News - The Phoenix Nest

News - The Phoenix Nest

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2020/21 Season Begins Sunday 6th September

Posted on 3 September, 2020 at 4:05

Sunday 6th September sees us return for our 5th year :D we will also begin our Cheerleading program as the club continues to look to develop and offer more to our local and wider community.

At present we are still under Covid restrictions but are hopeful that these will ease soon and allow us to be able to run more normal training sessions to ensure we are giving our players the maximum possible development opportunities. 

We have worked hard to set our club and this year look forward to pushing forward and continuing to demonstrate that there is #nobetterplacetolearn



Cheerleading Program Starts Sept 6th

Posted on 18 August, 2020 at 13:40

We are delighted to be able to confirm that our new Kent Phoenix Cheerleading Program will get under way on Sunday 6th September at Shepway Youth & Community Centre, Cumberland Avenue, Maidstone. There will be two groups running with each session being 90 minutes long. Group 1 will start at 1000 and finish at 1130 with Group 2 running from 1130 until 1300.


We have been very lucky in recruiting Coach Kylie to lead our program and are delighted she has agreed to form this section of our club. With 15 years of Cheerleading experience as well as having qualifications in Dance and Gymnastics we are certain our Cheerleading program will offer fantastic opportunities to young people in our local area and beyond. We have worked closely as an organisation with all necessary Governing bodies to ensure our program is registered and maintains the highest standards of welfare and safety for all involved.


Cheerleading is a natural fit for our organisation to add to our American Football program and both offer great community engagement and development, it will provide us another opportunity for local outreach work that connects with local organisations and groups.


Phoenix Chairman Lee Parsons said ‘We have always intended our club to develop and grow within our local and wider community. As we enter our 5th year and having built our American Football teams strongly adding Cheerleading became a real ambition. We could not have hoped to do so as quickly but from our first conversation Kylie was keen to support our development and work with us to provide a strong and engaging Cheerleading section. We have worked really hard and raised £3500 towards purchasing start up equipment which we can’t wait to see being used.


Coach Kylie added ‘It has always been my passion to get children and young people active, moving and to help them develop strong peer relationships. I have worked closely with Maidstone YMCA and the Maidstone Panthers Cheerleading classes they run as an after school club and coach gymnastics at Pegasus. I am looking forward to working with the Kent Phoenix and being part of their fantastic team. We can bring something new to their already outstanding program to include more young people and their families.


If you are aged 8-18 why not give it a try? Your first 3 sessions are free.....


For more information or to pre register email [email protected]



 

Coaching Team Keeps Growing

Posted on 3 August, 2020 at 9:55

Since we started our program we have worked hard not just to recruit players, purchase specialist training equipment and improve our facilities. We have worked hard to expand our coaching staff and improve their knowledge, confidence and experience to ensure we are able to provide the best possible teaching, development and support our players need.


Over the past few years Coaches Lee, Marc, Ian, Dee and Matt have done a fantastic job and in addition we have welcomed BAFCA Level 1 qualified Coaches Bill, Tom and Josh.


In support we have begun a program of developing new coaches, giving them the skills and experience needed to gain their qualifications through our Coaching association and other recognised and affiliated organisations. At present we have Coach Stuart, Simon A and Nathan all waiting for their chance to gain their certification once Covid is resolved. These coaches are vital in helping us deliver our training sessions and have all shown fantastic development and work fantastically within their teams.


As we look to the future we will work with BAFCA to deliver coaching development for Flag and Kitted coaches as well as supporting the new coaching pathways they are introducing for older players to further support our program both now and in the future.


We are hugely grateful for all our Coaches both past and present for helping us to build our program.


We are delighted to announce that in addition to our current Coaching staff we will be welcoming Coach Simon Mac to our organisation. As a former Head Coach of a local adult team as well as an extensive playing and coaching career Coach Simon will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience that will not only help our players but support our Coaching development program. We are delighted that he has shown such faith in our plans and ideas that he has chosen to join us at this time.



 

Help Us Help Our Club with Give To Local

Posted on 30 July, 2020 at 15:10

We are delighted to be able to announce our partnership with @givetolocal This will provide even more ways in which we can help raise funds for our club.

Its quick and easy, first download the app https://app.givetolocal.com/register/kent-phoenix-youth-american-football or visit our websites donate page.

