USA Football has taken another major step in coaching education on the youth level, having its youth coach certification accredited by the U.S. Center for Coaching Excellence.
The governing body for the sport in this country joins track and field as the only such organizations with USCCE accreditation for coach education curricula.
“The USCCE is proud to accredit coaching education programs like USA Football,” said USCCE President Kristen Dieffenbach, “that have focused on providing an evidence-based educational support system to coaches — particularly the volunteer youth sport coaches — that provides them with the knowledge, skills and resources they need to teach young people within sport, and to provide great experiences and outcomes.”
Since 2013, more than 900,000 USA Football youth coaching certifications have been completed. That figure includes youth coaches who have completed the certification more than once during the past 10 years. USA Football, a member of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, trains and certifies more tackle and flag football coaches than any organization in the United States. In the past decade, certifications have been completed by coaches in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and 10 countries across four continents.
As more and more parents and, in some cases, football novices, have gotten involved in coaching youngsters, the need for well-structured, in-depth courses focusing on safety, age-appropriate actions, and equipment have become necessary. The youth coach certification program is the centerpiece for that.
“USA Football is a leader among sport organizations in the United States,” Dieffenbach said. “They have created a comprehensive teaching-based coaching education program that supports the development of the knowledge and skills an individual needs to provide ‘right age, right stage’ coaching that aligns with USA Football’s long-term athletic development framework. The alignment of their coaching education with their athlete development guidelines supports a system … that prioritizes both quality development and participation experiences for all involved.”
The accredited certification encompasses athlete health and safety; abuse prevention; skill and technique development for tackling and blocking; and the Football Development Model, which was created by a group of medical, football, and athlete development experts to deliver age-appropriate teaching methods. Updated for the 2022 season, it delivers customized certification pathways for coaches based on their certification history and the game type they coach, spanning flag through tackle football.
“Today’s news underscores how USA Football remains at the forefront of coach education for our children and their families,” said Dr. Gerard Gioia, Children’s National Hospital Neuropsychology Division chief who also chairs USA Football’s medical advisory panel. “USA Football’s certification represents the best of youth sports. From player safety to exciting player skill development, this is what 21st century youth sports coach preparation looks like, and it is what moms and dads should expect from a sport’s national governing body. USA Football does vitally important work, advancing youth athletes’ health and wellness through a terrific team sport for our kids.”
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