How Will the Football Development Model Benefit My Child?

By Janis Meredith | Posted 3/11/2020

USA Football is introducing a new model for youth football called the Football Development Model. Its purpose is to make the game safer and more age-appropriate.

You’re going to hear a lot about progression — with skill, training, education and game type. Progression is how kids learn in the classroom. My husband teaches algebra, but before kids get to him, they must learn the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The Football Development Model follows a similar path of building appropriate skills in an environment that best suits the kids.

This model benefits your kids in several ways:

It focuses on your child as a whole person, not just an athlete. The honest truth is that many of your kids will not be playing sports past high school or even middle school. So, youth sports should be more than a place where kids learn athletic skills. In this model, your child will be learning life-long lessons that focus on their mental, emotional and social side.

It builds a foundation. The basics are the basics for a reason. The Football Development Model teaches fundamental movements and skills as a foundation at each stage. In the long run, this helps athletes have a better understanding of the sport and a better chance to reach their potential.

It focuses on coach training. Youth sports coaches can make big impacts on the lives of their athletes. Their influence is strong, for better or worse. That’s why it’s so important that coaches are well-trained.

It gives your child options. The Football Development Model gives your child the choice to play football how they are most comfortable—from flag to Rookie Tackle to school.

It stresses fun. At any level, football should be fun. That’s one of the foundations of the new model. Fun will be a priority so children can enjoy themselves and make friends as competition is introduced.

It encourages long-term play. All of the above benefits combined with education, science, research and training should build confidence and enthusiasm in young athletes. The result? Kids will want to play longer.

As football has grown to become one of America’s favorite sports, it’s been taught and experienced in a number of different ways around the country. That’s led to challenges you may be familiar with. Although USA Football has always stressed safety, development, values and participation, the Football Development Model is a stronger effort to help your child develop as an athlete and learn values that will impact them for life.

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at


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.