Register, select which Phoenix team you wish to support and donate. You can give as much as you want (£3 minimum) as often as you want to. In return you will find offers from local businesses that you may be able to take advantage of.

This is a great way for family, friends and other supporters to help support our club and help it continue to grow in the future.

If you are a local business and would like to help support us and in turn offer discounts or benefits to our supporters please get in touch.

Help us help our club

#PhoenixFamily


2020 Flag Season Cancelled

Posted on 30 July, 2020 at 4:05

@bafaofficial have today confirmed the cancellation of Youth and Flag National League competitions for the 2020 season. All Contact Football Competitions had already been cancelled. This is not entirely unexpected news and we had already made the decision not to enter into these Flag competitions for this season in any case.

We will continue to plan and run Covid safe training for all age groups as we have done since the guidance changed and allowed us to do so.

BAFA will be submitting a phased return to play plan to the Government very soon and hope to have it approved so we can gradually return to more normal and familiar training. Until this is allowed and the necessary risk assesments have been completed we will continue our training as we are at present. We cannot thank you all enough for your continued support, dedication and commitment through this period.

We still hope to be able to have some form of friendly scrimmages or events later in the Autumn but this is subject to BAFA and Government guidlines.

In the meantime we will continue working to engage young people, improve their skills and have fun doing it.

Stay safe, see you Sunday.

#PhoenixFamily


Funding Success....

Posted on 28 November, 2018 at 4:25

Thank You All So Much….


Owing to your fantastic support we gained enough votes to be successful in securing our funding from the Aviva Community Fund. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who took the time to register their votes for us.


Our award of £1000 will enable us to continue to develop our club, the equipment and facilities we offer in order to continue to engage young people in a positive activity. This will also help support the clubs development as we look to offer more opportunities for our players in 2019. We have seen a great deal of growth in 2018 and while we have seen players move on our recruitment and retention remains steady. There are some exciting plans ahead for everyone involved in the Phoenix.



Alumni News

Posted on 21 November, 2018 at 0:35

Being part of the Phoenix is more than just about playing with us, we are just a small part of what we hope will be a much longer involvement within the sport. As such we hope that the time spent with us enables players to progress and be successful at higher levels.

This year is the first year we have seen players move on from us and this year 4 of our players are part of University Football. Not to mention of course the current GB U19 squad players.

During the course of this season and beyond we hope to bring you news on these players and hope that they can provide positive inspiration for our current players and demonstrate that there are pathways for them to follow. We will always welcome our Alumni back to speak to and work with our youngsters and they will forever be a part of the Phoenix family.

This past weekend Phoenix Alumni Ed Beazleigh (#44) started his first game with the University Of Lincoln Colonials as they faced the Chester Legion in a BUCS Division 2A clash. The Colonials ran out impressive 39-0 winners and we are delighted to report that Ed put up some very impressive stats. Playing at his favoured Running Back position Ed carried the ball 8 times for a very impressive 90 yards and a Touchdown, this resulted in an average 11.25 yards per carry.

Unfortunately Ed was sidelined with a minor injury which meant he could not break the 100 yard barrier in his first game he has set down a marker for the next game.

It is fantastic to have seen our players past and present continuing to develop their skills and progress within the sport and we look forward to bringing you many more updates in the future.


 

Phoenix Shortlisted For Award

Posted on 14 November, 2018 at 3:40

Thank You…..


We say thank you a lot but we have a lot to be thankful for. The attitude of our players, commitment of our coaches, support of our parents and volunteers. In the past couple of years we have achieved a great deal through hard work and a positive approach to our development. We have continued to grow and improve our organisation, offering more development and progression than ever before and are committed to continuing this in the future.


We continue to increase our team both on and off the field and have seen our players push themselves to the highest possible level. We’ve seen a number of new players start their journey in the Sport and these will take part in a number of events over the remainder of the season to test their skills and challenge their development. As we have set out since the start of our organisation this will all be done with the focus and emphasis on learning and development, building knowledge of the sport and most of all having fun. We are also working hard to continue to improve the facilities we can provide in order to support our club and to provide the best possible platform to engage both our players and the local community.


