New Orleans Saints special teams coordinator Greg McMahon took a day out of his time to host a clinic that tutored high school coaches exclusively on the fundamentals and the strategies of the kicking game at the team’s Metairie practice facility on Friday, June 10.
Over 50 high school coaches from all parts of the state of Louisiana gathered in the Saints team meeting room for seven hours as McMahon and Tulane University special teams coordinator John Hendrick imparted their wisdom and experience in several aspects of the kicking game.
“I have a lot of respect for what these coaches do for young people,” said McMahon. “Anytime you have a chance to get into a setup where you can share ideas is great. We’re constantly learning from them and we hope they get something from us.”
The day began with McMahon discussing the agenda for the day with the coaches and with Saints Owner Tom Benson thanking the coaches for attending the clinic and emphasizing how the organization knows their importance to the development of the sport.
Before the discussion got into X’s and O’s, the coaches received an hour-and-a-half seminar from head athletic trainer, Scottie Patton, team internist Dr. John Amoss and club medical consultant Dr. Frank Culicchia on pertinent medical topics affecting football.
Patton, the in charge of the club’s training department since 2000, discussed the importance of the topics of dealing with concussions and proper hydration. He outlined the importance of the proposed Louisiana Youth Concussions Act that has been supported by the Saints, the NFL and the Louisiana High School Athletic Association and is currently going through the legislative process.
The bill would educated as well as provide guidelines for the removal of youth athletes from sporting events following a concussion as well as address the medical and evaluation requirements that must be met before returning to the field. Patton emphasized that at the high school level, coaches are the first line of defense in aiding players with potential concussion and heat-related issues.
Amoss then spoke in depth with the coaches about these issues. He explained that the symptoms from both concussions and heat-related issues can be similar. The best course of action is to often get the players off the field and get them to a medical facility. He also discussed the process to follow with student-athletes before letting them return to the field.
The subject then quickly moved to the field as McMahon took to the podium. He thanked the coaches for his attendance and explained to them that part of the reason he did this was in honor of Dick Hood, his high school football coach as a senior at Rantoul (Ill.) High School. Entering his sixth year with the Saints, fourth in charge of the special teams units, he then spoke for an hour and a half on the kickoff return game, discussing some of the schemes and techniques that he uses with his players, as well as showing them through game film from the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Hendrick then showed the coaches several of the punt and kickoff schemes and routines that he uses with his Green Wave players. Following a half hour break for lunch, McMahon then showed the coaches for an hour and a half, different drills that he uses with Saints players for all facets of the kicking game.
“This is just a great way to give back,” said McMahon “I love being around coaches. I love learning football. I get a chance to see high school football teams all over the country and I get fired up. I love to give something back and improve the game where I can.”
The clinic was organized through the Saints’ Youth Programs Department, which conducts numerous camps, clinics and programs designed to assist youth throughout the year as well as working with their coaches in helping them with techniques, drills and best practices.