The British Passing Academy
The British Passing Academy
On April 14th I had the opportunity to visit the inaugural event of the British Passing Academy at the Sheffield Hallam University sports facility. The brainchild of well-respected British coach Tom Kharchi, it was an innovative addition to the Britball calendar, and proved to be a great success. In Football, a pass is not much use of course, if there is no-one to catch it! Therefore, the delegates were quarterbacks and receivers in equal measure. The day started with a presentation from Kharchi where he explained what had driven him to set up the Academy, his passion for the game and particularly the passing element shone through as part of an overall strategy to “Grow the Game”. He detailed the structure for the day, which would be a combination of field and classroom sessions, working through fundamental techniques, and on to more advanced theory. There to support him in the delivery were a number of coaches. Headline guest coach for the day was American Zach Shaw, a quarterback and offensive co-ordinator with extensive experience in the States and Europe. Well known for his time with the Potsdam Royals in the German League, he is currently based in Switzerland with the Winterthur Warriors. Leading the receivers group were GB and Merseyside Nighthawks wideout Harry Routledge, along with Sheffield Giants Matt Wade.
The participants themselves were a diverse bunch, ranging from juniors to seasoned veterans of the game, the thing they all had in common was enthusiasm and a willingness and desire to learn and upskill themselves. Kharchi had deliberately limited the number of attendees to ensure that everyone received detailed individual tutelage and derived value from the day. As I observed the day unfolding, it struck me that events like this have been long overdue in Britain. It was refreshing to see everyone supporting and encouraging each other to learn, and develop their skills. This event wasn’t just for elite level athletes, it embraced players at all stages of their Football Journeys. It won’t be just a one-day “visit” to the academy either, once a member, Kharchi advised that they would receive ongoing support.
I spoke to Coach Shaw to get his thoughts. “The first BPA camp was an awesome experience, for both coaches and players. The content and coaches, Coach Kharchi was able to put together was top notch. It was an honour to coach such dedicated players. The QB's and WR's who came to the camp showed great focus and work ethic. If they continue with that commitment there's no doubt QB play in the U.K. will be top notch. I look forward to see what the BPA has in store for the future”.
The Academies next event will be held at the University of Derby on June 16th. Headline guest for this one will be NFL quarterback coach Adam Behrends of the well-respected IMG Academy based in Florida. He has worked with some of the top players including Cam Newton, Drew Brees and Russell Wilson. If you are an aspiring quarterback or receiver and are serious about being the best baller you can be, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to be in on some elite level coaching and support. The” vision” is to have several events a year to maintain the momentum and quality. I feel that initiatives like this are very positive and everyone should get behind them, Kharchi and his team should be applauded for having the foresight to set up the BPA, and long may it continue. Kharchi reflected after the first event “I was really happy with how the day went. We got some great feedback and the attendees were constantly engaged, asking questions and having fun throughout. It’s been a great start for the BPA and I am really working hard to make this a long term venture. With many future events in the pipeline and planning to make them the best they can be to help grow the game. The next camp is with an amazing coach from Florida, Coach Adam Behrends. He has coached all levels of the game, from NFL down to High School kids. It’s going to be an amazing event and a great opportunity for anyone that wants to get better”.