USA Football’s recommendations for youth play approved and reinvent the sport


An Associated Press football report in late March had nothing to do with the Super Bowl, college football playoffs, or a successful NFL trade. However, in our eyes, this is perhaps the most important football news in decades, with immense and lasting benefits for the children who play the sport.

On March 31, the AP reported that the independent non-profit USA Football – the national sports governing body and member of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee – had announced eight recommendations for the game of youth football. This bold and forward-thinking leadership has already garnered the support of four major sports medicine and healthcare associations: the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, the National Youth Sports Health and Safety Institute and the Sports Neuropsychology Society. .

As volunteer members of the Football Development Model Council led by USA Football, we attest to the great importance of these recommendations. They deal with specific practice training by age group, the prohibition of certain drills, the use of the two-point position, contact guidelines for pre-season and regular-season practices, and other subjects of vital importance. The eight recommendations with the corresponding rationale are available to youth leagues and volunteer coaches to adopt and implement this season at no cost.

Seen through a sports science prism, every sport can embrace and harness the power of science, research and a reimagined vision to prioritize the health and well-being of athletes, especially those of the athlete. younger. The USOPC has opened these doors with its American development model and some of its member organizations, like USA Football, are pushing it forward for better physical and mental health of children nationwide with potential benefits until the adulthood.

Skeptics shook their heads and rolled their eyes in 2010 when Dartmouth College eliminated ground tackles during practice. Since making that decision – as evidenced by a record 70-30 (0.700) and two Ivy League championships – Dartmouth has been working as fervently as any team on wrestling techniques, but smarter and safer way. What USA Football has done with its recommendations for young people and its football development model is no different.

As a sports scientist and former soccer player who is also a current Ivy League coach, we are proud to help USA Football advance the sport for children who enjoy playing it and enjoying its benefits until adulthood.

Youth sports, including football, have for too long been practiced and trained “as they always have been”, but we know better today and therefore we must do better. Thanks to the standards set by USA Football, young football tackles have made significant strides forward and will never return to where they were.

It’s 21st century football that embraces the value of team experience, teaching fundamental skills and reducing contact to teach the sport smarter and safer.

Beyond transfers, passes and smiles, kids whose leagues embrace these recommendations will be more likely to lead healthy, active lives as adults. And this is perhaps the biggest victory of all.


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