THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The Los Angeles Rams hosted the inaugural high school coaches clinic that gave more than 60 local high school varsity football coaches an opportunity to learn from the Rams' coaching staff at the team's practice facility at Cal Lutheran University. Coaches were fully immersed as they watched practice, met Rams staff and coaches, and gained insight from the team's position coach of their choosing. The day offered invaluable information and motivated coaches on all levels to continue to make positive impacts.
When addressing the coaches before sharing his knowledge of football schemes and NFL insights, Rams Head Coach Sean McVay made sure to emphasize his focus on modeling the way. He explained that a coach's energy is contagious and when he brought his best self, his team performed better. "It's about [identifying] what these guys do best and then how can I help them shine. Those are the things that end up being the most rewarding." He also shared that developing relationships with your organization to create an overall culture helps people not only perform their best but also fosters curiosity to keep learning more.
Matthew Castaneda, the 2022 Los Angeles Rams High School Coach of the Year, attended the clinic. He stated, "breaking bread with fellow coaches is always a blessing, being able to talk with them, engagement with the Rams, being able to get into their facility, see what the professionals do at their level, [and] to be able to learn from them and then also for our own school, [to] get our school on the map." Castaneda, head coach at Diamond Bar High School, finished his first season (2022) with a 12-2 record and qualified for the CIF Southern Section Football Playoffs.
In addition to broadening knowledge on the field, all coaches participated in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) training at the end of the clinic. The American Heart Association led the training as part of the NFL's initiative to promote CPR education by ensuring coaches have the proper training and equipment to respond to medical emergencies.
Reggie Scott, Rams VP of Sports Medicine and Performance, kicked off the training by introducing Rams Defensive Coordinator, Raheem Morris, who just days before the training helped save a 3-year-old boy from drowning. Morris used AED training he learned from the Rams to assist in saving the child. Ghalee Wadood, Rams High School Football Associate Manager, mentioned how Morris' story tipped the scale of how important these trainings are, and viewed this training as a step in the right direction to push high schools to add more trainings and supply proper devices in their schools and on their fields.
Considering the impact that the day had on the high school coaches, Wadood said, "the reaction was everything we thought it would be." Originally from Los Angeles and having spent time as a high school coach himself, Wadood understood how meaningful it was to be in the presence of professional coaches. Looking ahead, he is eager to bring "a new vision" to the Rams high school football initiative. He explained, "we want to continue to reach into areas that we haven't reached before, and we want to leave these impressions deep in our fan engagement."
When distinguishing good leaders from great leaders, McVay pointed out that it takes a collaborative effort. "I want to be a guy that's elevating people. And when you really talk about these guys that are great at what they do, to me, the thing that separates the really good players from the great, that really establishes and creates a legacy, you bring others with you." This mentality alongside using coaching to help people reach their highest potential, are mindsets that McVay sees in a great coach. His emphasis on the importance of a coach off the field was perhaps the most inspiring part of the day as he stated, "people will remember how you make them feel and how consistent you were. The four most powerful words that I think you can provide as a coach are 'I believe in you,' and it's [got to be] real."
The Rams coaching staff shared that coaching provides an opportunity to positively influence and affect players in aspects that go beyond their performance on the field. Reflecting on the day, Wadood was proud of the acknowledgment that McVay gave to every single coach in attendance. The Rams look forward to broadening their high school outreach and expanding on the number of coaches that they can impact in the coming years.
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