London Blitz B vs. Ipswich Cardinals Match Report

The London Blitz B came from behind to beat the Ipswich Cardinals in a must-win game last weekend. 
 

The Blitz B had come off a three-game losing streak, and needed a win in order to get their season back on track. The Ipswich Cardinals were equally desperate to come out on top, having failed to secure a win in the 2016 season.

The game got off to a terrible start for the Blitz B - the Cardinals ran a starburst kick return on kick-off and, on a much wider than usual field, returned it for 6. The width of the field worked in both offence's favour - both sides trading blows until half time, at which point the Cardinals led 20 - 13.

At half time, DC Matt Osborne installed a new audible to counter the Cardinals’ key run play; a Tight End with Trips Bunch on the weak side.  The audible proved successful, and while the Cardinals struggled for yards, the Blitz B scored three times to lead 32 - 20. Blitz running backs Kaylind Grant (pictured below) and Francis Stewart both put in solid performances, and QB Chris Walker kept several drives alive by scrambling for first down. The Cardinals managed to pull one back late in the game to bring the score to 32 - 27, setting up a tense final 2 minutes.

The Cardinals attempted an on-side kick, but it was recovered well by the Blitz, who then needed a first down to kneel out the game. However, they couldn’t manage it and were forced to punt. Just when it seemed like the Cardinals might have one last throw of the dice, Long-Snapper and DL recovered the Blitz punt, and the referee blew the final whistle.

The London Blitz B are now 2 - 3 for the season, and face their unbeaten rivals, the London Hornets away on 19th June.

London Blitz B bested by Wembley Stallions

Last Sunday, the London Blitz B travelled up to Wembley for their second away fixture of the campaign, looking to even up their season against the unbeaten Wembley Stallions.

The game started well - Blitz DB Steve Yeaman intercepted an misjudged pass from the Stallions QB and returned it for 6. With the extra point converted, the first in Blitz B history, the Blitz led 7-0.

For the majority of the game, the Blitz defended well, setting the edge against the run and keeping the Stallions on their toes. 

However, with a couple of key players missing on the Blitz D, the run-focused Stallions offence seized every opportunity to ‘stampede’ downfield, and the Blitz D struggled to contain their well-executed counters. 

The Stallions responded quickly to bring the score level, and followed up with another TD to bring the score to 13-7 at the half.

The Blitz did manage to draw level just after the break, but again the Stallions answered almost immediately, and despite a second interception, this time for Blitz DB Nadir Hedioued (pictured above), the Stallions’ momentum carried them for the rest of the game.

The final score: 33 - 15 to the hosts. 

London Blitz vs. South Wales Warriors Match Report

On the hottest day of the year so far, last Sunday the London Blitz defeated the visiting South Wales Warriors in their third match of the regular season.

After a slow couple of drives, QB Josh Adamson opened up the score running the ball in for a touchdown, followed by RB Matt Barrington getting a rushing touchdown of his own.

The defence stepped up in the first half, keeping South Wales off the scoreboard, and Raphael Osei's interception didn't make South Wales' four hour road trip any easier. The teams went into the half with the Blitz leading 13-0.

The second half was much of the same on both sides of the ball. Matthew Eva gathered in an interception of his own, with Finnish native Ari Halldorsson and Luke Whitney picking up a pair of fumbles to give the offence great field position in the 2nd half.

Temi Oduyemi wasn't to be left out of the rushing touchdown list, as he put 6 points on the board for the Blitz. The following drive saw QB Timothée Liechti throw his first of two touchdowns to team captain Charlie Joseph.

The South Wales Warriors did manage to get on the scoreboard with a consolation touchdown throw from their QB Sam Huxtable.

It wasn't until the last play of the game where Blitz QB Liechti threw his 2nd touchdown to rookie Kyle Jervier for the WR's first Blitz touchdown as time expired.

The final score was 33-6 to the undefeated London Blitz. The Blitz have a bye week this weekend to prepare for the city rivals London Warriors on Sunday the 22nd of May.

