July 17, 2014

Players, parents learn proper football techniques

USA Football hosts a youth camp at AT&T Stadium to discuss fundamentals and safety.

Kip Lewis drove two and a half hours from Carthage to bring his 10-year-old son to AT&T Stadium on Thursday.

Sure, a chance to work out on the field that the Cowboys play on was one reason. But the main message Lewis wanted delivered to his son was about fundamentals.

USA Football, founded in 2002 on an endowment from the NFL, staged a three-hour instructional camp on “Heads Up” tackling.

For Lewis, it was a chance to provide additional credibility and instruction to the message he’s trying to deliver to his child.

“We talk about proper technique and we practice it,” Lewis said. “I just think in an environment like this, he can get that little bit of extra message that will bring it home for him.”

Lewis’ son was one of about 100 kids that showed up for the workout, and Plano John Paul II coach John Furin said he hoped the turnout was the start of something better for the game of football.

“The main thing I want these parents to know is that we are doing things to make this a safer sport,” Furin said. “I think there are serious concerns with how the game is played, but what I want is for all of them to understand this program and how it was developed.”

Furin was a speaker in one of three 10-minute lectures given to parents in the stadium’s visiting locker room.

His volunteer staff worked out the kids in various groups the rest of the way, putting them through a five-step program designed to hone in on the game’s fundamentals.

“We just want to do that over and over again until it becomes natural for them,” Furin said. “We also are talking about head position in tackling and where to target with and at the shoulder area.”

Furin said the push by USA Football is a step in the right direction.

“What they’re finding out is that the high schools are really taking this seriously and bringing it to their kids,” he said. “That’s good news for schools, administrations, school boards and parents. The game is going to be safer because of this.”

That was something Lewis, who doubles as a little league baseball coach, wanted to hear.

“For my son, I just wanted this to be a refresher,” Lewis said. “But he’ll take this back to his friends and tell them what he learned here at the stadium.

“The only thing that concerns me is the concussions. We talked about the longevity of baseball players to that of football players, but I’ve got to give him the opportunity to do this and I have to do what I can to give him a safe environment to learn.”

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