Blog

How Jay shouldered his way to a whole new sporting career

When Josh Clarke (also known as Jay) suffered a serious shoulder injury seven years ago, the furthest thing from his mind was how he could forge his way into a new sport. But randomly that is exactly what did happen. He was told he could not train or play rugby after a dislocated shoulder and separated AC joint, but before he knew it he was on the path of American Football. continue reading…

Locker Room Chat

Fresh from becoming the fourth ranked team in the World, and the highest ranked outside of North America, GB Women’s captain Phoebe Schecter gives us a fun insight to some of the inside track on the team! continue reading…

When a great tornado burst into Kansas –Oli’s life across sport

While the women’s game may still be in its infancy in the UK, you’d be wrong to think the passion and skill of those involved is small too.

Many people we’ve profiled on the page have almost found the game by accident and this would be the case of our latest blog profile, Oli Davies.

Oli has been in contact sport for a long time, with a huge background in rugby, but spotting a Facebook post about development days has brought her a whole new sport, experience and opportunities. continue reading…

Where desire to play is more important than ability

Ever been in that situation where you’ve seen a tournament but find you haven’t got enough teammates to enter?

If you have, then you may also have come across the Black Widows. No not a group of mourning women but a scratch flag team that is made up of players who want to play but can’t put a team together.

Created by Andrew Gambrill, the GB Women’s Flag Coach, the team came about organically as a number of players approached him ahead of a BAFA women’s flag tournament with exactly that problem. He quickly solved it and the Widows were born. continue reading…

How Naomi jumped to strengthen and support the GB women’s sides

Those familiar with the women’s game in this country will know that it’s a big year for both the padded and flag programs with World and European championships respectively.
While the players will be going through their paces looking for selection, one person who will be helping them along the way and making sure they’re in the best physical condition possible will be their team therapist, Naomi Maycock.

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How Ellie danced her way to a different ball

As any of our regular blog readers will know there are many ways our profiled sports stars have made their way into the game.

 

We all know the importance of good people both on the field and on the sidelines and this latest blog we look at the sports therapist, the person who picks you up, patches you back together and helps you make the most of your time playing!

 

A strong background in ballet (grade 8 with distinction no less) gives Ellie Travis a lot of strength and poise but at university she also got involved in rowing and kayaking combined with a degree in Sports Therapy and a masters in Strength and Conditioning. And then other opportunities came about. continue reading…

Living the football dream – life at the Pro Bowl

In the week leading up to the Super Bowl attention switches to the Pro Bowl and a celebration of football with the all-star teams of the AFC and NFC.

 

While much attention is rightly focused on the stars of the NFL game, what many people may not be aware that there is a lot more going on during the week with players coming to compete from all corners of the world.

 

GB Women’s Captain Phoebe Schecter and GB team mate Oli Davies were the only two British representatives at this year’s Pro Bowl although even how close they got to the action was a little more than even Phoebe expected. We caught up with her on her return to get the inside track on their wonderful week.

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‘Houston we have landed’

Or more to the point the worlds media have descended in Texas as we build up to Super Bowl LI. And that’s certainly a phrase that’s been heard around the media circles this week.

Our Managing Director Gur Samuel is out in Houston reporting on the Super Bowl for Real Sport 101. We caught up with him in the frenzy of media week to get the inside story.

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Super Bowl Sunday – All you need to know

We realise that a lot of our followers are big American Football fans, but every day as we coach flag football and bring more people into the game we realise that for many, the Super Bowl offers them their first experience of our great sport.

With the UK boasting the biggest viewing figures for the Super Bowl outside of the US and Canada, we thought for new people coming in to the game that a few facts may be of use – especially if you need to explain why you’re so bleary eyed on Monday morning! continue reading…

What does it take to be a record breaker?

As the NFL celebrated the continued success of the Patriots Tom Brady at the weekend with him becoming the record winning quarterback of all time, we ask the question – what does it take to be a record breaker?

Well I guess you’ve got to be good at your chosen sport. I mean that’s probably a given, but what else?

Determined and committed? Well yes, you can’t break records without putting in a ton of work, effort in the gym, on the track, on the field. Time and time again.

But is there also an element of luck? continue reading…

University opens eyes to new sporting opportunities

When you head off to university there is a world of opportunity awaiting you. For many there is the chance of living on your own, having to do all your own cooking and washing and of course juggling a new social life.

