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600 In Attendance For Coaches Clinic

Posted Apr 15, 2018

More than 600 youth and high school coaches showed up at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday morning when the Dolphins hosted their third annual Coaches Clinic.

A group of Dolphins coaches were joined by coaches from the University of Miami, Florida International and Florida Atlantic to pass along knowledge about specific positions, and there also were discussions about training, injury prevention and concussions from experts in their field.

“We’re trying to make sure that the state of football continues to be at a high level,” said Dolphins Director of Youth Programs and Camps RaShauna Hobbs. “We think it’s important that coaches are well rounded, and as much as they know on the field with the X’s and O’s, we try to make sure that we’re educating them on motivational techniques, and hydration, and concussion management. We also have sessions that are about field maintenance, so we really made sure that this year our coaches covered all ranges of the games and didn’t just cover what you need to do and what your players need to do when they’re actually in action. It’s about hydration, it’s about speed, it’s about nutrition, it’s about training. It’s about all of those elements that go into making the game strong.”

The large group of coaches in attendance at the free clinic came from all three South Florida counties — Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. Among them were former Dolphins players Patrick Surtain, now the head coach at Plantation American Heritage, and Oronde Gadsden, who is part of Surtain’s staff.

“The Dolphins do a tremendous job in general supporting local, youth and high school football,” said Western High School head coach Adam Ratkevich. “A lot of events that they put on, I’ve been able to attend over the years. It’s a great opportunity for the high school and youth coaches to get out and learn football from both NFL and college guys. The fact that (the Dolphins) put it on at no cost makes it accessible to everybody, so really it’s a tremendous opportunity and I really appreciate it.”

Dolphins coaches conducting sessions included assistant linebackers coach Charlie Bullen, head strength and conditioning coach Dave Puloka, assistant defensive line coach Andre Carter, wide receivers coach Ben Johnson, assistant strength and conditioning coach Jim Arthur, new assistant defensive backs coach Renaldo Hill, assistant offensive line coach Chris Kuper and defensive quality control coach Rusty McKinney.

Another notable presenter was Dr. Gillian Hotz, the director of the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute's concussion program.

Dolphins Associate Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi opened the festivities with a welcome address. Rizzi recognized four coaches from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and asked for a moment of silence in memory of the 17 victims of the shooting at the school Feb. 14.

Rizzi encouraged all participants to walk away with at least one pointer, whether it pertains to a specific drill or something more generic, that could help make their team better moving forward.

Rizzi was familiar with some of the coaches in attendance from his days as the South Florida recruiter for Rutgers University, as well as from experiences involving his three football-playing sons, who range in age from 11 to 15.

For Rizzi, hosting a coaches’ clinic is simply a matter of giving back to the community.

“It’s just (about) giving back to the community. To see how much football means to this community, whether it’s youth football, high school, college, all these people are here to learn,” said Rizzi. “It’s important for us as coaches to give back and give our knowledge back to the community as well. I think it’s awesome; the turnout is great.”

The coaches’ clinic Sunday was just another example of the Dolphins’ commitment to youth football in South Florida.

The Dolphins consistently are promoting the game and they took an even bigger step last year when they hosted youth and high school teams throughout their OTAs and training camp.

“You look last year at all the high school teams that came to our practices and watching us go through our individual (drills) and they’re standing over by the different positions, and you look at their faces, you look at those high school players’ faces, you watch how intently they’re watching and trying to pick up little things,” Rizzi said. “And same with the coaches. As I mentioned to the group (Sunday), when you come to a practice or you come to a clinic, you’re just looking for a couple of things to make yourself better. And you look at the commitment that all these guys have, whether it’s here, bring your team to our practices, they’re always involved. They’re bringing their teams to camp in the summer, they travel out of state, all over the place. That’s why it’s kind of a great thing to give back as much as we can.”

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