We are proud to recruit players from a wide area in our region, the fact that some players and parents travel a considerable distance demonstrates that we are providing an activity and club that people want to and enjoy being a part of. As a result of our hard work we are honoured to have been nominated as Junior Club Of The Year in the Medway Sports Awards. These bi-annual awards look to celebrate and reward achievements of Clubs, Individuals, Schools and Teacher’s within the Medway area. Following the nomination process we have been Shortlisted for the award and will be attending the awards evening in December where the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards will be presented by Double Winter Olympic Medallist Lizzy Yarnold.


We are hugely proud of our club and humbled by this nomination, it simply could not be possible without the support and hard work put in by everyone. We wish luck to all those who have been shortlisted as well and congratulate all the fantastic organisations nominated or not, each and every club at its heart is trying to engage young people and encourage participation in a positive activity.



 

Eastbourne Development Event 18th November 2018

Posted on 12 November, 2018 at 4:30

Sunday 18th November 2018 sees the Kent Phoenix travel to Eastbourne to take part in a joint training and development event. Working with the Hellingly Hound Dogs and East Kent Mavericks our players will be able to put their skills to the test while focusing on skills development.

 

As part of our preparation for BAFA National league competition next year this event will be an important development opportunity and we look forward to a fun and engaging event.


The Flag event will start at 1000 for Under 12’s and Under 14’s with the U17 and U19 Kitted groups getting under way around 1200 finishing at 1400.


This event will see the 3 teams continue to work closely to look at ways to increase participation, emphasise skills development and provide opportunities for our young people. We are also working with other teams within our region to ensure we continue to promote positive development and growth in our sport. If you are in the area why not pop along to see these kids in action, it may not be the NFL but you might be surprised at the skills on display.



Eastbourne Development Event 18th November 2018

Posted on 12 November, 2018 at 4:15

Sunday 18th November 2018 will see the Kent Phoenix take part in its first Development event of the year. As part of our plans to progress into the BAFA National Leagues our players will make the trip to practise and play against players from Hellingly Hound Dogs and the East Kent Mavericks.


This event will see us participate in joint drills and scrimmages and is a key part of our development plans allowing players to put their skills to the test against other teams in a fun and friendly environment. The 3 teams are working closely together alongside a number of other organisations in teh region to continue to look at building the sport, engaging more young people and ensuring continued skills development.


The Flag event for Under 12's and Under 14's will begin at 1000 with the Kitted event for Under 17 and Under 19's will follow at approx 1200 the event will finish at 1400.


We have a number of players that will be experiencing game scenarios for the first time and are looking forward to providing these opportunities to continue to learn and develop their skills.


If you have some free time and are in the area why not pop along and see these kids in action, it may not be the NFL but you may well be surprised at the level of skill on display...


Eastbourne Sports Park

Cross Levels Way

Eastbourne

BN212UF



U12 Cadets Get New Shirts For 2018/19

Posted on 12 November, 2018 at 3:50

We are delighted to reveal the new kits our Under 12 Flag team will be wearing for the 2018/19 season.


Designed and produced by our new supplier Nuola we couldn't be more delighted with them. Keeping the camo theme typical with our previous shirts we consulted with the players to get their input on the final design. Moving to a Grey/Black colour gives our Cadet team its own identity within the organisation and ensures they stand out during training or events. The addition of the Phoenix logo on the left hip looks great and the Pink numbers/lettering was chosen by the players really stands out on the shirt.


We are determined to continue to develop this very important playing group and encourage more young people to get involved in our sport from an early age in order to begin to learn and develop their skills. We are delighted at the increase in female players within this group, we are closing in on a 50/50 split which would be amazing and perhaps we could be on the way to creating an all female team.


2018/19 promise to be a busy and exciting year for this group with it taking part in friendly scrimmages as well as entering the BAFA National League. As with all events these will provide our players with opportunities to test their skills and learn. We look forward to the challenges these wil provide and are keen to continue toencourage new players to join and get involved in our organisation and the sport.



Planning For 2019

Posted on 1 November, 2018 at 6:05

With training in full swing the Kent Phoenix are looking forward to 2019.

Having settled in to our new facility at Shepway Green our focus is now turning towards the 2019 Season. While we still have to get through the Great British Winter next spring offers a number of opportunities for our players to put their skills to the test.

The Board and Coaching staff a putting together a packed schedule that will see all our age groups play competitive football to help their skills development. 