 

For Charlotte Laidler, like many other people we’ve spoken to in our blog pieces they’ve also found another new opportunity through sport. Despite having been a sporty teenager playing soccer, netball, rounders and athletics at school, going to university opened up her eyes to a whole new game.

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Flying with Flag – how the Women’s game is building momentum

Andrew Gambrill may have only been coach of the GB Women’s Flag programme since last year but already he has seen huge growth in the game and has high expectations for the team. Has the interest in the game taken him by surprise?

“I always thought it would do well, given the chance, but even I’m surprised in the way the number of players and teams has grown and the level it has reached. We’re in the fourth year of Opal series and had growth in teams and player numbers every year. We have 19 teams this year and around 300 players.” continue reading…

From field hospitals to the football field

When most people think of the 1970 film M.A.S.H they recall the highs and lows of working in an American field hospital during the Korean war, but for Riki Samuel, Chairman of AFD Limited, it offered another insight into a world he had never seen before.

“During the film the doctors started playing this game, the like of which I had never seen before and I was fascinated by it. Not just because it was new but because it was being played by guys of all shapes and sizes and everyone had their job. The contact and aggression was also appealing, and although I couldn’t understand the stop/start elements, I admit something clicked with me.” continue reading…

The American Football Giant which certainly isn’t sleeping

October 28th 2007. For many American Football fans based in the UK that day will go down in history as the first time the NFL played a regular season game outside of America.

 

On that day the Miami Dolphins hosted the New York Giants, with the Giants taking the game 13-10. Now, nine years later, they’re back and are ready to go into battle again, this time at Twickenham.

 

For Giants fan Keith Burton this will be an occasion he’s been waiting, almost his whole life for, a chance to see his team play live, and less than 50 miles than where he lives. And it’s fair to say, he can’t wait for that day to come.

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From frustrations in front of the TV to finessing on the football field

We’ve all been there, the armchair professionals, yelling comments at the TV, hoping that in some small way, our comments would resonate with the players and they would change what they were doing and ‘do it our way’.

For Susannah Taylor it wasn’t so much the players she was focused on but the officials and making playing “make the call” whenever the ref goes under the hood anticipating which way the review will go. And it made her think, that maybe she could use these skills elsewhere. continue reading…

NFL International Series – a rookie’s starter guide

For many people, the annual International series is their introduction to the great game of American Football. For others it’s one of the key dates in the calendar (Super Bowl aside!) as we get some of the greats of the game playing in our country!

But for those who fall into the former camp, there’s a lot to wade through before you get into the game. You might have worked out the rules, but what do you really know about the upcoming games, and how do you ensure you can look as informed as the next football fan?

Well we teamed up with Chicago Bears fan (who are not playing in this International Series so feel there is definite impartiality!) Claire Ball to get her view on the games in London this series and also asked some other NFL questions for you to use at the water cooler after the weekends game! continue reading…

American Football gets a real lions roar!

The GB Women’s programme continues to go from strength to strength and last weekend once again proved they are a force to be reckoned with when they obliterated Spain by 33 points to 0 at Sixways Stadium.

 

Earlier in the year we profiled Phoebe Schecter, a member of the GB side for a number of years but is now captain of the Lions. We caught up with her after the match to talk about the game and what she’s been up to since we last spoke.

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Flying the flag to a new dawn in football

Finding your way into a new sport is often so much about opportunities and that very much seems the case for Abi Snelson. Two years ago, local coach Peter Evans came to her school to teach newcomers how to play, and she hasn’t stopped since.

 

“That lesson was probably one of the best ones I’ve ever had in school. I instantly fell in love with the game and from there I started to go to regular training sessions.”

 

Now aged, 16 Abi is still playing the sport and still loving the progression she is seeing herself and her teammates make. But think there could be many more players who would love to play. They just don’t know where or how. continue reading…

A bear hug from hospital brought Claire into the game

We all have very different stories on how we came into finding ourselves part of the wonderful game of American Football.

For Claire Ball, or much better known in the community of Claire da Bear, the discovery of American Football came in a way that you could almost consider ‘wrong place, right time’.

 

Back in January 1986, a desperate night saw Claire’s mum rushed into hospital. No one was able to sit with young Claire so she went to hospital alongside her parents. In a tiny corner of the waiting room a TV set was tuned to Channel 4 which was showing Super Bowl XX live. Young Claire was instantly fixed.

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Turning your hand to American Football?

