Games we play: IFL offseason kicks into full gear

In addition to ongoing training sessions for players throughout the summer months, referee clinics to help improve quality of officiating, coaches' camps underway.

tackle football 88 (photo credit: )
tackle football 88
(photo credit: )
While the football season is still months away, the Kraft Family Israel Football League is as busy as ever with its variety of offseason activities aimed at furthering the continued development of tackle football in Israel. In addition to ongoing training sessions for players - both rookie and veteran - throughout the summer months, and referee clinics to help improve the quality of officiating, coaches' camps are the latest initiative being undertaken by the third-year league to help prepare for its planned expansion this upcoming season. "The best way to shape the growth of football in Israel, at both the youth and adult levels, is to provide coaches with resources to become quality instructors and mentors," said IFL Commissioner Ben Friedman. "We're doing that in an exciting way with our coaching camps and future online coaching courses. In the end of the day, this ensures that even more players will benefit from proper football instruction." The coaches' camps - which were run in Jerusalem's Kraft Family Stadium over a one-week period - were led by Dr. Coach Eric Cohu, a professor of Sports Management at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and recently named new Head Football Coach at Madison Academy in Huntsville, Alabama. Coach Cohu led a contingent of football coaches from the United States and Israel who are committed to the growth of football world-wide. They worked individually with all of the attendees, teaching them not only technical football strategy, but also fundamental principles in coaching technique. "Our goal is to educate participants on techniques required to teach the fundamentals of every position, organize a season with practice planning and give the necessary instruction for better offensive, defensive and special teams schemes," explained Coach Cohu. "Tackle football is a very technical sport, on some levels, and good coaching is imperative in the process of developing skills the right way. I am thrilled to be back in Israel taking a lead role in this passionate endeavor." Being a football coach is a tremendous responsibility, one that requires and demands supreme dedication and patience. The participants in the camp certainly benefited from the valuable lessons taught by people who have been coaching the sport at a high level for much of the professional lives. "What I really liked about it was how the information was separated into different sections," one coach said. "We learned running back drills, lineman drills and focused on individual positions versus the overall picture. We were all looking for fresh new drills to run with our players. At the camp, I found I could use those things to make our organization better." As well as progressive classroom and on-the-field football instruction from top high school and college coaches, IFL coaches were taught the best communication practices toward players, opponents, and officials to ensure positive experiences for all involved with the game. "Coach Cohu has assembled a staff with a wealth of football knowledge and years of experience working with both seasoned and novice players," said Friedman. "If this sport is to succeed here, ultimately we have to build our own system of well-trained coaches to develop a self-sustaining program and pass the game on to the next generation of Israeli football players." For additional information on the IFL, please visit to the league's Web site at