How Football Shapes a Player Off the Field

By Jon Buzby | Posted 3/6/2020

Everyone always talks about how sports teach discipline beyond the playing field. But do they?

One way for a parent to see how football instills discipline away from the game itself is to pay attention to their child’s surroundings.

A football player is taught by their coach the importance of doing well in school, and in many cases, consequences are included in team rules if grades suffer. The Football Development Model stresses this in its coaching education component, imploring coaches to reiterate the balance between school, football and life.

When friends are heading out to a late-night movie or social gathering on a Friday night with school activities scheduled early the next morning, it’s usually the football player who declines and heads home to get to bed on time. It doesn’t matter if it’s a game or practices the next morning, the player knows their coach and teammates are relying on them to be at their best. And that starts with a good night’s sleep.

The football player understands the importance of proper nutrition, and not just on game day. This is taught through the Football Development Model curriculum and reinforced constantly both during the season and after it.

While every player “cheats,” it’s the football players who say “no thanks” to the second piece of cake or a free refill on the soda. They understand through education the importance of maintaining a healthy body off the field in order to obtain optimal performance on it.

Coaches constantly stress to players that they are not only expected to be good sports on the field but are required to be well-mannered off it – as stated in the first pillar of The Football Development Model’s Whole Person & Multi-Sport Development.

Football teaches players discipline on it, which is a necessity to win a game. It also teaches discipline off it, which gives them the advantage to win in life.  

Jon Buzby has been involved in and writing about youth sports for the past 30 years with perspectives as a parent, coach and board member. Jon is an award-winning writer and his latest book, “Coaching Kids Made Easier,” is available on Amazon. Send comments or future blog topics you'd like to see to and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.


USA Football's new model for youth football is designed to make the game safer by reducing contact and by teaching the game based on an athlete's age, the skill they are learning and game type.