Hard-hitting training for American footballers

American Football players at Exmouth Community College have completed a boot camp in full-contact play.

Until now the Raptors’ programme has concentrated on non-contact flag football, but London Warriors’ coach Gerry Anderson has now given some of the players a five-week grounding in the art of full-contact tackling.

Teacher and Raptors’ coach Rob Rooksby says this is an important step for the Raptors, who are leading the country in American Football at schools, as they have proved the sport can be learned safely. He said: “The pads aren’t foam – they’re hard plastic and metal and that’s what you’re hitting with.

“We’ve demonstrated if you train properly and get the right advice you can do it safely.

“We’ve been following a tackling scheme specifically for youth players to reduce injuries, and going very slowly.

“Some of these players have been frustrated, but safety has been the priority.”

The rest of the college’s programme is also progressing well, and there are hopes of joining a national competition next year.