How to become a football coach - getting certified

By USA Football | Posted 5/14/2019

Whether new to coaching or a seasoned veteran, the best football coaches are always learning.

This includes discovering new aspects of the game as well as mastering key foundational skills.

As a coach, one step you should take to continue learning is to earn your USA Football Coach Certification before you stepping on the field this season.

USA Football’s Coach Certification helps you refine your knowledge of skill and drills that are crucial for the contact components of football. It also provides in-depth information on proper equipment fitting and critical health and safety components.

So whether you're looking for how to become a football coach -- or simply how to become a better football coach, certification is a great first step. Here’s all that you’ll learn during a contact certification ...

Blocking and Defeating Blocks

Learn how to maximize performance and improve fundamental skills for blocking and defeating blocks in this area of certification.

When it comes to blocking and defeating blocks, coaches will learn these key elements:

  • Principles of Contact
  • Blocking Techniques
  • Defeating Blocks
  • Shoulder Contact
  • Force Deflection Concepts

Readily available within the certification course, these core skills also form the foundational concepts of USA Football’s Contact System.

Both offensive and defensive line coaches will benefit from this information as well as skill position coaches through consistent terminology and core techniques.

Shoulder Tackling

USA Football continues to offer leading educational resources on tackling through coach certification.

Coaches will master the core techniques of shoulder tackling, learning efficient and better ways to teach this key defensive skill. This is led by former Seattle Seahawks’ coach Rocky Seto.

You’ll learn the following concepts through drills and instructional video:

  • Form Tackle
  • Thigh & Drive Tackle
  • Thigh & Roll Tackle
  • Shoulder Tackling Drills
  • Fundamentals & Leverage

While many coaches have already made the switch to this method of tackling, the certification course gives coaches inspiration to implement new drills this season, ensuring they are fully up-to-date with regards to technique.

BONUS: These core skills form the basis of USA Football’s free Shoulder Tackling System. Once coaches complete their certification, they can find over twenty additional drills at

Non-Contact Components of Certification

Mastering on-the-field concepts is important, but the non-contact elements of football are just as crucial, and USA Football ensures these key areas of the game are covered.

When taking the certification courses in these other educational areas, coaches can expect to learn about:

  • Proper Football Equipment Fitting
  • Concussion Recognition and Response
  • Heat Preparedness and Hydration
  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest
  • Coaching 101

Please note, the course material above is slightly different for high school and middle school coaches.  A scholastic coach can expect to learn high school versions of the contact components, and these non-contact components:

  • Equipment Fitting
  • Concussion in Sports
  • Heat Illness Prevention
  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest

How to Get Certified

Whether you're just starting on your journey on how to become a football coach, or you're a seasoned veteran who is looking to become a better football coach, certification is a great start.

Starting the 2019 season by getting certified before stepping on the field means that you’ll be refreshed and informed on smarter techniques for contact for your athletes.

By getting certified, you’ll also learn important health and safety information that can help prepare you for many situations you could encounter on and off the field.

Learn more about USA Football’s Certification at