Bristol Aztecs vs. London Blitz Match Report

After a rocky start, the Blitz come from behind to beat Bristol 39-19

After a comfortable win against the Farnham Knights, the London Blitz traveled west to Bristol to take on the Aztecs. The bus ride over didn’t seem to do the players much good, and Bristol took full advantage of an uninspiring Blitz start to put the first 7 points on the board. The Blitz answered just before half time with a much needed score, but failed to convert the extra point, and headed into halftime trailing 6-7.

It took until the 3rd quarter before both the Blitz offence and the defence found their rhythm. But when they did, they showed why they are once again title contenders. Deji Alli and Temi Oduyemi led the way with some impressive and powerful running on both sides of the tackle, with the running backs finding the end zone multiple times. The Atzecs were not ready for the sudden change of pace, and soon the score climbed to 26-7.

The game was finally put away when the defence stepped up. Rodon Zeqiri deserves special mention for almost single-handedly stopping multiple Bristol drives. The Aztecs attempted some trickery with a fake punt to get themselves back in the game, but it was covered well, with Stefan Gonzalez making the tackle to secure a turnover on downs. However, Bristol did not give up, and kept throwing the ball around the field, which had proved fruitful throughout the day. They managed to find end zone twice late in the 4th quarter; the final score standing at 39-19.

It was not the best game of Blitz football and the players will be poised to do better next Sunday on the 8th of May, home against South Wales Warriors.

Report by Jasper Van Dooren

London Blitz B vs. London Hornets Match Report

Blitz B forfeit their match against London Hornets

Blitz B players and coaching staff were left bitterly disappointed as a lack of pitch-markings at their temporary home ground meant that the referees could not sanction the match against the visiting London Hornets. Blitz B were left with no option but to forfeit the match.

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The forfeit drops Blitz B to below .500 for the season, and renders them ineligible for post-season play.

The anti-climax of the forfeit brought an abrupt end to what was building up to be a big gameday for Blitz B. Having narrowly lost to the Cambridgeshire Cats in their previous match, the game against the Hornets represented the perfect opportunity for Blitz B to get its season back on track. The table-topping Hornets would have been the biggest test of the season so far for Blitz B, and the team came into the day hoping to put previous on-field mental errors behind them. 

Blitz B now face a 14 day wait until they travel to Wembley to face the Stallions on 15 May – a game which has become particularly significant as Blitz B look to bounce back from back-to-back losses. The Stallions will be unsympathetic hosts - anything less than great effort and execution could result in a stampede.

Report by Nii Anteson

Cambridgeshire Cats vs. London Blitz B Match Report

London Blitz B lost in heart-breaking fashion on Sunday – falling to a narrow 7-6 defeat away at Cambridgeshire Cats

In truth, the Blitz dominated both possession and field position and will be wondering how they managed to lose the game.

The game kicked off in blustery and cold conditions with the Cats receiving the ball first. A long run took the ball into the Blitz redzone, but after that the Cats could not move the ball any further. The ensuing Field Goal attempt sailed wide right, keeping the score at 0-0.

The first quarter was dominated by both defences, with both teams struggling to get their run game going. The Cats power run game was dealt with impressively by the Blitz defence, whilst the Cats D line was dominant in the first quarter, getting into the backfield with regularity and stuffing the Blitz running backs in the backfield.

The Blitz began to get their passing game going late in the quarter with Andy Tierney and Yaw Ow-Ny making good grabs down the touchline, but the Blitz were unable to get into scoring position and the quarter ended 0-0.

The second quarter began brighter for the visitors, with Francis Stewart ripping off a 30 yard run. This was followed a few plays later by a pass from QB Chris Walker to Phil Robinson along the right sideline which he took into the endzone for the first score of the day. A high snap meant that the Blitz were unable to add the extra point, which would come back to haunt them.

For the rest of the quarter, the Blitz were dominant – winning the battle of field position as the game was played almost exclusively in the Cats half. The Blitz defence was smothering and the complete shut down of the Cats running game combined with key drops by Cambridge receivers, led to multiple 3-and-outs.

The Blitz could not convert their field position into points however, and a lack of awareness of the time left on the clock led to the Blitz stranded at the Cats one yard line when the referee blew half time. A frustrating end to the half, to come away with no points after the Blitz drove the ball well into scoring position.

