Coach and Athletic Director

July/August 2017

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42 J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 7 USA FOOTBALL sponsored content In order to continue to grow, perhaps the sport of football needs to shrink a bit. USA Football is excited to announce the release of its Rookie Tackle pilot program, a bridge between flag football and traditional 11-player tackle football which features, among other modifications, smaller fields and fewer players per team. This fall, 11 youth leagues in nine states will pilot Rookie Tackle, which draws from the U.S. Olympic Committee's American Development Model (ADM) to help young athletes learn, grow and develop within a sport. In addition to serving as a way for flag football players to transition to 11-player football, Rookie Tackle provides an entry point to learn tackle football skills in a smaller setting with more hands-on instruction. "This is an exciting step in our sport's evolution for the good of young athletes," said Scott Hallenbeck, USA Football CEO. "The 11 youth programs participating in this pilot season will help us evaluate Rookie Tackle and the benefits of a player pathway for athletes, coaches and parents." One traditional field is large enough to contain two Rookie Tackle games simultaneously. Teams consist of six, seven or eight players while players on offensive and defensive lines begin each play in a two-point stance. There are no special teams in Rookie Tackle, fostering a quicker- paced game with more offensive and defensive snaps as players rotate through multiple positions. Following the 2017 season, USA Football will evaluate and review the pilot to understand how everyone involved— players, parents, coaches and commissioners—took to the concept and what changes may improve it for 2018. Key football stakeholders see the Rookie Tackle pilot as an innovative step forward for younger players. "It's a game that teaches so much, it's a great education, it's a stepping stone, it's a transition to 11-player football and I can't think of a better game that does it," said National High School Hall of Fame football coach Chuck Kyle of Cleveland St. Ignatius High School. "The proper development of young players is important to ensure the sport's long-term viability, and Rookie Tackle is the right step to ensure football's enjoyment is continued for generations to come," said Bill Polian, Pro Football Hall of Famer and ESPN NFL analyst. Added Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach and NBC Sports NFL Analyst Tony Dungy, "Rookie Tackle has the potential to enhance the social and physical benefits football provides young athletes today. As a coach, I see not only a pathway for the development of youth players, but also a pathway for youth football coaches." To learn more about the USA Football Rookie Tackle pilot program, visit usa football kicks off ROOKIE TACKLE PILOT PROGRAM From USA Football Circle #118 or text CADJUL 118 to 41411

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