At flag level we have see strong and sustained growth with our newer members quickly finding their feet. We are also seeing the benefit of both our full kitted squad and the developmental group and the coaching staff have some exciting plans to both keep training fresh through the winter but to continue to improve and develop skills.


2019 promises to be a very busy and exciting one and we look forward to continuong to build our program in all areas...


Phoenix Join Parlimentary Group For American Football

Posted on 12 September, 2017 at 13:35

Kent Phoenix were today welcomed as the first American Football club to join the newly reformed Parliamentary All Party Group for American Football. The group which has had an extended hiatus due to Elections is formed principally of Members of Parliament with the aim to looking at issues and finding way to develop and promote the sport in the United Kingdom. In its new guise there is scope for member of the public, organisations and clubs to become members of this group, in doing so they will then be invited to the groups open meetings and be given opportunity to have their input into the future development and growth of the sport. American Football has been growing in popularity and following for a number of years and the Kent Phoenix themselves, as one of the UK's only Youth dedicated clubs, have found increasing interest and membership.

A press release on the Groups website this morning contained the following statement from the Chair Peter Bone, MP for Wellingborough.

“I’m delighted Kent Phoenix Youth American Football Club have joined the Parliamentary Group for American Football, and I congratulate them on being the first club to join the Group. They and all other clubs are most welcome and I am looking forward to meeting them at our first Ordinary Meeting next month.”

Phoenix Chairman Lee Parsons added,

“It is great to see there are Members of the British Parliament who support American Football, and who welcome non-politicians as members to hear their thoughts. I was pleased to see the opportunity for us to get involved and I’m thrilled to see our name at the top of the club member list. I and the club are looking forward to attending our first meeting in October.”

The full press release can be read here https://www.parliamentary.football/appggafgnews/first-club-joins-parliamentary-american-football-group/" target="_blank">https://www.parliamentary.football/appggafgnews/first-club-joins-parliamentary-american-football-group/

For such a young club the Kent Phoenix have again shown their commitment towards developing the sport and building a program that not only provides a playing outlet but places itself at the heart of the community.


Phoenix U17's Enter The Fray

Posted on 3 May, 2017 at 4:45

Last September the Kent Phoenix formed and one of its key goals was to push forward with its development of an Under 17's team to play in the BAFA National League. Youth Kitted Football has not been played in the county town for a number of years, aside from a couple of practice/demonstration events, and in order to promote and sustain a Youth only American Football Club participation within the National League is key as it provides the only opportunity for our U17's to play competitively.


Having trained and recruited throughout the Autumn and winter the squad is ready and keen to get on the field to show how far they have come but also to continue to learn and develop their skills and awareness of the sport. The coaches have worked hard to pass on their knowledge and teach the youngsters the principals of the game. Sadly as is the nature of sport we have picked up some injuries to key players along the way, but this has only spurred on remaining squad to step up and play on for their downed teammates. The spirit and togetherness shown by these young men is inspiring to all within the organisation and their support of the younger Phoenix Flag teams continues to show how well bonded the organisation is.


Following a protracted scheduling period the Phoenix now have their 4 event schedule for the 2017 season. First up is a home event attended by the Kent Exiles (Outlaws), East Kent Mavericks and the South London Renegades. From there the Phoenix hit the road for 3 further tournaments at Essex Spartans, South London Renegades and finishing up at Kent Exiles (Outlaws).


This is a busy and exciting period for the organisation as a while with the SEYAF Flag Championships coming to a conclusion it is a real chance for us all to show how far we have come and to lay a solid foundation for future growth.


It is still a great time to join the Phoenix and get involved in a sport that offers so much opportunity for all. If you know of anyone who may be interested contact [email protected] for more information.



Funding The Future

Posted on 14 April, 2017 at 6:00


The Kent Phoenix are delighted to confirm the award of £10k from Sport England following a successful Small Grants Funding application. The application which was submitted with support from American Football Development Ltd (AFD) is a significant step forward for us and a vindication of the hard work carried out by such a young organisation. Since its formation in September 2016 the Phoenix have developed and grown as an organisation and demonstrated that Youth specific American Football programs are not only viable but sustainable, the ability to control and focus its attention and tailor its delivery to a Younger audience has seen numbers grow and participation and awareness increase.

 

We have Flag teams participating in Regional competition and our Under 17 kitted team have a busy schedule competing within the British American Football National League. As one of the most inclusive sports we have seen an increase in the number of young girls playing and have delivered community development opportunities which have introduced our sport to more young people in our local and wider communities than ever before. We are keen to see this work continue.