The second half began in the same fashion as both defences dominated the line of scrimmage. The Cats D line appeared re-invigorated after the break and Blitz QB Chris Walker had to scramble out of the pocket often to find time to get his throws off as the D line broke into the backfield at regular intervals.

The Blitz defence continued to hold their own and stifle the Cats offence, but after numerous exchanges of punts, the Cats began a drive in Blitz territory after a turnover early in the 4th quarter and managed to drive down inside the Blitz 15. The defence was fooled by a QB read option and the QB ran into the end zone untouched to tie the game. A successful extra point meant that the Cats took the lead.

After a quarter and a half of spluttering offences on both sides, the Blitz took the field knowing that they had to score again to win the game, and they finally began to move the ball.

Unfortunately, a costly personal foul penalty and a fumble ended 2 consecutive promising drives at the half way line, just as the Blitz were beginning to get some momentum going.  Cambridge was then able to run the clock down to 42 secs before giving the ball back to the Blitz on the 25 yard line.

Driving 75 yards with two time outs and only 42 seconds left was always going to be tough, but Chris Walker got his passing offence going - completing 4 straight passes to bring the Blitz inside the Cambridge 30 yard line with no time outs and less than 10 seconds remaining.

On the last play however, Andrew Tierney made a catch over the middle and was tackled in bounds at the 15 yard line and time expired.

A tough loss to take for the Blitz after dominating time of possession and having the defence play so well for the majority of the game. However, mental errors and a lack of discipline at key points ultimately cost them the game. Credit must go to the Cats defence for keeping their side in the game during the first 3 quarters, whilst also keeping their composure far better at key times in the 4th quarter.

Next up the Blitz B host local rivals the London Hornets in what promises to be one of the best and most interesting fixtures of the season. The teams split the series 1-1 last year, with both teams winning on the road. However, the Hornets are coming off a 2-win streak, after beating Essex 48 - 9, so this could easily go either way.

Match report by Ben Scarisbrick
Photo (c) Cambridgeshire Cats

Blitz A vs. Farnham Knights Match Report

London Blitz off to a flying start

On Sunday, the London Blitz put their heartbreaking Britbowl defeat behind them with a comfortable win over the Farnham Knights to begin the 2016 season.

The Knights came to North London with something to prove, having recently returned to the top tier of British American Football, with a win over the Solent Thrashers securing a promotion at the end of last season. However, the hard work that the Blitz had put in during the pre-season paid off, and it didn’t take long for the team to build a solid lead.

Two touchdowns apiece for wide receiver Sam Rogers (pictured below) and running back Glen Toonga, as well as one for running back Deji Alli saw the score climb to 35 – 0 at half time. Coach Duncan Burford’s defense stood solid, and made it impossible for Farnham to claw themselves back into the game.

The second half was much closer, with successive drives from both sides finishing in either punts or turnovers. Finally, Blitz quarterback Josh Adamson threw a flawless pass to Sam Rogers in the end zone to give the wide receiver his third touchdown of the afternoon. The Blitz converted the extra point, bringing the score to 42 – 0.

After what looked like a certain shut-out, Farnham managed to punch in a consolation touchdown on the final play of the game. The referee blew the final whistle and the match finished 42 – 6. 

Despite the changes that took place during the offseason, both in terms of personnel and their relocation away from their home ground in Finsbury Park due to refurbishment, the London Blitz look set for another promising season. Their next fixture is an away game on May 1st against the Bristol Aztecs, who beat the London Olympians 30 – 8 in their opener.

#TPBF

Images ©phil3productions

Blitz B vs. Essex Spartans Match Report

To Mill Hill Rugby Club’s home field for the Blitz B team’s season opener.

The Blitz’s temporary home may have been unfamiliar to players used to Finsbury Park. However, anyone searching for inspiration need not have looked far as the field and clubhouse are set just off Champions Way, and on a clear day (as it was on Sunday) Allianz Stadium (the home of Saracens Rugby Club) can be spied through the treetops.

This setting was the stage for what proved to be a dramatic game between the Blitz and the Essex Spartans.

