Stallions game day – Wembley Stallions vs Essex Spartans

The Wembley Stallions took on and beat Essex Spartans last Saturday. Final score 32-13. Well done Stallions and a big thank you to the sideline and fans who came to show support. 3 wins!

The Stallions will be playing their next game on Sunday (15th of May) at home when London Blitz B will be coming to The Ranch. Kickoff will be 14:00. Come show your support.

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Many thanks to Mikey Cartwright for allowing us to use the photos.



Talent Strategy & the NFL

Please note, this article was written in 2015

As a fan of American Football (specifically the New York Giants), I make sure to follow the the sport all year round. Working in recruitment, I’m always fascinated by the approach that teams take to talent acquisition. However if you’re a passive viewer or follower of the NFL, you could be forgiven for thinking that not much happens between the lifting of the Lombardi trophy in February and the first game of the new season in September. But once the celebrations are over and confetti cleared from the pitch, the huge task begins of getting a team ready for the next season. Indeed, for the thirty teams not competing for the ultimate prize in American Football this process will have already started.

By the time the first game of a new season kicks off an NFL team will have an active roster of fifty-three players. These will be a mixture of athletes re-signed from the previous season, rookie players who come through the college ‘draft’ and unattached ‘free agents’ from other teams. However when the off-season training camp commences a team is allowed to have up to ninety players at their disposal. Midway through this pre-season agenda the number of players will be further reduced to seventy-five, before one final cut leaves the team with their final playing staff of fifty-three.

From team owner, to General Manager, to Head Coach, there are several key figures involved in this complex and high-pressure process. And for the players themselves, the chance to realise (or have snatched away) their childhood dream of playing professional sport can be a daunting and stressful process. But the glamour and complexity of this offseason spectacle belies an analogy that many businesses should consider; an effective talent strategy. Or in other words, a targeted plan for having the best people, at the right time, for the right price, within your organisation.

Much like an NFL franchise that needs to address an immediate need with an often over priced player deemed surplus to requirements by another team, a business that rushes in to hiring someone without considering the long term effects (both financial and otherwise) is likely to find that the decision they make is far from perfect. As hard as it may be, it is essential to stick to your principles of hiring and not let a seemingly urgent situation dictate who you bring in to your business. One of the most well run and iconic NFL teams of late are the Baltimore Ravens. Their General Manager Ozzie Newsome is revered as an expert in finding great players, and not rushing out to fill needs by making concessions and over paying for bad ones. His strategy is to avoid paying over the odds for short term gain and instead, putting faith in the system he created to build a sustainable team. His team’s Superbowl win in 2012 was the highest endorsement the game can give.

Hiring for the future is also one of the most important considerations for an NFL franchise. With highly touted young players coming in to the league each year, the NFL provides a great example of organisations that do this well, and those that don’t. Take for example, the much maligned Cleveland Browns. Ever since they came back in to the league in 1999, they have struggled with bringing young talent onto their team. A combination of poor assessment and a lack of a coherent hiring strategy has lead to their most recent first round pick (controversial Quarterback Jonny Manziel) struggling badly in his first few games and spending his off season in rehab. He was drafted to replace a similar failed rookie acquisition and his current situation means the team are linked with yet another move for a first year Quarterback. It’s clear to see that something isn’t working in Cleveland.

On the other hand the Dallas Cowboys now boast one of the strongest offensive lines in the league (one that allowed their running back DeMarco Murray to lead the league in rushing yards). This is a direct result of a targeted strategy that started four years ago by highlighting an area of need and taking a measured, long-term approach to resolving it. In this example, a measured tactic to bringing in junior talent has lead to recent, sustained success. Indeed, one of the biggest successes in this instance was accurately highlighting an area of need in the first place.

NFL teams give a unique example of how organisations can get their staffing and talent strategies right, and also how it can go wrong. Successful sporting franchises, as with successful businesses, are reliant on having the right talent in place. With the glitz and glamour of American Football it can be easy to forget that often the bad teams are struggling simply because they haven’t recruited well. The same can be said for struggling businesses.

Tim Barber



Offensive Line – A rookie’s perspective

Talking from a rookie’s perspective, playing offensive tackle requires a combination of the proper technique, fitness, speed, explosiveness and bulk. Before my first training session, I was no stranger to a gym but I’m happy to admit I never pushed myself as hard as I do now. Prior to football, the gym was a place for me to go for a jog on a treadmill, or use a bike or cross trainer for anything between 30 minutes to an hour. I barely utilised the weights section and watched people using the battle ropes while thinking how pointless an exercise that was. The pool was used for leisurely swims and my core rarely received any attention. I was close minded, lacked proper fitness education and was overweight and frustrated with a lack of progress. During this time I also trained in Krav Maga but these classes focussed less on fitness and more on technique.

What have I found since playing American Football? Regardless of position on the offensive line, there are some key attributes that need to be honed:

  • Fitness – Can I last for four 15 minute quarters without sacrificing speed and power?
  • Speed – Can I take on a fast defensive line (especially on pass protection) and get up to and secure a line-backer during a run play (when applicable)?
  • Pace – After holding the block on a punt, can I sprint down field to close off/apply pressure to/tackle a punt returner?
  • Explosiveness – How fast can I go from a static 3 point stance to engaging a d-lineman with enough power to make a gap for a ball carrier on a run through or engage a d-lineman and/or drop back (into zone) when pass blocking.

I feel I was lucky to join the Wembley Stallions just before the off season conditioning started. The coaches who lead these sessions provided a lot of useful advice on exercise and diet which I very quickly utilised in my regular gym training sessions. Long gone are the 30 minutes then home days of old. Recently I have stepped up my training to include: four 16 minute sets of interval running/sprinting. For this I start off on a run for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds, increasing my speed so I am running faster than the 30 seconds previously. By the end of each 16 minute set, I am running flat out. In between each set, I do a series of weight sets which vary on the day. They include, incline, decline and regular bench press, lateral pull downs, battle ropes and calisthenics to help with core strength and balance. Once the four sets are over, I move onto ladder drills to improve footwork. One of the main things I have learnt is to structure my workouts before I get to the gym.

Playing with the Wembley Stallions has not only ignited an interest in American football but also a keen interest in fitness. We are often sharing workout tips and dietary advice in our whatsapp group and I am constantly looking for workouts to add so as to keep the gym interesting. L.Bentley Offensive Line Performance is one of a few sites that I follow that regularly post really good articles and videos on how to better yourself as an O-lineman. As a unit, utilising the app Myfitnesspal has been useful in sharing healthy dietary tips with each other.

All in all, I may not have played football for that long yet but I’ve already surprised myself, mainly with the limits that I can push myself to so far. I’m 27 at the moment and am probably the fittest I have been in a long time. If you don’t shy away from hard work, don’t mind taking a knock (or two) and want to join a team filled with really friendly people, I’d thoroughly recommend coming to one of our training sessions on a Saturday morning. If you want more details, send a private message through the contact us page or comment below.

Jonny Greenstein
Offensive Tackle


Stallions game day – Wembley Stallions vs Ipswich Cardinals

The Wembley Stallions took on and beat Ipswich Cardinals today. Final score 17-6. Well done Stallions and a big thank you to the sideline and fans who came to show support. 2 wins!

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