The annual Steelers/USA Football Coaching School was held at the team's practice facility at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex recently, a one-day educational program designed to help high school and youth football coaches continue to develop their skills and improve the quality of coaching at that level.
The day began when Steelers President Art Rooney II welcomed the group, stressing the importance of youth football as it is the starting point for many NFL players.
"We appreciate what you do for our youth," Rooney told the coaches. "Youth football is the foundation of what we do here. The guys we wind up getting here learned it from guys like you in the beginning. We respect what you are doing."
Other guest speakers including USA Football's Ed Passino and Steelers college scout Mark Gorczak. Gorczak addressed a variety of topics and stressed the importance of communicating with the youth and understanding them.
"The important message is about giving back," said Gorczak of what he hoped to convey. "Any time you are shaping kids, you are giving back. That is very important. I think the coaches also need to understand the athlete today, understand his family background, what his economic background is like and communicate with him. If you communicate with the kid he is going to believe you and trust you and that is half the battle getting coaching done.
"If you don't know what buttons to go ahead and push to get a kid motivated, you are going to lose the kid. In today's society kids want to be talked to so you are going to have to understand the individual. Sometimes you have to push the kid, sometimes pull him. There is a fine line of which method to use. The more you understand the individual, the better you are able to coach him."
The clinic also included classroom instruction, ranging from practice planning to communication and on-field stations which focused on both offensive and defensive drills.