The Blitz won the toss and chose to defer. The Blitz’s apparent faith in its defence was not misplaced with it pitching a shout-out in the first half. Its front seven deserve particular praise for remaining stout against the Spartans’ power running game. 

Meanwhile, the Blitz’s mercurial offence showed flashes of what it is capable of on two scoring drives, both finishing in precise throws from QB Chris Walker to wide-receiver Andrew Tierney. However, at the half the Blitz’s lead was a not insurmountable 12 - 0 owing to a string of offensive miscues including interceptions and penalties that negated big plays.

The Blitz coaches warned against complacency, foretelling a surge from the Spartans in the second half which came to pass. First, the Spartans intercepted an ill-timed pass and took it to the house. Then, having marched down to the red-zone, the Spartans scored on a well-executed toss. Successful extra point attempts on both TD's put the Spartans up 14 - 12.

With seconds remaining on the clock, Blitz B Head Coach Anthony Coverdale made the gutsy call to go for a TD rather than pinning the team's hopes on its first ever field goal. After receiving the snap in the shotgun, QB Chris Walker pumped once and found running back Rayann Tohr in the middle of the field who was then dragged backward into the end-zone by his team-mates. This time, at the most crucial point in the match, the delirium on the Blitz side-line was not cut short by the sight of a yellow flag on the field.

However, celebrations will be brief as attentions now turn to Sunday's away fixture against the Cambridgeshire Cats, who lie in wait and will look to pounce on the smallest mistake...

#TPBF

Match report by Nii Anteson
Header image ©phil3productions

Contact Sports and Recovery

This article was written by London Blitz, Hertfordshire Hurricanes, and GB Lions strength and conditioning coach Fab Gargiulo, and re-blogged with permission from fitfab21.com

Contact sports hurt! FACT!

Games like Rugby, American football, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse and Football are all full of contact. Whether it's tackling, blocking, scrumming or just 1-on-1 defender vs attacker, your body undergoes a significant amount of muscle damage during a game. This not only hurts the following few days after but it is important that you help yourself to recover in order to minimise longer term or chronic injuries that can keep you out of the game and even restrict your everyday life.

Muscle damage is caused when the muscle cells are torn apart or broken as a result of contact. These cells effectively 'bleed' a range of substances such as creatine kinase, nitrogen and urea which can all contribute to those sore legs on a Monday morning. These substances are known as inflammatory or muscle damage markers which typically peak 24-72 hours after strenuous exercise.

So how do you help yourself recover?

Rest or move?
Both active rest and sleep are 2 major factors to helping you feel better quicker!
Active rest should have the aim of increasing blood flow and respiratory rate in order to get more freshly oxygenated blood to the muscles - great ways of doing this include; 
20 minute light swim - a non-impact way of getting the blood pumping
20 minute cycle - low impact, lower body focused, aim to gently raise heart rate to around 50%max
20 minute light jog or dog walk! - get outdoors, get some fresh air and increase your heart rate.

Sleep - the ultimate time when the body heals itself. Aim to get 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep following a heavy match or training session. This is often one of the easiest most cost effective ways to help recover, yet so many people overlook it due to the busy lifestyles we all lead. If you are a super busy person, at least once a week get a great long recovery sleep in! 

Stretch - this should be a daily activity, but especially in the 48 hours after a strenuous training session or match. There are many ways to stretch, but it should always be done on warm muscles, so get your body temp up first. You can do foam rolling, partner stretching, yoga or if by yourself try this. The video below shows a series of stretches linked together to create a 'flow'. Try using this on a daily basis - it takes about 10 minutes of your time and can even be done in front of the TV!

Hydration and Nutrition - a long hard run or heavy weights session isn't exactly the same as getting smashed about in a game of rugby. However any strenuous exercise where your fuel and hydration levels become depleted leads to only one thing, a need to replenish.
Plenty of water (2 litres) after a match - try to avoid alcohol as it seriously impedes your ability to recover and a balanced meal high in both carbohydrates and lean protein will provide the fuel your body needs to get repairing itself. Try rice, potatoes, couscous, quinoa, pasta and green leafy vegetables as good source of carbs. Add to that, chicken, turkey, eggs, tuna, salmon, fish or beef as great source of protein and you are well on your way.

