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The Coaching Development Series - presented by the OPFL

The Coaching Development Series - presented by the OPFL - is a series of football coaching clinics that provides coaches with practical insight and education on how to teach the game to players of all ability levels. Whether you are a first year coach or a 30-year veteran, a coach of elite-level talent or beginners, these professional development clinic sessions are implementable for all teams and programs.

The Coaching Development Series are conducted in a topic specific format with presentations led by guest speakers from all areas of the game. Attendees will hear from a wide range of coaches, including coaches at the university and professional levels. The clinics provides an intimate setting for networking and ongoing discussion between attendees and speakers. These sessions feature a variety of styles of teaching including: Football IQ, on-field technique, play understanding and design, mindset development and much more!

All Coaching Development sessions are FREE, without any hidden costs or restrictions and sessions are recorded for free ongoing coach education and development. Recorded sessions will be uploaded to a private site and will be available to all attendees via your email address. 

HOW TO JOIN A SESSION:

It’s that simple! So don’t miss out and become a better coach by investing in yourself this off-season. 

If you have any questions, please reach out to coaches@opfl.ca

Ross Spettigue Appointed Acting President of the OPFL

Toronto ON  — The Ontario Provincial Football League (OPFL) has announced that President Terry Barkley will take a personal leave of absence for medical reasons, effective immediately. “We fully support Terry’s decision to take the time he needs to take care of himself,” said KJ Kenemy, Vice-President of the OPFL. “His leadership is critical to our plans to continue to move the league to greater heights. We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to having him being back with us soon.”

The OPFL Executive Board has unanimously appointed Mr. Ross Spettigue to serve as the league's Acting President while Terry is away and his appointment is effective May 1st. 

Prior to becoming interim president, retired secondary school teacher, Spettigue was instrumental in developing one of the province’s finest high school programs with the Essex Red Raiders, held the position of Assistant Coach (QB) and Recruiting Coordinator with University of Windsor Lancers, co-founded the Essex Ravens, has served as the Director of and Chair of the Selection Committee for the Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame and in all, Spettigue has more than 40 years of coaching experience.

After graduating from London Teachers' College, Spettigue earned a Master of Education degree from Wayne State University, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Ontario and Graduate Diploma  from the University of Michigan. Although retired from teaching, he is still very actively involved in youth sports as a Basketball official and a football colour commentator with YourTV (Cogeco).  Spettigue also holds volunteer leadership roles and  currently serves as Director of Community Board, Victorian Order of Nurses and as Board Member of the Essex Condo Corporation.

"Ross has a distinguished teaching career and outstanding credentials," said Kenemy. "We are confident he will provide solid leadership to the league during this time of transition." Upon assuming the role of acting president, Spettigue noted he is "ready to do great things together with our Executive Board and those football communities which we serve." “We are excited for Ross to lead the OPFL’s efforts in providing quality programming with a focus on safety across all age groups and playing levels,” said Alexandra Reyes-Walsh, member of the OPFL Executive council. “his experience in serving in leadership roles and his wealth of football experience will enable the OPFL to realize all of our potential as we continue to grow an environment where like-minded centers can play football at the highest level.”

"Regardless of whatever role the Board determines I should have in service to the OPFL, we will work tirelessly to serve our members, coaches, players and beyond," Spettigue said. "Each one of us plays a vital role in reaffirming our commitment to putting the player first, in promoting and fostering sportsmanship and developing highly skillful and well-rounded players capable of competing at the highest level of football and in life. I especially look forward to working with the board and committee members and getting to know our Club Center leaders as we start to turn the page together to get our kids back on the field."

ENK Academy is here!

We are very excited to announce that the OPFL Player and Coaches development committees have some activities planned through ENK Academy to support you; Starting with weekly challenges leading up to the OPFL Provincial Virtual Combine and Coaches Symposium..

The league had announced that this is open to all our currently registered players, but also to our players that participated in 2019 that have graduated due to age.

Click here to Read More

Prioritizing the safe reopening of youth sports, including tackle football

The OPFL  has sent a letter to Premier Doug Ford, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer, Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries  and Christine Elliot, Minister of Health, urgently requesting that the Province prioritizes, re-evaluate and amend the restrictions imposed on the football community, including tackle football. As part of that ongoing effort, attached is a copy of the OPFL  letter we are encouraging our membership to respectfully contact their local  MPsMPPsMunicipal Authorities and Public Health Units to share this news and lobby them to support  youth football across all age groups and playing levels in Ontario. 

Dear Premier Ford,

For the Ontario Provincial Football League (OPFL) the outbreak of Covid 19 brought an abrupt end for all our youth football activities. Sports are well recognized as a vital benefit for the physical and mental well-being of children's development.  Amendments have been made for retail, small businesses, restaurants and some activities that can occur outdoors, but for our football community, these restrictions have not eased. The prolonged shutdown of football activities and youth sports in general has begun to impact the welfare of our children, and the sustainability of the organizations that provide football programming across all age groups and playing levels in Ontario . 

The psychological, developmental, and economic fallout from an unprecedented stoppage in sports that has impacted thousands of Ontario children has been discussed at length by the numerous doctors and scientists that have spoken out against the most recent restrictions. Kimberly Dow and Eddy Lau, from the board of directors of the Canadian Pediatric Society have stated in their open letter of April 17th that the closure of outdoor recreational facilities is not an evidence based measure to prevent the spread of covid-19.  The Ontario Public Health’s study examined the impact of COVID-19 emergency measures on child/adolescent mental health found that 67-70% of children ages 10-18 experienced deterioration in at least one of the mental health domains: depression, anxiety, irritability, attention, hyperactivity, and obsessions/compulsions.  Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, Infectious diseases specialist at Trillium Health Partners - Dr. Andrew Morris, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Toronto and the medical director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Sinai-University Health Network - Infectious Diseases physician Dr Isaac Bogoch - Dr Peter Juni, head of Ontario’s covid-19 science advisory table, and one of the most cited epidemiologists in the world ALL agree that kids should be playing sports outdoors and with safety measures that keep them socially distant from one another. Outdoor activities are vital for mental & physical health, especially with stay-at-home orders.

The Ontario Provincial Football League along with many other sports organizations have spent the last year working with government authorities to come up with sport specific protocols to allow for the safe return to sport, and have aligned these guidelines and protocols to the Ontario covid-19 framework. Different sports carry with them different risks and the leaders of the football community have worked hard to develop practical ways to reduce the risk to athletes, officials, spectators and their extended families. The current framework in Ontario makes it impossible for organizations to operate tackle football and cost prohibitive to participate for those looking to shift to a modified non-contact version of our sport, (flag football, skill training). In the Red control; zones for example, a capacity limit of 10 in a large gym, indoor field or training facility and a capacity limit of 25 participants at an outdoor facility simply doesn’t make sense from an infection control perspective and has an unintended consequence of only allowing for expensive private or semi-private instruction or practises to take place.  These restrictions disproportionately affected many vulnerable youth athletes, those who need youth sports the most. 

The Ontario Provincial Football League has been the pioneer within our football community in terms of player safety. With concussion prevention, we introduced protocols and processes well before the introduction of Rowan’s Law, our standards are well established and ingrained in our safety culture. This year we have engaged Elite Neurokinetix to provide our coaches, players and parents an additional tool that integrates athletic performance and injury prevention into our tackle football practices and games . Our approach is no different when it comes to covid-19, in order to ensure a safe return to tackle football; the OPFL is prepared to continue to be innovative. One of the viable options we are exploring is the integration of a new piece of sports equipment: the helmet face field. These disposable/replaceable face shields, much like the face covers mandated today as part of the provincial framework, were developed to attach directly to the faceguard of a football helmet to block droplets from sweat, coughs, and sneezes. The NFL Players Association medical director Thom Mayer has stated that the use of face shield may become the new norm in playing football. If given the opportunity, the OPFL will continue to implement these types of novel solutions to ensure the safety of our members while continuing to work with our local and provincial authorities in adjusting our safety guidelines and protocol.

Therefore, we are writing to you today to request that you, along with the Science Table, re-evaluate, prioritize and amend the restrictions imposed on the football community. All of our youth’s sports and activities – including tackle football - should be allowed in a safe capacity at each level of the Provincial Framework., as they provide an essential avenue for our young athletes to stay healthy and fit, with a demonstrated minimal risk of community transmission. We know from other provinces across Canada including Alberta, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan that this can be done safely, and believe it is a critical step to get kids back to football.

On behalf of our volunteers, coaches and players, we thank you in advance.

Terry Barkley, President, Ontario Provincial Football League

We Ready!

The OPFL has expanded its programming to include Tyke, Atom and PeeWee to our existing line up of Bantam, Junior and Varsity.  Also new this year, our players, coaches and volunteers are no longer required to register with the OFA or the National Registry. Players, Coaches and Volunteers will register directly with their Club Center for all OPFL activities and automatic enrollment with the league’s insurance program. Club registration fees will include the insurance cost of $15.  

Over the course of the next few months, we will be closely monitoring new developments with a return to tackle football in mind and our planning team teams will be planning for a fall season at all age divisions.
 
For the Spring/Summer 2021 Club Centers will be offering program options that follow provincial and municipal health guidelines and restrictions as the province continues to respond to covid. The age divisions for 2021 for the OPFL East, Central and Western conferences are:

  • Tyke: Players born in 2013, 2014​
  • Atom: Players born in 2011, 2012​
  • PeeWee: Players born in 2009, 2010​
  • Bantam: Players born in 2007, 2008​
  • Junior Varsity: Players born in 2005, 2006​
  • Varsity: Players born in 2002, 2003, 2004​

​The options will vary from one Club center to another based on each Club Center’s particular zone:

  • Grey Zones: Virtual Online Training Only
  • Red Zones: Virtual Online Training  and Skill Development / Individual Skill Development
  • Orange, Yellow and Green Zones: Virtual Online Training,  Skill Development / Individual Skill Development , Group Training and Non-Contact Football (Touch and Flag Football)

Please check with your Club Center or find one by clicking here
for details on local programs / age divisions available.  

For a detailed breakdown of the Return to Play Phases and supplemental document outlining the rules and regulations specific to each zone. Visit our Return to Play Section of our website.

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