HSPD focuses on character, skill development for prep players

More than 20,000 high school football players will focus on character development, life skills, and on-field techniques from May-August as part of the National Football League's High School Player Development (HSPD) program presented by the National Guard.

Since its inception in 2001, the NFL's national HSPD program has provided participants with a curriculum that focuses on inspiring excellence in the classroom, community, and on the playing field. The program, which is partially funded by the NFL Youth Football Fund, is free for students and will reach more than 20,000 high school student-athletes at more than 125 sites in 34 states this spring and summer.

The character development and life skills portion of the week features guest speakers, including NFL players and coaches, preparation for standardized tests and discussions on life after high school. Students also will take part in a Centers for Disease Control session about player safety, including concussion treatment and management.

The National Guard's sponsorship of the HSPD program began last year and the Guard is excited to sponsor the program again this year. During each session, members of the National Guard will speak with participants about personal development and community service while providing support to coaches on site.

Graduates of the HSPD Program include Ray Rice and Jared Gaither of the Ravens; Kevin Barnes and Edwin Williams of the Redskins; Dolphins CB Vontae Davis; Bills DE Aaron Maybin; and Lions WR Derrick Williams.

Each participant receives an HSPD Student Planner, NCAA initial eligibility requirements, SAT/ACT information, and time management instruction.

On-field components of the HSPD program include fundamental skill development by position, reviews, and individual competitions. As part of on-field training, players focus on both an offensive and a defensive position, and eventually apply their newly-learned fundamentals to live drills. Participants have access to innovative teaching and drills developed by leading NCAA coaches.

In addition, HSPD kits will be sent to high school football coaches nationwide this year, impacting more than 1.2 million high school football players.

Please visit  www.nflyouthpd.com for the most up-to-date information on HSPD sites.

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Earl "Curly" Lambeau, 37, coach of Green Bay Packers of National Football League, poses in 1931, location unknown. (AP Photo)

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