Below is home-made pulled beef with rice and peas and a mango/tomato/cucumber salsa - nutrient dense and very tasty!

Those are the main methods I would recommend to improving your recovery, there are several other methods that have been tried and tested for helping to improve recovery. Here's a quick overview.

Ice Baths - do they help? Science says yes and science says no! As with a lot of research you have to read between the lines. However from personal experience I would say that it is personal preference. I run a cold water only bath and sit in it for 3-5 minutes before having a warm shower and I find it helps me a lot to at least 'feel' more rejuvenated 24 hours after a tough game. But if you really can't stand the cold water, maybe it's not for you? Guess you'll have to just try this one out. If you do; 3-5 mins in the cold water 1-3 times with a slow re-warm to room temp in between each 'dip'.

Compression gear - similar findings can be found on compression gear such as leggings and calf wraps. My personal experience has told me that the bigger guys find this one more helpful. The tightness of the garments is designed to minimise the inflammatory response - but the inflammatory markers still need to be flushed out of your system, so in my mind this only really works with the aforementioned basics to recovery covered.

Massage - definitely helps! but it will cost you for the privilege. By no means a waste of money, but relatively its a lot more than getting 8 hours sleep, drinking plenty of water, eating a good healthy meal and doing some stretching. That said you gain a lot more from it. Make sure you get a sports therapist or sports masseuse for your treatment - they are there to iron out the knots, help correct muscles imbalances and stimulate recovery. It's not a candles and pan pipes affair!
f you can afford to, book in for a monthly maintenance massage to help you out.

Foam Rolling - otherwise known as self-myofascial release (SMR) or self massage. There are now many implements and tools available to assist in this area. They key to which is to release the tension that gets built up and held in the connective tissue of muscles. Foam rollers act as releasing mechanisms to help elongate the muscles. I would highly recommend a 5 minute full body foam roll session as part of a warm up or cool down after gym sessions or contact sports matches.

There are of course many other methods you could look into but hopefully this can serve as a quick and easy guide to get you started!

Make sure you subscribe to fitfab21.com to get the training and education you need to win and achieve peak performance. You can get in touch with Fab directly by email, Twitter and Facebook.

Training Camp - Senior Head Coach's view

Today we caught up with Blitz Senior Team Head Coach Damian Anderson to get his views on the London Blitz training camp.

What impact do you think training camp will have on the 2016 season?

I feel this was a strong camp, I can't measure in wins or losses but just over the course of the weekend we got faster and cleaner in the plays, so it will make us a tougher opponent.

What aspect of your game did you improve the most during camp?

As a coach watching/coaching the players, you see them get faster in playbook to field reps. The trust in each other is also a standout. As a coach at camp, the film we get is the big plus for us. I's the following week watching that film where we then get to find out more about our team...and what they can do.

What was your favourite part of the weekend?

Sunday morning...on the field at the crack of dawn with 90 odd players ready to roll. By Sunday, guys are hitting their routines and you're not explaining basics/routines/admin. You're just focusing on football with a team that wants to get better.

Did you pack any ‘luxury’ items when preparing for camp?

Jaffa Cakes and Lollies. The sugar rush helps through camp.

What’s the one thing you would advise a rookie ahead of the 2017 camp to prepare them?

Rookies and all players need to understand 2/3 a day practices take their toll. Get to practice leading up to it, so you hit camp already in some football shape. The amount of niggles we get a camp that are just due to not being conditioned is crazy. A more specific camp bit of advice...? Bring cool bags, extra socks, and get your rookie dance routine sorted.

Training Camp with Jordan Jones

This weekend the London Blitz traveled to Friends School in Saffron Waldon for one of the most important events of the season - our annual training camp.

With only two weeks to go until the first games for both the A Team (Farnham Knights at Home) and B Team (Essex Spartans at Home), the pressure was on to prepare ourselves mentally and physically.

We asked Blitz Tight End Jordan Jones to keep a diary of his experiences over the weekend...

Jordan photo.jpg

Day one is done!

So many new faces, so much talent, so excited to get stuck in tomorrow morning.

