With NFL training camps concluded, the preseason well underway, and high school and college programs picking up across the nation, another element to football takes center stage: injuries.
That’s where the innovative team at Shadowman Sports comes in.
Shadowman Sports is a football practice equipment company that is dedicated to providing injury-preventative gear to help athletes develop proper rugby-style tackling techniques. This stops injuries, keeps the best players on the field, and leaves the game in a far better, healthier place.
The company recently announced a new partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy that makes it the official tackling partner of the academy, which is particularly notable given the Academy’s mission. The Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy is a non-profit organization created to help develop youth football and young players entering the game around the world.
This is a crucial effort for the sport given that, “football has kind of been under attack lately,” COO and President of Shadowman Sports Stephen Flanagan stated.
Players, their parents, and others have been bemoaning all the injuries and criticizing the sport as too violent and dangerous to play, especially for youngsters.
“They — the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy and programs using our equipment — are using us (Shadowman Sports) to introduce a better, safer way to practice football across the nation,” Flanagan explained.
He and founder of the company J.P. Hartigan are incredibly proud of Shadowman Sports’ involvement in this effort as “the future of youth football is reliant on our ability to teach kids safer and better ways to practice in order to avoid serious injuries — from the first day of practice until the last,” the two said.
A contact sport like football will always involve a certain level of violence or physicality, which Shadowman Sports isn’t looking to change. That’s an innate part of the game that makes it great. However, it’s often practices that are the most dangerous, as Flanagan pointed out.
“The majority of injuries happen in practice, which is devastating. Doing drills with players hitting players… sometimes it can get taken too far and lots of reps lead to breakdown and injuries.”
Shadowman Sports’ tackling system lets coaches keep that same level of physicality in their practice, yet instead of players hitting other players, they get to work on the Shadowman Pro and Shadowman Junior tackling systems. As Flanagan noted, what makes this particular equipment great is that it’s remarkably realistic, humanoid in form, and it teaches proper, safe, rugby-style tackling tactics.
Now, you may be thinking “wait, rugby, isn’t that more violent and dangerous?”
But as Flanagan explained, that’s a bit of a misnomer.
“In rugby, you have a t-shirt and shorts; no pads or a helmet, nothing — yet there are far fewer head injuries because they know how to tackle. Their approach is to take the head out of the tackle; hit a player in the ‘target zone,’ wrap and roll the guy, and keep the head to the side. With that proper technique, the goal isn’t to hurt, it’s to effectively tackle and block.”
The other element Flanagan mentioned that sets Shadowman Sports apart is “its beauty as a turn-key solution. We provide the equipment, and from there a lot of what we do is just walking a coach through it — explaining the corresponding videos and tutorials showing ‘target zone,’ ‘wrap-and-roll,’ and proper tackling tactics.”
It’s simple, easy, and remarkably effective, both for players and their youth football coaches.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy partnering with Shadowman Sports should help youth football continue to flourish and grow by getting participation numbers back up in what players, parents, and others will come to realize can be a safe, fun game. It will also work to improve the quality of the game, because as Flanagan said, “you can’t spell fundamentals without fun.”