South West Regional BAFCA Clinic Weekend!

The South West regional coaching clinic returns to Bristol for a second year, with top quality speakers covering a range of great topics both in the classroom and on the field. Coaches and players are welcome to attend and the day is free, thanks to BAFCA support. The clinic will take place on Saturday 20th September, at the Portway Rugby Development Centre in Bristol.


Speakers already confirmed:

 – Stephen McCusker (East Kilbride Pirates Special Teams Coordinator). Stephen is a hugely respected offensive and special teams coach with over 20 years’ coaching experience, including positions with the NFLE’s Scottish Claymores and Great Britain Lions. He has played at every level of the game in Europe, from junior football through to the professional stage. 

 – Ryan Baker (Birmingham Lions Quarterbacks Coach). Ryan is the Assistant Head Coach at the University of Birmingham Lions in the British Universities American Football League and the Quarterbacks Coach of the student Great Britain National Teams. He is also the founder of the Just Threw It quarterback academy and, in 2013, was named to the IFAF World Team Programme.
At the collegiate level in 2013-14, Ryan helped guide the Birmingham Lions to another undefeated regular season and their fifth consecutive British Universities American Football national championship appearance, including three titles wins.
Ryan established Just Threw It in 2012, to push the development of Quarterbacks in the British game. JTI aims to provide the highest quality skills and technique training, exposure to passing concepts, an understanding of how to read the game and an understanding of leadership qualities. JTI aim to provide athletes and coaches the highest level of instruction and information, utilising a personalised service to advance their training programs.


 – Ben Wiltshire (Bath Killer Bees Offensive Coordinator). Ben has 13 years’ experience playing and coaching at University and senior level in the UK. Playing predominantly at fullback, his coaching career began as the Running back positional coach at the University of Bath in 2005.
In 2010, he was promoted to Offensive coordinator at Bath and switched to coaching WR and QB. Since implementing the zone run blocking scheme in 2011, Bath has a combined record of 20-3 in the regular season, including undefeated 8-0 regular seasons in 2012 and 2013 and two SWAC championships. The team has also enjoyed post-season success, reaching the final of the Challenge Trophy, as well as the quarter and semi-finals of the national British Universities American Football championship in that time.


 – Martin Hilton (Loughborough Aces Defensive Coordinator). As well as coaching the GB Lions defensive backs, Martin is also Defensive Coordinator at the Loughborough Aces and Defensive Backs Coach at the Tamworth Phoenix. Prior to taking over the defence at Loughborough in 2011, Martin coached defensive backs dating back to 2001 and brings a wealth of knowledge to the regional clinic.

Martin’s topic will be Defensive back fundamentals, but he is also opening the floor to any related subjects that attendees would like to hear more about on the day. Therefore, if you have a topic you would like to see covered, send a short email to and I’ll pass it on to Martin.


 – Luke Gallivan (Swansea Titans Strength & Conditioning Coach). A former Titan, Luke has made good use of his MSc. in Strength & Conditioning, working with the Cardiff Blues Rugby Academy and the Titans. Specialising in the development of young athletes and motivational techniques, Luke has helped oversee the development of Swansea’s BUCS team into a physical team that finished 6-1 in 2013-14 and went on to win the BUCS Challenge Trophy. 

Luke’s talk will be ‘Developing Agility in American Football, not as easy as you might think.’ American football, like most sports, involves changes of speed or rapid and decisive changes of direction that can result in the upper hand for the offensive or defensive team. Agility is a unique physical and mental attribute, however developing this attribute in a team environment is no mean feat. This presentation will discuss the unique dynamics and challenges of developing agility in American football and implementing a program to develop agility.
More updates will follow as soon as possible, including further speakers, schedules and their topics.


The day will see a mix of classroom-based talks and on the field player development activities. This will allow coaches to see the theory taken from the classroom and into a coaching environment.
For this reason, we are also inviting players to attend the event in order to help us to deliver the on field sessions, but also as an opportunity for their own further development. Again, this will be entirely free.
Therefore, please encourage your players to attend. This is an opportunity to gain some excellent free coaching and also means that shared transport will prove more cost effective and sustainable, if small groups travel together.

Players should bring general sportswear suitable for an unkitted practice session, with footwear suitable for 3G and grass conditions, as well as a packed lunch and water bottle.
Please take a moment to share this message with anyone you know that may be interested in benefiting from the day, as it is open to all.


Please click on the link to register an interest in the event and receive updates.

Venue address and directions can be found below:-
Sea Mills
BS9 2HS…
Coming from the M5, take the Portway A4 exit at Junction 18
Coming from the M4/M32, get onto the A4 heading out of Bristol towards Avonmouth.
If you would like to become involved in the clinic, whether helping organising or indeed delivering a session, please contact me directly at

South West regional BAFCA coaching clinic – Saturday 20th September 
Portway Rugby Development Centre, Bristol BS9 2HS



Frankie Pankhurst

Francis began his football career with the Maidstone Pumas Youth setup before representing the Great Britain U19 team and transferring to the Farnham Knights. He spent one season playing for the London Warriors during the Knights brief hiatus from football and has spent 5 seasons as a key member of the Challenge Trophy winning Swansea Titans University Team where he was President for 2 years. He now currently plays for the Allgau Comets in GFL1. Francis excels at writing about himself in third person and does not find this awkward at all. Follow Francis on twitter @FRP74