Q&A Sabres DB Munya Chawawa talks tactics with Head Coach
Tim Mullinar Q. With a new season and a new opportunity to mix up coaches, why did you choose to remain as Head Coach, despite the constant demand for strong leadership and unfailing drive?
A. The biggest change under my tenure as Head Coach has been the fundamental attitude of the team. Installing an ethos in which every player strives to be as fast as they can be, as strong and violent as they can be, is not something that occurs naturally, particularly in an environment where execution, technique and control are just as important. It takes the right mindset from the senior players and captains, and this mindset filters down from the coaching staff, who run their units in accordance with my on field philosophy : Speed & Violence. Winning is contagious and continuity of leadership, if correctly applied, is hugely valuable in maintaining that. I believe I am the best person to take this organisation
forward with the help of my coaching staff and committee. I am committed to making this team the best that it can be and if I didnâ€™t think I was the best person for the job, I would step down to another position. I would not leave unless absolutely necessary - I love the game and this team too much. Q. When the team has already achieved highly in the previous season, in addition to losing some of the best players, what approach are you taking to keep the team progressing to all new heights at the same intensity?
A. Last season, the team achieved higher than it has ever done in previous years. But we can and will achieve more than that this season and in future seasons. The key to progression is not what happens on the field, but what happens off the field. The level of preparation by all 18 coaches on our roster
is mind blowing. They put hours into planning, achieving qualifications and bettering themselves as coaches. They are a key part of our success and with a huge wealth of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm they provide a fantastic base for our players to work from. Yes, we lose players. That is the nature of university sport. And when we do, I hope that we have helped to provide them with a fantastic university experience. New players will rise in their place, and their goal should be to better the performance and reputation of the player vacating the space. It is the job of all 18 of the coaching staff to ensure that with plenty of elbow grease, this is possible.
Q. Why is there such a genuine emphasis on recruitment for the Sabres? Is it not possible to simply scrape up old members and continue on?
Q. What is the biggest area for improvement for the team from last season? What is the biggest strength you want to see carried over?
A. Although American football is increasingly taught in schools and at youth level, it is still very much a minority sport in the UK. This means it is very rare to simply pick up a player who has any experience, let alone 10 years or more experience that rugby or football players, for example, might have when joining university at age 18.
A. The biggest area of improvement is in consistency of play across the board. Although we were consistently at a good level last year with several flashes of excellence, we were not consistent enough to win all of our games and enter the top tier of national finals. The level of our play needs to be consistently at a point where losing is quite simply, not an option. Every player needs to maintain maximum concentration on the pitch at all times, as well as personifying the fastest and most violent style of play.
We could simply ‘scrape up’ old members and those that wanted to play, but this would not lead to continued success and once success has been tasted, it is impossible in my opinion to aim for anything less. We need talented and experienced players to step up once we lose players to graduation. As talented players do not simply appear in the UK, 95% of the time, this means we need to train them from scratch, which means recruiting players well before we expect them to be winning us games.
“ Last season, the team acheived higher than it has ever done in previous years” that we can barely think, then worked some more, and then even more. Flawless execution when you have nothing left to give is what will win us the toughest games.
Q. What is your dream for the team?
A. First and foremost, this team is about the players. The The biggest strength is simple. most important thing for me It is mindset and attitude of is that we provide them with the players. It is no use having a great way to spend their high ambition if the players on university life and that they your team are not willing to enjoy the experience. give everything, every second of every play. The average play However, I believe that the last 6 seconds and I treat each best way to enjoy being part play like a 6 second war. The of a winning team in any sport only way that we will be able is through giving everything to maintain concentration on you have to a cause, before the field in the 4th quarter and emerging victorious. Hours overtime is if we have worked and hours of gruelling work ourselves so hard in training become worth it on that final whistle.
In line with this, my dream is for the Sabres to consistently be one of the best American Football teams in the UK, as well as being one of the best sports teams at the University of Sheffield with great community and charity links. The fantastic thing about my dream is that with continued hard work, it is an achievable reality.
Looking To The Future Sabres DB Munya Chawawa looks at the roles and responsibilities of newly appointed General Manager
Nathan Webster Q. What are the core duties of a General Manager?
Q. What does the term â€˜General Managerâ€™ mean?
A. In professional American Football teams the General Manager is the typically the person in charge of hiring and firing the playing and coaching staff and managing the team day-to-day. At Sheffield, the role is somewhat different. The General Manager at Sheffield is responsible for leading the long term development of the club by guiding, training and advising the committee along the way.
A. The main responsibility of the General Manager is planning the long term development of the club. This will be planned and managed by writing a club development plan, which will be a league requirement for all clubs to have by 2013/14. The plan will incorporate an analysis of the club as it stood at the beginning of the 2012/13 season, a set of aims and objectives plus a plan of how these objectives will be met over the coming years. I want the development plan to be a collaborative effort and I have met with many of the clubâ€™s stakeholders to gather information and opinions of what they think will make the club successful. In the shorter term, I believe the main duty of the General Manager is to ensure the committee keep the club progressing forward and ensure that good ideas are followed
through and come to fruition. Q. Why does a club which has already proven to be successful and able to stand over time need a general manager?
A. American Football in the UK is continuing to grow at a rapid rate and I believe that BUAFL is leading the way in terms of the number of well-run programmes. Sheffield have had a strong programme for many years and I believe the introduction of a General Manager will aid the continuation of this development. With the recent inclusion in BUCS and the league being bigger than ever, I think it is also very important that the club has someone who can make strong relationships with other members around the league that will grow over many years. I see the General Manager position being responsible for doing this.
