As a member of the Yale Football team, you will be developed not only as a student-athlete, but you will also grow as an individual. We expend every resource possible to help each player in our program become the best possible version of themselves. The foundation of our Football Family comes from the 6 core values of our program: Accountable, Tough, Compete, Family, Passion, & Belief. It is our job as a program to give each and every individual the opportunity to grow in each facet of these values on a daily basis.
The mission of Yale Football Sports Performance is to provide world-class training and player development to every student-athlete. By utilizing the vast resources of the university our staff is able to offer a truly incredible training experience. Partnerships with the “Brain Function Laboratory” in The Hirsch Lab at the Yale School of Medicine and “The John B. Pierce Laboratory” for performance (affiliated with Yale University) are just two examples of the resources that ensure the Yale training experience is unlike any other in the country. Our staff is committed to using the most progressive and scientifically advanced training programs available for our athletes. Regardless of an athlete’s ability upon entering the program, it is our goal to help everyone reach their full genetic potential.
The Yale Football Peak Performance Program trains players and staff in the psychological aspects of optimal performance with Brian Cain. Cain is one of the world’s most well respected performance coaches and the author of The 12 Pillars of Peak Performance and The Mental Game of Football. Through a combination of staff and player developmental trainings and customized individual sessions, players and staff get the same mental training as professional and Olympic athletes. The peak performance system revolves around creating an elite mindset, developing a championship culture, mastering time management, making data informed decisions, building relationships and team chemistry, harnessing present moment focus, and establishing a process for success. Part of that process for success is perspective building and creating a positive attitude in addition to devising the routines and habits of excellence that support the goals of the Yale Football program, and it’s players, both on and off the field. Players are also trained in developing heightened awareness and emotional intelligence as well as given skills to help release failure and frustration so they can compete on the next play with a clear mind for success. The peak performance program is just one component of the Yale Football life skills program that prepares players not only for championships on the field, but also for success in life after graduation.
“Coach Cain has given us the mental tools to be successful both on the field and off it. We have integrated and built a championship culture around a core set of principles and are now equipped with a toolkit that prepares us for any situation we may face. The mental conditioning aspect that Coach Cain brings has allowed us to train the most important muscle we have during competition – our mind.” – Sebby Little ‘17
4 for 40
Yale Football has the most successful, diverse, and available alumni network in the country. When a student-athlete elects to attend Yale University they are choosing the pathway for the next four years of their life. However, that decision goes beyond the collegiate years and truly extends for the next forty years of life. The time spent working as a student-athlete, developing friendships, and connecting to our alumni network position Yale Football players for success in life. The Yale Football 4 For 40 Program provides a framework for our players to connect, visit, and hopefully gain employment from, or by way of, our incredible alumni base. The 4 for 40 Program is designed to engage our current players with alumni in six career fields: Consulting, Engineering, Finance, Law, Medicine, & Sports/Entertainment.
Freshman Academic Program
The Yale Freshman Academic Program was created in the fall Coach Reno’s first season as Head Coach. This initiative was introduced as a means of helping the incoming freshman class manage their academic curriculum in their first year as they transition from their high school classes to the Yale classrooms. The entire freshman class meets once a week throughout their first year with a handful of coaches that help our academic liaison, Professor Hugh Flick, run the program. It is a very resourceful program that allows for freshman to stay organized, talk about their classes on an individual basis, schedule & organize extra help via tutors when necessary, and help them maintain control of their academics during their first semester of Yale. Since the program began back in 2012, the average freshman GPA has grown each and every season – a true testament to the success of Coach Reno’s Freshman Academic Program.
Yale Football’s understanding of the direct correlation between leadership and success is a foundation of the program’s principles. It is the responsibility of each individual on the team to live by the six “Core Values” of our program on a daily basis: Accountable, Tough, Compete, Family, Passion, & Belief. The establishment of these core values led to the development of the “Yale Football Creed”, a motto that has recreated the mentality and culture of our program.
The second highest honor a player on the Yale Football team can receive, behind only that of being voted Team Captain, is being named to the Leadership Council. The Leadership Council consists of a small group of players, voted on by their teammates, which meet with the head coach once a week. Their duty is to serve as the voice of their peers in these weekly discussions.
The Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive
The Yale Football program, along with the Yale Women’s Field Hockey & Women’s Ice Hockey teams, host an annual marrow donor registry drive at Yale University every spring in honor of the late Women’s Ice Hockey player, Mandi Schwartz. The drive began in 2010 in an attempt to aid Mandi’s search for a genetic match for a stem cell transplant to save her life after she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2008, the fall of her junior year. The drive is run in accordance with the “Get in the Game. Save a Life.” campaign for the Be The Match Registry. Yale’s record-setting efforts have added an incredible 6,167 potential donors to the registry over 8 years, resulting in a remarkable 30 life-saving donor matches that have come from the Yale community. Among those 30 life-saving matches associated with Yale’s drive include 5 members of the Yale Football family: John Oppenheimer (’14), Jack Rushin (’17), Paul Rice (’10 & current staff), Chris Gennaro (football operations), & Zach Wigmore (football recruiting).
Team IMPACT Partnership
In the fall of 2014, the Yale Football program joined forces with Team IMPACT (Inspire, Motivate, and Play Against Challenges Together), a Boston-based charitable organization that teams up children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses with local collegiate teams. Shortly after an introduction to 6-year-old Dante Chiappetta of North Haven, CT, who is battling Cerebral Palsy and Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), a bond was born that will never be broken. The Yale Football program “drafted” Chiappetta and invited his family to the Yale Bowl for Dante’s press conference, at which he signed his letter of intent to join the Bulldog family for life. Dante has had a profound effect on both the players and staff members of our program, inspiring all of us with his positivity and strength in the face of adversity. The Chiappetta family routinely comes to watch football practices and they are always at the end of the tunnel to cheer on the Yale Football players as they sprint onto the field. In 2015, Coach Kevin Cahill ran the Boston Marathon representing Dante and Team IMPACT. We are forever grateful for the IMPACT that Dante and the Chiappetta family have had on our program.