Paid in Experience: Manatee’s Youthful Squad is Progressing Rapidly

Bradenton, February 26, 2019- The Hurricanes wrapped up their 2018 labors as a top 50 program in the sunshine state according to Maxpreps, landing at 48th, with an 8-5 record. They finished second place in their district (5-1 out of 7 teams), but district leader and rival, Riverview Sarasota cut their season short in the second round of the 8A playoffs (Manatee still leads the all-time series at 10-6). Alas, the bond has molded into something much tighter within this skillfully inexperienced group. Here’s a BCP insider on the program’s teaching blueprint and everything that comes with mentoring athletes at a more pre-mature stage in another quote-based school feature.

“We bring our JV kids up to play and travel with us and get that experience of the playoff atmosphere. That’s the first step to developing these young guys; in that year, just getting them as much experience as possible and getting the exposure to all those situations- learning what’s soon to be expected. In our off-season program, we’re lifting, running and also getting them involved in other sports; getting them used to s competitive standing. That’s why I like individual sports; you’re solely the one responsible for your actions and we’re just mentoring that whole process of getting them ready to take on the main football field,” states Head coach Yusuf Shakir surely.   

“It’s a high competitive state- you can train for one thing all year and devote your energy to one thing, but there’s nothing like being face to face with someone who wants to win just as much as you do, if not more. The multi-sport aspect is a big thing for these guys to participate in a competitive environment and build that edge year-round.”

Coach Shakir closes passionately, “I don’t separate our teams too much- they understand the tempo and I have them all organized by class together based off offense and defense. We started ten freshmen and sophomores last year, so we’ve been young and inexperienced in my first two years here. I’ve always worked my teams together- we train the younger kids with the older ones; they learn more from experience than talking so getting that experience early on goes farther than anything else I could instill in them from a coaching aspect. They then understand they accomplish some of the same things as these veteran guys because they’ve built that confidence right along-side of those guys every step of the way.”

The Manatee Community oozes pride and support the athletic programs of the high season in and season out. However, the football program is the crown jewel and getting back to championship status is the goal for Coach Shakir.

“All about iron sharpens iron- have to play the best kids and learn what it takes to be successful at a high level all the time. Be the best that we can be and work at it every single day. I’m just trying to continue stacking on depth and as we improve our results in the weight room, everything else will start to fall into place on the field. We have a lot of experience returning, and guys that have played in twenty plus football games and our kids know what it takes at this point to reach our goals.” 

“Really, I’m going into my second year of this program’s development; had a lot of great games with these younger talented guys and we’ve become more explosive. I think overall, the explosiveness is going to make us more successful. It’s been exciting- a new experience for me because I’ve never played this many young kids on a varsity level; really about just teaching those big-time moments and I’m excited for what this group holds in 2019.”

Vaughan Sixbury, BCP Contributor