Q. What are the strengths and weaknesses of introducing this new position to the committee?
A. Firstly, the General Manager isn’t actually a part of the committee. The two will always remain separate as the club is a student run organisation and as such, the committee will ultimately be responsible for it. However, long term stability and continued development are the two main strengths that I see the introduction of a General Manager role will bring to the club. Often, continued club development can take a backwards step when a new committee takes over each year and I see one of my main jobs is to ensure continuity in the transitions between committees. Q. If the general manager fulfils their role as planned, where can we expect to see the Sabres in a few years on an administrative and organisational basis?
A. The key aim that I state in
the development plan is that the club should become the best student American Football programme in the North. I want the club to be regarded as the de-facto standard that all other clubs in the country are aiming to replicate. We’ll build a reputation of being a pro-active, forward thinking organisation that leads the way in BUAFL. The level of success we have in achieving these goals will lie firmly with the committees over the next couple of years so they will need to be very organised and pro-active in achieving the most they can do. Q. What makes you feel adequate and willing to take on this new innovation for the Sheffield Sabres?
I’ve been involved in the sport for many years now and in my time I have been in several organisations, both successful and unsuccessful ones. I believe this experience of seeing how different clubs operate has given me a good insight into what makes a
good football programme. Despite not being a student at the University of Sheffield, I was quickly accepted into the club as a coach and have made some true life-long friends during my time here. I want to see this club succeed on every level and I believe I can make this happen as General Manager.
Introducing The Sheffield Sabres are proud to welcome the following persons to our coaching staff for 2012/13: • Marc Gent (QB Coach) • George Pollard (Assistant LB Coach) • Joe Leyland (Assistant DB Coach) • Gareth Wild (Assistant Defensive Coach)
• Steve Rains (Assistant Offensive Coach)
Dear Webb The Sabre’s resident Agony Aunt solves your dilemmas... Dear Webb, I have recently suffered a painful, painful defeat on the football field. As a man who has experienced the crippling lows of Lincoln (both as a player and student), how did you get yourself through the hard times and become the champion of life that you are today? Robin T, Peterborough.
Dear Robin T, I am sorry for your loss, truly I am. However, if it is any consolation, your loss is Greece’s gain, as with the money he plans to make skimming off the top of the Championship rings he sells to the Predators, Kirk Mavraki has pledged vast quantities of cash into the import/export of Feta, reviving the Greeks’ previously fragile economy. Sadly, I feel this will barely help to ease the ignominy of defeat for you. As you reference in your letter, I have experienced both the crippling lows and often mediocre highs of life as a Lincoln Colonial, and if I could offer you one piece of advice it would be this:
When Lincoln finished our first ever season in the league 1-7, did we hang our heads in shame??? Hell no! We were the first EVER American Football team in Lincoln Uni history to lose 7 consecutive games, and by golly we were proud! The same stood for our first ever 60-point loss, our first ever cancellation and our first-ever 7-fumble game, all stunning landmarks of mediocrity in their own right. You see, win or lose, It’s all about perspective young Robin! So don’t feel glum, and keep the blue flag flying, as although your Saxons may have fallen at the final hurdle, remember this: you are the ONLY team to lose the Div 2 final this year, and no other team in the league can claim to be quite as disappointed as you, so kudos! Yours in mediocrity,
In life, as in a high-stakes championship limbo contest, set the bar LOW.
Age: 23 Position: DB Jersey Number:
Best ever play :
Batted down a sure pick 6 on
the 1 yard line against York 2
years ago. Special move:
Sword of the mouth: “ if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying” Depth chart:
Name: Ale Sidoli Known as: Sid-slow-li Age: 23 Position(s): WR, TE, DL, LB, FS, PP, P, PK Jersey Number: 10 Best Play: Fake Field Goal v Hallam. “The Sidoli and Toone combination reared it’s head for one last time in 2010. Tied at 42-20 we took it upon ourselves to “win” the game with seconds on the clock. Toone knelt to receive and place the ball, Sidoli paced back to fake the kick.*Snap*Sidoli is off, heading for the corner. Toone, without looking, nonchalantly lobs the ball over his head to the steam rolling Sidoli who makes it all the way, to the disbelief of everyone on the field, to add a valued 2 points to the board.” Special Move: (On the Field and In Juice/Roar) The Grab Sword of the mouth: it’s not how you play, it’s how you look that counts! Depth chart: A*
Fixtures Huddersfield Hawks @ Sheffield Sabres 04/11/12 By Munya Chawawa
After many intense weeks of training and fitness, the new squad of Sheffield Sabres finally prepares to enter into the fiercely competitive arena that is the BUAFL League.
but of continuation – as the Sabres will endeavour to continue their 5-0 streak over the Hawks, as well as the league-winning focus and intensity displayed last season. The Hawks will be fronted by Head Coach Greg Boyland for a second season, and with the newly installed double-wing offense, the Sabres must approach the opening game with a clean-slate mentality and a readiness to face a renewed opponent.
For the second consecutive season, the Sabres begin their campaign against the Huddersfield Hawks. Over the two occasions in which the two teams clashed in 2011, the Hawks only managed to level one score against the Sabres, providing initiative for the current defence to reassert The match will kick off at 1pm at the the “shut-out” mantra. Goodwin Sports Centre – come down and show your support for the Sabres’ season The matter is not one of complacency, opener!