The NFL Foundation supports youth football through USA Football, the game's national governing body for youth and high school football. The goal of the NFL Youth Football program is to help children and their families enjoy the football experience every time they step on a field. All programs follow the NFL Youth Footballs Seven Guiding Principles:
- Make it fun
- Limit standing around
- Everyone plays
- Teach Every Position To Every Participant
- Emphasize the fundamentals
- Incorporate A Progression Of Skill Development For Every Participant
- Yell Encouragement, Whisper Constructive Criticism
NFL FLAG Football Division:
- Non-contact football for girls and boys ages 5 to 17
- Begun in 1996. USA Football recommends flag football to learn basic skills in a limited-contact environment.
- Emphasizes participation and sportsmanship. Young players get to play and learn all positions.
- 2 divisions: flag football and ultimate (a sort of combination of football, soccer, basketball and ultimate frisbee)
- Age Levels:
- 5-6 co-ed
- 7-8 co-ed
- 9-11 co-ed
- 12-14 boys
- 12-14 girls
- 15-17 boys
- 15-17 girls
- 2 seasons: spring and fall. Leagues can start any time of the year.
- Cost $25 for equipment and uniforms, plus individual league fees
- Regional and National tournaments for age brackets 9-11 and 12-14
- Coaches receive free coaching tools, insurance eligibility, coaching education, and team web pages in addition to equipment for their team. Coaches can be certified by National Council for Accreditation and Coaching Education (NCACE).
- Players enjoy wearing NFL team-branded jerseys and NFL Flag football belts. They also have player's insurance ocverage.
- Background checks for coaches are subsidized, and the league is dedicated to a safe game.
- More: NFLFLAG.com
NFL Pepsi Punt, Kick and Pass:
- National skills competition for girls and boys ages 8 to 15 in 4 age brackets: 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, and 14-15
- Establish in 1961, the oldest of the NFL Youth Football programs
- Participation is free
- More: NFLPPK.com
USA Football Player Clinics - FUNdamentals
FUNdamentals is a turn-key youth football clinic offered by USA Football. It can be hosted anywhere desired, including by groups, multi-sport facilities, or physical education teachers. Children are introduced to football, learning basic skills such as passing, catching and running. It is a non-contact setting that is age-appropriate. USA Football provides the curriculum, manual, footballs, flag belts, cones, t-shirts, and an online registration system.
NFL High School Player Development
This program is no longer offered by the NFL. Formerly, it provided academic counseling, skill training, and online study to prepare high school players for collegiate programs.
Why NFL Youth Football Programs:
- Both boys and girls play
- Flag football and ultimate offer non-contact football options
- Development programs train children for the next level of play
- Leagues appear to be easy to find and wide-spread
- Some may not like girls and boys playing together on co-ed teams
- Some may prefer teams remain co-ed through the teen years
NFL Youth Football offers a selection of programs for both boys and girls of all ages.
Their programs include fun, skill development, academic encouragement and preparation for playing at higher levels. NFL Youth Football is a great choice for any child interested in playing football.