Another season is in the books for our youngest competing athletes. Coach Anthony commented on another very successful and rewarding 2017 Atom Falcons campaign!
What are your overall thoughts on the 2017 season?
“The season went by so quickly and was incredibly fun. I was filled with pride seeing the athletes’ joy they had from competing and being very successful this season. What we achieved this year was really special for all involved…Parents, Mangers, Coaches and of course a special group of athletes. Knowing that 10 Atoms from the 2016 season were moving up to Pee Wee this year I have to admit at the start of the season I was concerned whether we had enough athletes to participate and compete in the games. I learned very quickly that you can visually look at the numbers on a team but what I didn’t see was their heart and passion… until they started to practice.”
“The 2017 season can be summarized in one sentence “I am so proud of you” which we told the team repeatedly and often joked asking them, “Are you tired of hearing this yet ?””
What goals did you set up at the beginning of the season?
“My main goal to start the season was how to make the practices fun, engaging and trying to get the athlete as prepared as possible for game days, learning positions on both sides of the ball and lastly preparing them for eventually moving up to Pee Wee Football.”
Highlights of the season?
“Highlights of the season were watching the teams’ confidence grow and the team camaraderie. We are very much a Football Family and this was noticeable from day one as the athletes had a very supportive group of parents and relatives who were very engaged, participating in Jersey night, team tailgating parties and of course attending the games.”
“Another highlight and big compliment we got was from one of our opposing coaches. He mentioned to me after the game that we were the smallest team they faced (in numbers) but also their toughest game. Most teams were shocked at how hard we were able to battle and compete.”
“We Coaches received a wonderful note from a parent after the season on how much their child had fun and loved football and that their son had benefited from playing football both on and off the field. There is nothing more rewarding to hear as a Coach.”
What were some challenges that your athletes faced?
“Our obvious and biggest challenge was preparing for and playing games with so few athletes. We had to get creative in practice to prepare the team for games without the benefit of full scrimmage. We also faced challenges on game day keeping our athletes hydrated and giving them even moments of rest, as most of the games we had 14 athletes and they were playing a lot of football on both sides of the ball.”
How were they able to overcome the challenges?
“We were able to overcome our challenges with some coaching strategies and focused practices but most importantly having a group of really smart athletes who quickly picked up concepts that we were trying to teach, plus they had the heart and the resolve of champions. They were eager to learn and push themselves really hard in practice, especially with their conditioning.”
“Listening to the players, one of the Coaches came up with the brilliant idea of getting water out on the field for our athletes when switching from Offense to Defense this offered them a chance at a few precious moments of rest and hydration. This was a real game changer for us.”
Any distinct themes in your coaching?
“The theme I focused on was the delicate balance of making things fun, engaging, but also providing the constructive discipline when necessary to help the athletes develop and grow personally and to respect and trust their teammates. None of this would have been possible without the amazing group of assistant coaches who exemplified class and respect for the athletes and who helped make things fun with their energy. They were a source of comfort for me knowing I could rely on them 100% and that we were all on the same page and had the same goals and values. I have the upmost respect for them.”
What’s in the plans for next season?
“This was my third year with the Atoms and first as head coach I absolutely loved my time with them and watching them progress and grow as athletes is what makes me want to come back and coach again. However spending time with my Son and watching him grow as an athlete is also very rewarding for me so the next step and natural progression would be move up to PeeWee to be with him and assist there if possible.”
“There should be a good group of Atoms returning next year and possibly a coach that without any doubt can continue to build off our successes. This was a group of kids who were truly passionate about the game, many of the athletes stayed late after practice and continued to run and play they very close group and their teamwork was undeniable. They pushed themselves as individuals and always gave their best effort and most importantly never quit when they were down, their solution was to work harder.”
“I couldn’t think of a better way to end this year than with our cheer to end every practice…”
“Coaches ask, “How do we practice?” The team responds, “Together!””
“Coaches ask, “How do we prepare for games?” The team responds, “Together!””
“Coaches ask, “How do we have fun?” The Team responds, “Together!””
“I am so proud of this team!”
Thank you Coach Anthony. Congratulations to the 2017 Atom Calgary Falcons!
We’ll see you on the field next season.