USA Football reaches milestone in coaching accreditation

USA Football has taken another major step in coaching education at the youth level, having its youth coaching certification accredited by the US Center for Coaching Excellence.

The sport’s governing body in this country joins track and field as the only such organization to be accredited by the USCCE for coach education programs.

“The USCCE is proud to accredit coach education programs like USA Football,” said USCCE President Kristen Dieffenbach, “who have focused on providing an educational support system grounded in coaches – especially volunteer youth sports coaches – that provides them with the knowledge, skills and resources they need to teach young people in sport and to deliver great experiences and results.

Since 2013, over 900,000 USA Football youth coaching certifications have been completed. This figure includes young coaches who have been certified more than once in the past 10 years. USA Football, a member of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, trains and certifies more tackle and flag football coaches than any organization in the United States. Over the past decade, certifications have been completed by coaches in all 50 states, Washington, DC and 10 countries on four continents.

As more parents, and in some cases football newbies, have become involved in coaching youngsters, the need for in-depth, well-structured lessons that focus on safety, age-appropriate actions and equipment has become necessary. The Junior Coach Certification Program is the centerpiece of this.

“USA Football is a leader among sports organizations in the United States,” Dieffenbach said. “They have created a comprehensive, education-based coach education program that supports the development of the knowledge and skills an individual needs to provide ‘right age, right stage’ coaching that aligns with the framework. USA Football’s long-term athletic development program. Aligning their coaching education with their athlete development guidelines supports a system…that prioritizes both quality development and participation experiences for everyone involved.

Accredited certification encompasses athlete health and safety; abuse prevention; development of tackling and blocking skills and techniques; and the Football Development Model, which was created by a group of medical, football and athlete development experts to provide age-appropriate teaching methods. Updated for the 2022 season, it features personalized certification pathways for coaches based on their certification history and the type of game they coach, from flag to tackle football.

“Today’s news underscores how USA Football remains at the forefront of coaching education for our children and their families,” said Dr. Gerard Gioia, head of the neuropsychology division of the National Children’s Hospital, who also chairs the USA Football Medical Advisory Committee. “The USA Football certification represents the best of sports for young people. From player safety to exciting player skill development, here’s what sports coaching preparation for young people in the 21st century looks like, and what moms and dads should expect from the national governing body of a sport. USA Football does vitally important work, advancing the health and well-being of young athletes through a great team sport for our children.

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