(Photo: Patrick Breen/azcentral sports)
The idea: Have a coach write an article on what he would change about high school football if he were king for a day.
I immediately thought of Phoenix Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan, who is as opinionated as they come on matters like transfers, enrollment-based classification and concussion issues. I asked Vaughan to take on any subject matter he wanted.
He and I may disagree on a lot of things – including his response here – but I appreciate his passion and respect his opinion.
These are his words and in no way were edited:
“The past ten years of Arizona High School football have been its best! Arizona has been recognized on the national stage and continues to improve each year. I commend the AIA on their efforts and am encouraged about the future of our game! The recent change to the transfer rule seems promising and I have seen great improvement in all aspects of the sport.
I do have a few suggestions that would further advance Arizona High School football. If I were King for a day, I would allow athletes to practice in shoulder pads and helmets during spring football practice. One issue all coaches face is inadequate time to train our athletes on proper blocking and tackling technique. Offensive players would then be able to train on our sleds to teach proper blocking technique, posture, hand placement, and head positioning. We would also be able to train half speed blocking drills to teach proper technique within our offensive system.
Defensive players would benefit greatly from more field time with pads to teach form tackling. Head placement, shoulder placement, and alternative tackling methods must be practiced with pads! Half speed tackling drills will allow players to repeat these techniques to reduce injury and improve our game.
NFL and college programs reportedly have reduced head trauma with fundamental training for blocking technique. These organizations are allowed more offseason padded practices, which reduces injuries. Also programs such as heads up football and Seattle Seahawks rugby style tackling have documented successes on injury prevention. Coaches and athletes alike need repetitions to perfect their craft.
Realizing injuries are part of athletics; I feel that more padded spring practices will reduce the number of injuries in Arizona High School football. My goal is to create a more skilled player and one that is better equipped to safely block and tackle.”
Head Football Coach