–By Christo Bilukidi, STA Global Director of Football Operations
To reach the top in any sport, focusing on the finer details is key. For high school age football players looking to perfect their craft, the off-season months are the crucial time to do just that.
In addition to a top physical training program, 7-on-7 football can provide a perfect opportunity for positional players to improve their jump, run and catch skills.
The first time I saw 7-on-7 football as a college freshman at Eastern Arizona, though it was by no means new to the highest levels of football training. Down south, 7-on-7 has long been a practice exercise among college and professional teams.
But by the time I finished my professional football career in 2016, the sport had really gone viral in the U.S., with tournaments and leagues sprouting up everywhere. When I became the football director at the Sports Training Academy, I knew I wanted to bring 7-on-7 football to Ottawa.
7-on-7 perfect for off-season training
The game is great for player safety (2-hand touch, pass-only, 40-yard field). It allows players to train in a no-contact environment without giving up the high intensity that drives development.
Football players in every position need to build a solid base of fundamentals.
Quarterbacks need to learn how to read plays in a handful of seconds, and to have an acute sense of their throwing distances. Receivers need a strong vertical leap, as well as footwork and hand-coordination training. Defensive backs need a quick backpedal and practice with one-on-one coverage.
My job is to help young athletes in the STA football program fill their offseason with the training they’ll need to take the next step. Our program is a five-day per week intensive affair, complete with two speed programs, two weight-training programs, and one full practice.
Travel to top U.S. events, get recruited
If you’re an elite football player, I hope to see you at our next tryout in September. You’ll have the chance to join our 20-player roster that will travel to the States for some of the top events in the country.
My one word of advice is to bring your ‘A’ game – this is not the typical style of football found in Ottawa. This is a highly competitive team that will compete against the best of the best in the U.S.
The tougher the competition, the more eyes that will be watching. The U.S. tour is a chance for our players to showcase their talents to scouts from top colleges. For those chasing a Division I scholarship, earning a spot on our travelling roster is a path to becoming a known entity.
In time, our goal is to create a full-fledged 7-on-7 league in Ottawa, and to watch as the sport spreads throughout Canada as it has south of the border.
To Join Christo Bilukidi’s tribe, visit theSportsTrainingAcademy.com.
About Christo Bilukidi:
Christo Bilukidi grew up in Ottawa and started playing football in his senior year at St. Patrick’s High School. He wound up becoming a top defensive lineman at Georgia State and went on to play 5 NFL seasons with Oakland, Cincinnati and Baltimore before deciding to retire in 2016.
Now an Ottawa Community Housing ambassador committed to ensuring that every child has the chance to play sport and unlock their potential, Christo is thrilled to come back home and get to the chance to work with the next generation as a coach.