 

In submitting our application we ensured that we put forward a plan that would enable us make maximum use of the funding available in order to deliver quickly the goals and aims set out in our plan. Working with AFD we have developed a plan to run a Schools Flag program that will not only allow us to introduce the sport to a number of local secondary schools but will also provide training for staff as well as a tournament day which will enable the schools involved to compete against each other. Through this program we will look to promote the sport and Kent Phoenix creating pathways for young children involved in Schools programs to progress into community American Football. AFD will be contacting a number of schools in the coming weeks to set this program up and we will follow their progress through our Facebook, Twitter and website.


We will also be able to set up and run Coaching development sessions that will provide our coaching staff the opportunity to enhance their skills and continue to deliver the highest standard of training and development to our young players. Our goal as an organisation is to always focus our program on skills development and fun. In doing this we will continue to provide all our children with the best possible introduction to American Football and opportunities to play to the highest standard.

 

Finally we will look to improve the training equipment we need to deliver fun and progressive training sessions. American Football requires a great deal of specialised equipment in order to ensure we are able to fully develop our players skills and abilities, the funding will allow us to purchase some items of equipment that would otherwise be out of our budget. Fun training session encourage greater attendance at training and get more young people interested in joining our organisation.

 

We are hugely grateful to Sport England for supporting our plans and to AFD for helping us move closer to achieving them.


The Phoenix are Rising......

 

Getting Started

Posted on 18 October, 2016 at 21:20

Setting up a sports team is not an easy business, setting up an American Football club even less so, make that a youth based organisation and the hoops and hurdles you need to climb through and over multiply exponentially.

When a determined number of coaches and parents got together to map out the future progress of a group of young people who had already shown great commitment and development, but who needed more focus and support, it became clear just how difficult this would be. Add to the mix that the new organisation would need to start from scratch with nothing but aspiration, drive and commitment the fledgling Kent Phoenix looked stuck well and truly in the ashes.

However thanks to a huge amount of work from the coaches, parents and staff in a very short space of time things started coming together and the Kent Phoenix began to take flight and now we find ourselves soaring into a very bright future.

An American Football club, by nature of the sport, needs a great deal. Large numbers of coaches, players and support staff. Kit and equipment to teach basic and advanced skills as well as provide safety for participation; a social media footprint to promote, develop and grow not to mention uniforms for the players to wear with pride. This stuff does not come cheap, so how did we manage in such a short space of time to get ourselves into such a good position from which to build?

Thanks to the generosity of a number of individuals, companies and organisations the Phoenix found themselves in receipt of nearly £5000 paid to the club as donations and sponsorship, we also received a further £1200 paid through the course of the year to help with the cost of using training facilities. These donations were very welcome and everyone connected with the Phoenix are very grateful for the support.

We were also very fortunate that a parent very kindly loaned us the money to purchase all the players uniforms we need to get ourselves going, this money will be repaid from member subscriptions but allows our players to look fantastic and really feel a part of their club. With the players looking fantastic we approached KCC Councillors Brian Clark and Paul Carter who kindly agreed to award the Phoenix £300 each in order for us to purchase uniforms for our coaching staff, this money was provided through the KCC Members Grant award scheme and we are hugely grateful to them for their support. All our uniforms have been sourced and supplied by EV2 and look fantastic, we will certainly present a strong team identity moving forward.



Following a chance encounter we were invited to meet with the owner of Lashings Sports Bar, we had a really positive discussion regarding our plans and ambitions and Lashings agreed to sponsor the Phoenix to the tune of £2500 across our first year. This money will help us to fund our continued development and we look forward to developing a range of American Football based events at Lashings to reflect the partnership between us. We look forward also to seeing our shirts on their walls and pictures of our kids on their tables.

Our First Event In Association With Lashings Sports Bar Will Be


With the money we have raised so far we have been able to cover the set up costs for our organisation and still maintain member subscriptions at an affordable level in order to ensure everyone is able to be a part of our program. We have set up our website, social media and a YouTube channel and we are starting to use these outlets to promote our teams. We have also secured great facilities at Cornwallis Academy and are looking at how we can work closely with them in the future to develop both the facilities we use and find ways we can tie this into the school and it's pupils. We have looked into club development and will be working closely with Kent Sport and Sport England to attain Clubmark accreditation which recognises our commitment to working with children in a safe and well organised manner..