Last season I was here as a Linebacker, and this year I'm back as a Tight End. O & D are very very different but the drive we have as a collective team is the same. We want to win, all the time, and look good doing it!

It's great to catch jokes with the guys and bond, but work time is fast approaching.

It's 23:00 and I'm going to get some kip ready for my alarm at 4:45.

With preparation, passion and execution we will be successful!

Welcome to @londonblitz 2016 training camp.

#41 signing out. TPBF!

Stay tuned for more reports from Training Camp!

The Future of American Football

It’s never too soon (or too late!) to get into American Football. This week we caught up with some of the players and coaches from our non-adult teams. 

We’re proud to be working young men from 8 years old and upwards. These guys are the future of our great club, and they’ll be the ones shaping the future of American Football in the UK.

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First of all, what are the differences between Adult and Non-Adult American Football in the UK?

There are many different types of non-adult football for different ages, and in the Blitz Youth Program we have teams for all of them.  

Under 19 is kitted 9-a-side football.  This is the same as adult football except you lose 2 of the Offensive Line and 2 from Defence.  This is to make it easier for teams to put out teams on a regular basis as recruiting offensive lineman is traditionally more difficult. However, watching a 9-a-side Junior game wouldn’t look very different from an adult game. 

Under 17 is kitted 5-a-side football.  This is the same concept as flag, except kitted and full contact.  On offence there is a Centre, Quarterback and then 3 other skill position players who can be Receivers or Running Backs .  The big difference between 5-a-side and 9-a-side is that the Centre is eligible to catch a pass from the Quarterback, which is different from Under 19 or Adult football.

Flag Football is non contact and the tackle is made by grabbing the flag from the ball carriers hip. We have 2 flag teams, a Cadet flag team for ages 8-12 and a Junior Flag team for ages 13-17.  Both play with the same 5-a-side flag rules. 

Many Blitz fans won’t be familiar with our Youth Program - how have we performed in recent seasons?

Our Youth Program has been very successful in recent years.  

Our Under 19 team have been National Champions for 4 out of the last 5 years, having 4 undefeated seasons and a total record of 52 wins and 2 losses over the last 5 years. 

Our Under 17 team have been perennial contenders, reaching the quarter finals once and the semi finals twice over the last five years.  They have achieved a combined record over that time of 49 wins, 13 losses and 1 draw. 

At the Flag level we have also won national championships.  Our Junior Flag team were national champions in 2011 and 2012, whilst our Cadet Flag team were national champions in 2015.

 

A lot of younger guys in London have grown up playing football and rugby. How accessible is American Football for younger players?

American Football is a very accessible sport, 99% of our players have never played the sport before they come to a training session with us. 

A lot of our players who join our youth squads go on to do great things. Many graduate into our adult A and B Teams, and some (e.g. Tiger Taylor-Hart and Alex Dickson - both club record holders) go on to play in the USA.

What advice would you give to someone looking to take up American Football for the first time?

Get involved!  Come down to a training session and try it out.  We are used to coaching players who have never played the sport before so you will be in excellent hands. 

How can younger players get involved with the London Blitz for the 2016 season?

Sign up to Webcollect so that you can find out when the next open session will be and get regular emails from us.

 

Meet the new Head Coach of the London Blitz B Squad

This week we caught up with the new Head Coach of the London Blitz B Squad - Anthony Coverdale. The former Offensive Coordinator has replaced Greg Goldie, who retired from the team at the end of last season after many years of relentless service.

How did you first get into American Football?

I got into American football in the mid 80’s. Channel 4 had just started to show it on Sunday nights, and I managed to catch a few shows.

I brought a magazine called Gridiron UK that had an article about Mark Gastineau (below) in it and I thought “This guy’s the man! How do I get into this sport?”

My parents did some research and I was lucky enough to live in an area with a team (North Herts Phantoms) with a youth programme (Spirits), and I started my journey in the sport.

How did you end up coaching for the London Blitz?

When my playing time ended I started to coach for a local team - the Bedfordshire Blue Raiders.

In 2012 Anthony Fitzpatrick joined the Raiders coaching staff from the London Blitz, and I assisted him at OC until the team merged with the MK pathfinders in 2013, to form the Ouse Valley Eagles.

