As part of its efforts to assist American football federations and initiatives around the world GFL International (GFLI) staged a coaching clinic in Tegucigalpa in Honduras. The clinic was held during the „4 Helmets“ tournament played by national teams of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and the host country Honduras. On behalf of GFL International the clinic was conducted by Paul Vincent Miraval, one of the most-experienced coaches of Europe, who within GFL International is responsible for GFLI’s initiatives to help teaching coaches, players and officials in nations where American football is in its early developmental stages.
This certainly is the case for the four Central American nations, where enthusiasm for now has to cover up for a lack of ressources. And enthusiasm all participants showed indeed. Not only in the tournament (which in the end Honduras won by winning 12-6 in overtime in the final game against Guatemala) and in the efforts to get to play. The team from Nicaragua took a 10-hour trip in an old American school bus to attend the tournament and the clinic. The organizers from Honduras meanwhile had to fight off claims of the nearby soccer club, which suddenly wanted to use the playing field as a parking lot, no matter what the arrangements were before...
But during all that hassle still a good portion of enthusiam was left for the clinic, which was attended by more than 50 coaches and/or players aspiring to be coaches in the near future. The response of the participants was overwhelming. In using his experience from numerous similar clinics in Europe and elsewhere, Miraval motivated and encouraged everybody. The coaches he met he found to be „real football lovers, great people very dedicated to the sport. But if they don’t get support it will be
extremely difficult to develop...“
And after a lot of productive hours of lessons and tutorial drills some questions had to be left unanswered. „When will we have the chance for another such clinic?“ - this was one of the most-asked questions, and in fact GFL International already is looking for ways to make it possible to stage an even bigger clinic in the near future. The efforts of GFLI were very much appreciated, especially because the countries participating are quite small in population, and the football enthusiasts in these countries hope for a little more appreciation for their passion for the game from the international American football community.
Which is exactly the purpose of GFL International, established by the German Football League (GFL), the leading league in American football in Europe. GFLI is the program in which the league bundles its activities in international cooperation, and a key point is helping in the education of coaches in other countries. On-site efforts, especially in countries where American football is just developing and most of the local coaches can not afford to attend coaching clinics abroad, are one of the key activities of GFLI. GFLI offers to hold its coaching clinics in the countries where the coaches work and live, with expenses for the speakers’ journey to the clinic’s site covered by GFLI. National federations interested in holding such clinics only have to take care of the local organisation of the event and lodging for the instructors.
The clinics series on behalf of GFL International is overseen by Paul Vincent Miraval, who acts as primary speaker in the clinics as well. Miraval looks back on a successful career as a player and a coach in France. French National championships in 1990 and 1991 as a player were followed by four national titles in 1992, 1995, 1998 and 1999, when Miraval had turned to coaching. Miraval always had a special interest in the developmental work needed to build long-term-successful football programs, he was the French federation’s Technical Advisor and Head Coach of the junior national team in the 2000s, when the French Team won European Junior Championships in 2004 and 2006. Miraval not only knows how to coach American football, he also knows how to coach it when ressources are limited, with all the special difficulties associated with this.