Most importantly however the money we have been able to raise ensured we could purchase 23 sets of pads and helmets for our U17 Kitted team as well as Flag Equipment for our U14 and U11 teams, this will enable us to deliver a full range of training and development as we work towards future competitive tournaments and BAFA National League competitions. We have registered our teams with BAFA and look forward to entering an Under 17 team into the National League competition in 2017. For our Flag teams we have already hosted one event in association with South East Youth American Football and look forward to working with them and other local Teams to provide plenty of competitive events in the future. Work has started to look at the development of an U19 Junior team in the future in the mean time we will look to work with local teams to provide opportunities for Phoenix players who may fall into this age group in 2017 to make sure everyone involved has the opportunity to develop and play the sport.



When we started training a few weeks ago we had little more than a couple of balls and a few training ladders and cones, but thanks to the generosity and support of a lot of people, not to mention the hard work of the entire Phoenix staff we have already put ourselves into a strong position from which we can continue to build. We have done it by ourselves, for our kids and are enormously proud of the organisation we are building.

If you are able to or wish to help us in the future through donations or sponsorship, please contact us [email protected]

 

FOOTBALL - The first O provides Opportunity

Posted on 12 October, 2016 at 7:45

As touched upon previously I first got involved in the sport in the late 80's interest was high but access to involvement was a challenge, teams came and went popping up and disappearing as seasons came and went. I remember once heading off on holiday with my parents and stopping off somewhere on the South coast for lunch, it was a small pub but overlooked a sports centre and as I ate I watched seemingly hundreds of men in full battledress doing jumping jacks and counting at the top of their lungs, it happened to be the Brighton B52's training session. I had never seen such coordinated and well drilled practices in any sport I had been involved with. My football training usually consisted of me standing in goal while every other member of the team took great delight shooting at me from point blank range, you had to make sure you saved everything as with no goal nets walking to get the ball if you conceded one was a feat in itself! So my joy a few years later at finding a team on my doorstep, well a half hour bike ride, was fantastic. But this enthusiasm was tempered by the realism that the sport while popular was just not set up to support development and growth. Access to equipment depended on who was at training and what kit was left by former players or brought by a willing sponsor. The cost of being involved was high and time commitment to travel and play really ate into a weekend.

Fast forward 30 years and the sport is very different in the opportunities it provides. Some things still remain the same, clubs face constant challenges to keep themselves going, cost and time commitments remain higher than many other sports and the league structure is still a work in progress but there has been over the past few years a steady and consistent development of youth participation and opportunity.

Access to kit and equipment has never been better with a number of really good suppliers providing access to equipment I could only have dreamed of as a young players, coaching courses and training has never offered such a good opportunity for those who wish to teach and develop skills. It is perhaps this drive to improve coaches, coaching knowledge and most importantly delivery that is creating greater opportunities for young people to get involved in our sport than ever before. A young person wanting to get involved can do so now knowing that the coaches are able to get them playing to the best of their abilities with the best possible access to equipment that that organisation can provide. Any player now can reach the highest possible standards they wish whether that is local, regional, national and international, they can also focus on their preferred discipline with both Flag and Kitted football being played to the highest level through the age (and now gender) levels. It is only a matter of time before Schools, Colleges and even the NFL itself start paying more attention to a hither to untapped region of potential players and even coaches, to get involved in American Football now is not just a means to keep busy or partake in a hobby, today those getting involved from an early age can find themselves on a path to whatever destination they set themselves, O provides opportunity and today there are more opportunities through American Football than could have ever been imagined.

 

The F in Football stands for FUN!

Posted on 4 October, 2016 at 9:35

I first got excited by American Football in 1984, turning on the TV and seeing the Raiders play the Dolphins engage in a battle of human chess, I didn't know what was going on but I knew I had never seen anything like it before. Little wonder then that I grew up and remain a Chicago Bears fan! The sport hooked me straight away and even though all I had was a hours weekly fix on Channel 4 (God Bless 'em) it didn't take long to start to pick up the basics of the game and some of the more intricate rules.

