Monday, 7 January 2013

IFAF World Team: Coaches Diary

It may have flown under the radar a little, but a couple of weeks ago it was announced that Ryan Baker and Tony Athersmith were following in the footsteps of fellow Birmingham Lion and GB Uni Coach Wayne Hill and joining the IFAF World team coaching staff. 

Coach Baker agreed to write a short diary and take some pictures to share the experience and this is his first entry!


I just wanted to ramble about some of the experiences so far from my trip to coach the World Development Team. But first I'd like to thank IFAF and BAFA for my selection. I was extremely excited and proud to represent British football.

Coach Baker (left) with fellow IFAF World Coach Tony Athersmith
Not really much to report for day one, pretty much straight to bed ready for day 2 after a 10 hour flight and nearly 45 minute road connection to the villa complex the team is staying at. Although a limo from the airport was pretty cool. Starting to think this could be a good trip! lol

With jet lag in full effect day 2 started early and we were quickly off to meetings. We initially sat down to discuss expectations and rules, but in true coach style, it wasn't long before we were on to football. The QB group had jumped from 4 to 6 during the flight over, with guys coming in from all corners of the globe. At this point i'm hoping my brummy accent translates. I get plenty of stick for small group coaching back at the Lions, and here is no different. Life lesson, coaches will always pick on the QB coach.

Luckily the World Development Team Offensive Co-ordinator I knew from old, having spent time with him in Lubbock Texas, where we visited Texas Tech together. I had been really anxious about some of the finer details but by the end of the meeting, I was pretty happy I could have a positive impact during camp. After meetings, it was off to the IMG golf club for the welcome reception. This would be the first time we'd get to meet the players. The club was very nice and fitting of the 'country club' tag you'd hear in US tv shows. Altho 75 players cluttered the place up quite nicely. The highlight was all the players getting kicked out of the bar area after gravitating to the TV showing the Oregon game.

The meagre facilities available at IMG...

Day 3 meant finally time for football and a first look at the IMG academy. The campus is huge, with 50 tennis courts, 4 football fields, pools and a whole bunch of other stuff. First up for the guys was combine testing. This was the usual stuff you would expect from testing, with everyone trying to do their best and light up the report early on. Some guys did a pretty good job too, with a 4.4 40yd dash recorded on grass. Once that was done practice began. It soon became evident that my job was going to be a tough one, as half the QB group has little to no functional english. But we got through the day and headed back for staff meetings. It was pretty obvious we were going to have late nights and early mornings most days.

Day 4 was going to be a 2-a-day practice. Starting out at 8am the players set to work. I was pretty pleased that the stuff the QB's went over on day 1 was starting to stick and they already looked to b making a step toward improvement. Once the first session was done, the guys headed to the IMG turf for speed work. This gave us time to look at film and get ready for the pm practice. That came and went much like the morning had, although at this point the banter between me and the DB staff was in full swing.

The "World" QB's get some coaching from QB guru Chris Weinke
Day  5 was another 2-a-day format. The guys are starting to improve now and make some plays. Before lunch the Offense is starting to click. At lunch I get to sit out on the bleachers and watch IMG coach Chris Weinke work out with a QB entering the draft. Im not great with faces, but im pretty sure it was Tyler Wilson or Arkansas (Geno Smith announced he will also be working with Weinke at IMG as well). Before we left the office back to the field from lunch, I got told the QB's were going to be getting time with coach Weinke. 

Most of the guys are really too young to understand just who he was, until the word Heisman was used, that got their attention. From there coach Weinke took them through some mechanics and footwork. That was great for me to see and the kids loved it. The best part though, was seeing the kids connect what we had done over the last few days as coach essentially backed up all my coaching points. Looks like I may have some more street cred with them now!

So that's it so far, looking forward to the next few days. I'll try and get that down too and share the amazing experience that is the IFAF World Development team!


  1. Nice pictures ! :)

    Great read anyway :)

  2. What is the schedule of the team after this training camp? for european players, do they stay in usa until the game?


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