Coach Fitzpatrick returned to the Blitz and recommended me to Greg Goldie, who was looking for coaches for the development squad. It was an easy decision for me when I was asked if I wanted the job, as I had played for Mark Moss when he was HC for the Hertfordshire stags, and with Coach Fitzpatrick there I had two coaches I knew and respected.

Last season – the Blitz B’s first ever – the team finished 4-6 in their division. What do you think the team can accomplish this season?

To finish 4-6 in your first season is fantastic especially when you consider we had 2 playoff-bound teams in our division, with one of them winning the Div 2 national championship.

The standout game for me was the last game of the season against the London Hornets. Despite missing some key players though injury, we went blow for blow with them and came out on top.

We won as a team that day - not at any point bid anyone drop their head or take a play off. That confirmed to me that we had all bought in to the Blitz culture, and that great things lay ahead!

We have a young team, but we made great strides last year. That does not happen overnight, and is a great testament to the work Greg Goldie has put in over the years to get a B team up and running.

Many of the players in the Blitz B Team are still very new to American Football. What do you expect from players in your team?

The guys returning this year know what’s expected of them - commitment on and off the field. For guys coming along to our rookie days in January we expect the same. That’s the culture of the programme from top to bottom, and that’s what it takes to win.

5 Tips for Getting Back to Training

5 Tips for Getting Back to Training

Your first time back in the gym after the off-season is never easy, so this week we spoke to London Blitz, Hertfordshire Hurricanes, and GB Lions strength and conditioning coach Fab Gargiulo to get his tips on how to prepare yourself for the season ahead:

Your season finished. Win or lose you should have taken a break, eased off from training both on the field and in the gym.

But that was months ago, and now it’s time to get back into it.

Make no mistake, when you stop training you lose fitness, probably increase body fat, and get weaker. Your sport demands a certain level of cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, and positional skill. Given that these will all have dropped off in the off-season, it’s now time to get them back (and make them better than before)!

…But Fab…how do I do this?

Well, here are my Top 5 Tips to getting back into sporting shape:

#1 TURN UP!

Make yourself a personal schedule for when you can go to the gym / work out / attend training…etc. Then (and this is the important part…) STICK TO IT! Write it down, stick in on your fridge / toilet door / wherever you will see it daily. When your motivation drops, you’ll stand a far better chance of succeeding if you make training a positive habit. The first week or two will be the hardest as you adjust - just keep going!

#2 Test and Set Goals

This is all about improving bit by bit. Do some baseline testing and try to make it scientific - i.e. repeatable + reliable. Here are some good examples:

(Remember - Always perform maximal lifts under qualified supervision and build up to a 1 Rep Max)

Strength:

  • Squats: 1 / 3 / 5 / 10 Rep Max (RM)
  • Bench press: 1RM + Max Reps @ body weight, or at 60/80/100kg

Speed:

  • Top speed at the 5 / 10 / 40yd dash. (You’ll need someone to help you time yourself)

Power:

  • Broad jump: Furthest distance in CM

Endurance:

  • 4 min run test
  • Skipping: 1 min bouts x 3 with 30 secs recovery

Goal setting should be simple - Have an idea of where you want to be at the start of the season, and each time you test aim for a better score than last time!

#3 Work hard & vary your workouts

Just ‘turning up’ to the gym / track / training won’t make you any better. Giving 100% of what you can will! This is where your schedule comes into full effect. If you truly believe that you can go hard and give 100% at 5pm on a Friday - get it in your plan. If not, then don’t! Make sure you also vary your workouts - not only will it allow you to work on several areas of fitness, more importantly it will keep you from getting bored and keep your motivation high.

#4 Eat right

It seems cliched but you wouldn’t put mangy old diesel in a Ferrari, would you? If you’re looking to improve your sporting performance / lose body fat / look better in all those muscle selfies you’ve been taking, then what you put in your body is just as important (if not more so) than training.