If you’re playing elite level sport there will be people who will assume that you must have been playing all your life, that you could only reach that skill level after many, many years of participation.

Many years of physical graft maybe, but not necessarily in that particular sport.

For instance Rebecca Romero had reached the pinnacle of her sport. She was a rower and competed in the womens four at the Athens Olympics in 2004. She won a silver medal alongside her teammates but it wasn’t quite enough. She felt she could do more. continue reading…

From water cooler to winning ways

Who hasn’t started the working week with a bit of a chat about how our weekends went, what we watched on TV and sports results.

What you don’t always get is the conversation around sport turning into a whole new game for you to play!

But that’s what happened to Charyle Mercer when a colleague started talking about the American Football team that she played for in the staff room at work. Unbeknown to Charyle the sport her colleague played, she requested her to step into her office… and asked her to go back over everything she had just said, just to see how she could get involved to! continue reading…

That little edge to give you the extra inch

As an old sporting adage goes – the harder I train, the luckier I get.

It’s true, no man or woman can reach their sporting goals without hours, days, months, years spent in the gym, on the field, in the pool, but watching the Rio Olympics at the moment it’s telling what even the best people do to make themselves the ultimate champion. continue reading…

Football focus where other games failed

Like many young women, Louise Moran played a number of games at school, did her PE lessons but never joined any teams.

She left school and stayed away from sport for about five years, getting herself back into fitness through going to the gym and taking exercise classes.

So naturally she’s now an American Football player. Yes, that’s right, an American Football player.

Ok that might not be how everybody finds their sport, their natural journey but that was how Louise got involved. And it was quite by chance. continue reading…

Have you ever thrown a whale?

On the face of it, that might seem a pretty sizeable task, but if you were a darts player you may have thrown a whale but it wouldn’t be something to shout out about.

Throwing a whale means you’ve scored three or less in darts which is pretty hard to achieve with three darts!

Phil Taylor, unlikely to have thrown a whale

Phil Taylor, unlikely to have thrown a whale

But did you know how many animal terms there are in sport? A surprising amount, and something that while sports may be very different indeed, has some unifying factors!

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Name the AFD baby (ball)

Earlier this year we launched our exclusive range of Baden/AFD balls which are proving popular with players around the country. From the Pee Wee for our primary school players, to the youth for those aged 11 and above and the ever popular Official sized balls, these balls are the great start to getting into American Football.

 

But now we’re expecting a new ball to the family and we want your help in naming it! Pictured below is AFD’s smallest ball from Baden, perfect for those little hands who want to make great strides and toddlers their very first ball. continue reading…

It isn’t over until it’s over

Overnight the news has come in from the US about the NBA finals. The Cleveland Cavaliers have beaten the Golden State Warriors by four game to three, winning the decider 93 – 89.

But Golden State were surely going to take this year’s NBA title right? I mean, they became the best team in regular season history, winning 73 games, more than Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls did in 1995-96. And in Steph Curry they have one of the most incredible guards to play the game. Oh and they were 3-1 up in the series.

But sport doesn’t hand out titles just because you had a great season. Sport doesn’t say, you’ve got this as you’ve worked the hardest. Sport tells you, you never give up.

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Never too late to take up football

As many of us already in the game of American Football know, there is a great and growing interest in the sport. While the men’s game has been around in the UK for about 30 years, the women’s game is still relatively in its infancy, which provides huge opportunities to get involved.

 

But how? And where? Well if you’re anything like Sarah Jauncey, you get out there and look for any opportunity you can, and who knows how far your path can go. continue reading…

Channelling that underdog spirit to become champions

Much of the talk in the UK around soccer is how did Leicester win the Premiership? A team who narrowly avoided relegation the year before, with a cut price team in comparison to some of their big name rivals, against the odds took home the league title.

Luck? Well in every sports success there are going to be a few twists and turns that could be afforded to luck. Certainly if your nearest title rivals implode in the dying weeks that’s certainly fortunate, but there is also a lot to be said for training techniques, ensuring proper periods of rest (Leicester came out of cup competition early so only had the league to concentrate on) and worked to make the team a really cohesive unit.

Being a really cohesive unit is as strong a component as the skilful attributes of the players. This certainly seemed to be the view of Sir Clive Woodward, who guided the England rugby union team to its only World Cup victory in 2003. When he took over the team six years earlier he put in a lot of systems in place such as no rude language when on camp, being early for team meetings etc but it was also the fundamental beliefs that he had.

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