For the next few years I would count down the days til Sunday and my next fix of a sport that was exploding in popularity, mini football games would pop up on the school playground and I wore my way through countless pairs of trousers diving to make catches similar to those I ad see my heroes of the day making. Nothing was organised, no one had a clue but we knew we were having fun. A few years later I discovered that there was a local team, The Gravesend Lions undeterred that I was nothing more than a skinny 15 year old I turned up each week to train alongside grown men, child protection was different then so spending my Sunday mornings getting mashed was the norm and I LOVED IT! Coaching boiled down to someone yelling comments they had heard on TV or read in a handful of guides available, it was a simpler time though my first playbook was 40 pages! By the time I turned 18 the sports popularity was declining and I found myself too busy with life and work to remain committed, I had stopped watching regularly as the sport moved to sky and my involvement in the sport seemed to have come to an end.

Fast forward a dozen or so years (*cough* - editor), okay fifteen (*cough cough* - editor), alright 25 but that's not the point! The sport is booming again and has reached places few of us all those years could have imagined, regular NFL games, potential for a UK based franchise and more people watching, supporting and interested in the sport than ever. I got back involved a few years back and after coaching adult football made the decision to build from the very ground up and start a youth program, four years ago it was me and few players but my how we have grown, but it has not been easy. The sport comes with a lot of misconceptions and convincing parents that the sport is safe while at the same time explaining to their children why they can't simply put on pads and helmets and start thumping into each other is a tricky balancing act. But when the kids start to play and the parents see that safety and development is at the heart of the program we run it isn't long before they are every bit as hooked on the sport as I was all those years ago.

 

Look on the internet and you will find a plethora of motivational quotes saying how important it is to win or how easy it is to fail. Success comes through hard work, hard work comes through motivation but what drives motivation? In my experience the best way to motivate and encourage young people to try something they either have no experience of or no confidence that they can do it is to make it FUN! Enjoying what you do makes it much easier to keep on doing it, introducing FUNdamental skills of a new sport is hard work, American Football and Flag Football is far more challenging than any other sport they will have encountered before. You can't just turn up with a handful of kids a ball and jumpers for goalposts, the number of positions, skills required for each and the rules, oh goodness the rules! I used to tell adult players that it would be midway through their second season before they started to feel like they knew what was going on and started to get confidence in their role! Imagine explaining that to a parent or child, 'yes Mrs Mother your little Johnny can play American Football but he won't have any idea what is going on for 18 months but he needs to turn up and train every week'! Kids have the attention span of a bored goldfish at the best of times so how can you make sure they keep coming back? Again the answer is simple, make training session FUN, keep the player smiling and enjoying what he is doing, let them see their development and improvement and they will stay motivated enough to keep coming back. Winning is something to aspire to, success is great but seeing a group of young people smiling , laughing and working hard to improve themselves tops anything else you can achieve in sport because that attitude feeds through the coaches to the players and parents and if you have their support there is no limit to what can be achieved.

 

The Phoenix Rises

Posted on 5 September, 2016 at 7:40

THE PHOENIX HAVE RISEN

 

 

Welcome to the home of the Kent Phoenix, the South East's first Youth dedicated American Football Club. we aim to offer continued opportunities for young people aged 8-18 to get involved in our sport.

 

 

We currently run teams in 3 age categories, Under 11 Flag Football, Under 14 Flag Football and Under 17 5v5 Kitted Football. We have a dedicated staff who work hard to ensure our players receive the best possible opportunity to learn the skills and abilities required to play American Football. Supported by a strong off field support network we will be focusing our efforts to develop a club and program that sees young people excel and progress regionally, nationally and who knows maybe even into the US!

 

 

Working with the British American Football Association and South East Youth American Football we will provide our players the opportunities to compete in local, regional and national competitions.

 

 

Development is our priority and we have some exciting plans in the pipeline that will see us continue to improve our club and offer our members the best possible coaching, facilities and equipment. We look forward to sharing our plans with you in the future.

 

 

, if you are interested in getting involved please get in touch.

 

 

Please find us on social media and help us to grow and develop by sharing our links and information.

 

 

To help get us off the ground we are delighted today to reveal the kit we will be wearing for the 2017 season. To get a peek at this you will need to visit our YouTube Channel or Twitter and watch the video.

 

 

There is so much more to come, we have risen and will continue to work hard to ensure the Phoenix are able to soar and challenge, why not challenge yourself and try something new.

 

 


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