Pulling The Flag

Cecil Martin Comes To Northampton

2 weeks ago on July 24th Cecil Martin continued his tour of the UK by coming to Northampton to hold a training session courtesy of the Northants Titans.

While this alone isn’t anything groundbreaking what with the tour across the UK and all – if I am not mistaken it is the first time Cecil has worked with a flag football team in the UK.

With everybody having arrived and Cecil introducing himself, we were split into 3 groups for later on, after which we underwent a warm up that will be very clear to you as I have lots of cool pictures. (And on that note – big thanks to Ian Jenkins of Elegant IT and Michael Hill for the awesome pics taken on the day – all pictures in this article are courtesy of them)

Cecil and Jade Archibald lead the opening jog

After this first jog, we were split up into what I remember to be roughly 6 or 7 teams of around 6 people, where we began to do a series of dynamic stretches. Cecil was really motivational throughout, and placed heavy emphasis on encouraging your teammates.

High knees everywhere
Look how straight those lines are..

So warm up and stretching done! Next Cecil explained that we were going to go through a mini combine of sorts. We would be tested on 3 fronts:

40 Yard Dash

Pro Agility

3 Cone Drill

In case you’re unaware of any of the drills, click the name of the drill to be linked to a video of somebody slightly slower than myself performing the drill.

I was of course gutted that the 100kg bench press was omitted, but hey I guess it wasn’t practical!

Cecil instructing his coaches before they ran the combine

We broke off into the three groups we were assigned to back at the beginning and all took a drill each.

Running a 40 yard dash
Photo finish for Arden Shaw on the Pro Agility drill!
Arron Timson making his way around the 3 cone drill

Enter the football!

After a short break we were split up in our 3 groups again to begin drills, some of which involved a football! (Woo!) One of the drills mind you was still an agility based one, the second a running back drill, and finally – a receiver drill where Cecil threw passes himself.

Monica Curle reels it in
Dan Sapsford – He’s so photogenic I could probably make a whole album of his grabs

Drills down and we all split into offence and defence. We practiced amongst ourselves for a bit and then we played against each other, with the offence gaining a point for 7 yards +, and the defence for preventing it.

Lewis Bentham gets a pick before taking advantage of the old ‘You can’t tackle me as I haven’t got a belt on’ tactic
Marcus Alphonso throws a pass under pressure

After the games, Cecil brought us all together to give a really inspirational speech. The three things to take from it were hardwork, focus, and perseverance!

Finally, Cecil gave us all signed pictures of himself and stayed to chat and sign things for all the attendees.

Cecil and Dan Archibald

I thought I’d finish it on this picture, because this event would not have been possible without Dan, and Elegant IT making it happen. Dan is doing a fantastic job with the Titans and for the local community and he’s what I call the catalyst of flag football here in Northampton. There is going to be huge growth for the sport here and I have no doubt in my mind he is going to be very central to it all, I just hope everybody else that enjoyed and benefited from the event let Dan know they were as grateful as I was for it all.

Finally – Cecil went to the Titans’ sponsor bar Bootleggers to chill after the session with those that went along. I had work at 6am the next day so I can’t say much about it given I wasn’t even there… – but I heard he was pretty cool!

All in all, it was a really fun experience, and I’m sure some of the younger players in particular will be driven to stick with the sport after this experience – and hopefully become some very great players!

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply