if you aren’t enthusiastic the kids will lose focus. Many of the same mistakes that the kids were making are mistakes that football players in the United States make. The kids were all very attentive and receptive to the coaching. Many of them were very excited about an American coach coming over to teach them. I believe I made more of an impact on the older kids, as they are more competitive and want to compete. The younger kids just really want to have fun (which is what it is all about!). I though it was interesting how many of the older kids wanted to come to America and play football. I will say that they have a long way to go, but there are a few of those kids that could play football here in America. I will say that American football in Austria is getting better every single day and has a bright future.

Camp coaches

American Football in Austria is having a positive impact on the kids. I’ve talked to several kids and they all said they love playing football because they make new friends and they love the competition. Wherever American Football is being played the kids are benefiting. The kids are learning teamwork, commitment, physical fitness, social skills, discipline, and it is actually deterring cigarette and drug use. We all know Europeans generally smoke cigarettes. After talking to several parents they have said that their children have no interest in smoking because it isn’t good for them and they want to stay in shape for football.  Also, I talked to a coach that said football is making a big difference because it is keeping kids busy and out of trouble.  The benefits are endless, wherever American Football is being played, the kids, communities, and families are benefiting.

Also, many of the coaches were aware of the states that tried or are trying to ban youth tackle football. They said what we are all saying, let the parents decide if they want their child to play. I had one parent ask me why would they want to ban tackle football? It’s the greatest sport. I had a long conversation about injuries with the Austrian coaches. I wanted to find out how often kids are getting hurt and how many head injuries occur. They said they have had very few head injuries. They agreed that it is a misconception. They said that since the proper technique is being practiced, the kids don’t get injured very much. What I got out of this trip is that American Football is benefiting the kids of Austria, just as the sport is helping kids in America.

Camp Structure First Day Focus Offense 

Stretch, warm-up, agility ( agility ladder, step overs, cone drills).

Tackling Instruction (shoulder tackling, non-live).

Position Technique

Offensive Line Technique

(three drill/technique progression)

Drill # 1: Stance

Drill # 2: Fire-out and Power Step

Drill # 3: Drive and Finish

Running Backs/QB Technique

Drill # 1: Ball Security

Drill # 2: Hand-off, agility ladder.

Drill # 3: Ladder, ball security, pad level, run through.

Receivers/ QB

Drill # 1: Stance

Drill # 2: Stalk blocking

Drill # 3: Route running, throwing and catching.

Camp Structure Second Day Focus Defense

Stretch, warm-up, agility ( agility ladder, step overs, cone drills).

Tackling Instruction (shoulder tackling, live drills).

Defensive Line

Drill # 1: Stance

Drill # 2: Rip Move for block destruction

Drill # 3: Stance, fire-out, rip move, tackling

Linebackers

Drill # 1: Stance

Drill # 2: Shock and Shed

Drill # 3: Stance, shock and shed, pursuit, and tackling.

Defensive Back

Drill # 1: Back pedal technique.

Drill # 2: Back pedal wave drill for off coverage.

Drill # 3: Press man coverage technique.

Conclusion 

Our first international youth football camp was a huge success. I feel that the players and coaches learned a lot from us and I look forward to doing an even bigger and better camp next year. This was a great experience for me that I will always remember. I enjoyed coaching kids from a different country and making new friends. I realized that the American Football community is one big family and when it’s all said and done, we are all on the same team. Football is not only a way for players and coaches to come together in their communities, football is a great way to bring countries together. I can honestly say that I have created new friendships with people I otherwise wouldn’t of never even met.

(See Also) Play Youth Football Movement 

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