VINCENNES, Ind. (WTHI) – In an effort to create consistency between grade levels, a group of football enthusiasts plan to launch the Vincennes Football Association this fall. The Association, which has already signed up nearly 60 Knox County youth, will act as a training platform for young aspiring players wishing to compete at the high school level. According to program organizers, the VFA will also place a strong emphasis on player heath including, concussions, proper tackling skills, hydration, and strength training.
The new program will also enable players to stay connected as a team as they move up from grade to grade. VFA administrators say the more the league keeps kids interested, the more likely the kids will continue to play, which in turn, will give Lincoln coaches an opportunity to have bigger player selection pools.
“Numbers in any sport is key, the more kids you have starting out a younger age, the more kids you’re going to have,” said Jon Heiden, Vincennes Lincoln Football Coach. Heiden who serves the Vincennes Football Association as a non-voting board member, was instrumental in the league’s creation. Heiden stated fellow football enthusiasts started talks about the league in late 2013.
The new league plans to take a ‘heads up’ approach, as its coined, to teach young athletes to tackle. Heads Up Football, is USA Football’s Initiative to help make the sport of football better and safer, according to its website. The focus of high school and collegiate sports has shifted greatly, following clinical studies showing the dangers to the brain, resulting from football head trauma. Heads Up aims to cut down on those injuries by teaching tackling techniques.
“It’s a lot of tackling, and concussions, it’s not just that, it’s how to deal with the heat, hydration,” said Heiden.
The new league will also serve as a ‘feeder’ program. Its intent is to keep young athletes involved in the game with the same coaching staff up to high school. Administrators explained this will cut down on training the athletes undergo and boost game communication skills and improve game jargon.
“That’s what we’re trying do with football, form our own group, and that’s what we focus on football,” said Heiden “Give kids in Vincennes an opportunity to play football with good coaches and have a lot of fun doing it.”
The league says its committed to allowing athletes of all financial classes the ability to play football and just received a grant for all new equipment.
To learn more, or sign up a student athlete: click here.