A simple easy-to-stick-to plan is an absolute must. Only eat REAL foods - those which came from the ground or had a face on them, and haven’t been altered before landing on your plate. Meat. Fish. Vegetables. Fruit. Green leaves. Nuts. Seeds. Berries. Natural oils. Water. Rice. Potatoes. Keep it simple and aim for an overall balance of 40% protein + 40% carbs + 20% fat.

#5 Recover

Lastly, when you do get back into training properly, you will need to help yourself recover after each bout of exercise in order to be able to give 100% each time.

Here are 5 quick & easy tips:

  1. Pre-warm-up: Before you exercise, spend 10 mins warming up. 5 mins on the foam roller + 3 mins dynamic stretching + 2 mins heart-rate raiser.
  2. Hydrate: Drink (sip) water throughout exercise. Aim for 300-600mls/hr as comfortable + 500-1,000 ml post-exercise. Water and electrolytes are best. Personally I’m a fan of Lucozade Lite.
  3. Stretch: 10 mins all major muscle groups after each training session. 30 sec holds of each stretch
  4. Eat: Within 2hrs have a healthy, natural, calorie-dense meal with a balance of 4 carbs : 1 protein (for post-cardio) or 2 carbs : 1 protein (for post-strength training)
  5. Sleep: Most important part of recovery. Aim for 7-8hrs / night of uninterrupted sleep. If you can, nap post exercise.

Good luck and I’ll see you on the field for pre-season!

Pre-season starts now!

Pre-season starts now!

Last week the London Blitz re-grouped in Finsbury Park for the first official fitness session of the 2016 season. 

After some impressive (if occasionally slippery) performances in the 40 yard, shuttle and 3-cone drills, the team took to the gym see who would be joining the 1000 lb Club this season.

Huge congratulations to all the guys who lifted a combined total of over 1000 lb (454 Kg) in their 1RM Bench Press, Squat and Deadlift, especially to father-to-be Lew Jones (below) who lifted a total of close to 1500 lb, including a club record Bench Press of 195 Kg.

 

Plenty of work still to do but we’re off to a great start!

Biggest Plays and Hits of 2015

Check out the biggest plays and hits of the 2015 season, as voted by our coaches. Expect more of the same next season! 


Interview with new Blitz Chairman - Henry Charlton-Weedy

How did you first get into American Football?

I’ve been involved in the sport for over ten years now and it’s all as a result of my Dad coming back from a trip in the US with a Brian Urlacher Jersey. I had no idea what it was or why he got it for me, but I did my research, started watching a game or two and fell in love with the sport. I was so keen to play after school that I gave up rugby and chose my university (University of Leeds) in part because they had a successful American football team.

Why did you choose to join the London blitz?

There has always been a strong pipeline between the Leeds Celtics and the London Blitz and when I came down to London I really didn’t have a choice but to look them up. I was quite intimidated as they seemed to be so far beyond the quality of what I was used to both at Leeds and playing at the Yorkshire Rams, but that didn’t put me off and I have never regretted committing myself completely to the Blitz.

There will be a lot of new faces on the London Blitz committee next year; how do you think that will impact the club?

That’s the nature of this sport, there’s always going to be turnover. I don’t see this as anything other than positive though. Ed Morgan and Mark Moss have laid a rock solid foundation of quality and a team ethos that we can build on. We have a new collection of committee members, players and coaches with fresh ideas and a really strong passion for the sport and for the team. I see change as positive and feel it will impact the club for the better.

What would you like the team to achieve this season?

There are plenty of things that we want to work on this year, the B team was a great success in its first year and we want to work on developing that. We’re determined to build a really cohesive team, from A team, to B team, Juniors, Youth, Flag and throughout, we’re all part of the same family. The core priority for me and for the A team is regaining the national championship. We’ve had some fantastic opportunities to play throughout Europe in fantastic competitions the last few years but our priority remains on the domestic trophy which we have not laid hands on for three years, which is not good enough. We’ve all got a lot of work to do to get there and anything other than that will be seen as a failure.

What do you think about the current state of American football in the UK?

It’s a complex subject, but as chairman of this club I just want to be at the forefront of showing other teams across the league how it can be done, to learn from what other teams do, and try to better our situation as much as possible. If we can win games and have people watching and getting excited by what we do, then that’s a great success.

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