Innovation within the Britball community is an essential component in driving the British game forwards, which is everything we’re about here at DC!
As such, when we had a chance to chat with the innovator behind the British Passing Academy? How could we say no!
Ahead of a sold-out training camp this Saturday, DC sat down to learn more about the BPA and Tom’s own experience in the British game:
So let’s start with you: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and history with American Football here in the UK?
I started out like many did in the game, first taking up the sport at university in Hull with the Hull Sharks. From there I spent time with the Doncaster Mustangs and then quickly fell in love with coaching. I took up the role of receiver coach with the Sheffield Hallam Warriors in my hometown and have been there ever since.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have some great opportunities put in front of me. Being able to spend time in Europe and stateside with teams such as Temple Owls, UCF Knights and the Florida Gators. I am currently the HC, OC and QB coach for the Hallam Warriors. I also help behind the scenes with the operations side with the men’s Great Britain team.
So, it’s fair to say you’ve got some great experiences under your belt! Bringing things back to Britball, what was the reason for setting up the British Passing Academy?
We all know how important the QB is to the game of football and how much it can affect the gameplay.
Knowing there isn’t such an organisation or one large community aimed at helping the development of QBs, I just thought someone should take the initiative to bring people together and support them in their education, growth and development.
I want the BPA to be an open door for all QBs and coaches who want to get better.
Makes sense – better QBs means better Britball, right? But talking big picture, what are your goals for the BPA?
My single goal for establishing the BPA is to improve the play at the quarterback position. Which in turn will improve the overall standard of play in the country and grow the game. Having regular events and training sessions around the country with the signal callers will enable a constant growth and improvement of their game.
QBs need to work year-round to improve and maintain their standard of play. Much like a golfer and their golf swing. The offseason needs to be committed to working on their throwing mechanics plus all the other attributes of the quarterback position. The hope is that the BPA will support these objectives and give QBs around Britain somewhere to do that and coaching to help them along the way.
So what makes the BPA the place for Britballers to improve their passing? What is it that is unique about the BPA?
As mentioned earlier I have been fortunate enough to go across to America to visit some college programmes. Along the way and throughout my time in the game I have been able to network with some great coaches. My knowledge and network of coaches will help the education of the QBs who get involved with the BPA. With some remote support of the teachings and coaching that the BPA will deliver as well as online video analysis.
I also aim to have three to four events a year which have guest US coaches here in Britain to deliver sessions.
I said to myself a few years ago
“To get better I have to learn from the best.”
That’s why I committed myself to trips to the US. Bringing US coaches across is exactly the same principle for players. For them to get better they have to be coached by some of the best coaches. From some of the coaches I have met during my time in the US I hope to have more come across to coach up the players and help support the growth of football.
So it sounds like a pretty complete package, but let’s look at the events themselves – such as your sold out Passing Camp this Saturday: What can people attending BPA events expect?
I want to make any session with the BPA for any player and coach that comes to attend or observe an opportunity to improve and get better at what they do.
The British community feels so secretive and reserved, when really, we all do pretty much the same thing and we all want the same end result: A great game played at a great standard.
The BPA is here to improve the signal callers on the field and help to improve the overall gameplay. Days will be fun, thorough and full of different aspects of the game to help players get better.
So, obviously this weekend’s sold out, but if a Britballer’s interested in headed along to your next event, what kind of experience is needed to attend? Who are BPA events best suited to?
Anything from just starting in the game to a long-term player. The aim is to have many different opportunities for all types of players, building towards specific sessions and camps aimed at different players’ experience.
The BPA is for all levels, ages and athletes. Ultimately, quarterbacks are quarterbacks, there isn’t any different technique and play when you compare contact to flag, or adult to junior. We will also be developing receivers at most of our events, with some great support from high calibre receiver coaches here in Britain.
Holding passing camps, we ask our QBs to bring a receiver with them. A byproduct of QB development is evidently the receiver position. Not only will we be focused on QB play but also receiver play. Their fundamentals, routes, scheme, concepts, etc. QBs make receivers look good and receivers make QBs look good.
If you play football at the QB or receiver position and want to get better. Then the BPA is for you.
Thanks Tom! Congrats on your impressive start and good luck with your sold out Saturday event!