FNF Coaches Talk — USA Football Development Model, Lousville Partners with Catapult, Concussion Education


Welcome back, Coaches. We’re ready to kick off the season this Friday night, and we’ve got some stories to share with you.

1. Opinion: USA Football’s development model teaches how to be an athlete before a player (USA Today)

USA Football is piloting the game’s first long-term development program in the hopes of growing the game and catching up to other sports around the world.

The sport’s governing body launched its Football Development Model on Thursday, announcing six youth leagues will team up with USA Football in the hopes of attracting more young players and improving skills. The leagues will experiment with new ways to coach fundamentals in practice, aiming to hone skills while cutting down on full-speed contact that ends with players going to the ground. The FDM also will also encourage leagues to experiment with different ways to play the game, including flag football, padded flag football and modified games with smaller fields and fewer than 11 players on each team.

Dr. Brian Hainline is the Chief Medical Officer of the NCAA and serves as the chair of USA Football’s Football Development Model Council. He published a piece in USA Today coming out in strong support of the Football Development Model.

A key to smarter and better football, and virtually any sport, is to learn to become an athlete before you learn to become a player. What does it mean to be an athlete? It means obtaining competency in areas such as agility, balance, coordination, speed, stamina and strength. When this is your foundation, you can play any sport and engage in any type of exercise for the rest of your life. And what an 8-year-old is ready to do is very different than what a 14-year-old is ready to do. And not all 11 year-old boys and girls are the same. The FDM will take this into consideration.

Hainline makes the case that football also helps to develop social skills in youth players.

In addition to fitness and physical literacy, which statistics show is lacking in children today, there’s a social harmony in football that is unique in sport. Further, football may be one of the most equal opportunity sports in this country. We must create a safe, science-based narrative for football and all sports, and this must counter both fear-based narratives as well as the ever-increasing propensity for youth to replace sport with virtual reality on a screen.

What model would you use for teaching youth players the game of football?

2. Louisville Athletics partners with Catapult Sports (Louisville Athletics)

University of Louisville Athletics has announced a partnership with Catapult in its ongoing effort to provide its student-athletes with the latest in technology optimized to reach peak performance. Louisville is implementing Catapult’s Athlete Management System (AMS) for its 23 teams, which is designed to maximize performance while minimizing risk by consolidating key performance, health and wellness data in one place.

The Catapult AMS platform provides data with insights into training and performance in addition to resources designed to help reduce injury risk, collect and manage medical data and assist with injury management and the recovery process. Catapult technology has been used in 39 sports in 135 countries worldwide, however Louisville is one of the first Division I institutions to implement the management system across all its sports.

What player monitoring systems are you using at the high school level? Which do you like best?

3. Things You Need to Know About Concussions (MaxPreps)

Scott Burkhart is a sports neuropsychologist at the Children’s Health Andrews Institute in Plano, Texas. Educating athletes and parents about concussions is part of his role at the institute.

Concussions are a serious matter, and it’s not just a football issue. While not typically life-threatening, they can have long-term effects on how your child learns, acts and participates in sports. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential to minimize any effects and possibly shorten your child’s recovery.

Children’s Health Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine places a special emphasis on educating patients and the community about the dangers of concussions. The comprehensive program helps children and teens:

• Recover from a concussion

• Return to school with learning accommodations, if applicable

• Return to sports at the earliest appropriate time

Check out the video to learn more.

What is something you’ve learned about concussions in the last five years?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk!