USA Football’s Rookie Tackle program is the sport’s newest program. It is currently being debuted at the youth level and in 11 cities across the U.S.
According to an article published in USA TODAY, Rookie Tackle features smaller fields, fewer players, no special teams and no three-point stances. It is intended to be a bridge between flag football and 11-man tackle. Many changes are in store, with the following goals:
- Allows leagues with limited registered players to field more teams
- Participants rotate and learn multiple positions and skills on offensive and defense
- Smaller fields (see diagram) are scaled to create an appropriate playing space for the age and abilities of younger athletes
- Smaller fields also allow leagues to utilize field space more efficiently.
- Smaller rosters: To provide a greater coach-to-player ratio to foster individual attention and skill development
- Rule modifications result in more snaps on offense and defense for younger players
While the program is only beginning just now, it is expected to grow. Field builders, therefore, can expect to get questions from customers on marking fields, either temporarily or permanently, for the new game.
According to USA Football, the program follows the American Development Model (ADM), created by the United States Olympic Committee and first introduced by USA Hockey; it is intended to serve as a framework for long-term athlete development. According to the website, USA Football will use a similar blueprint to develop and pilot a new pathway for youth players and coaches. The ADM joins heads up football in USA Football’s ongoing commitment to advancing the sport for millions of young athletes across our nation.
USA football’s ultimate goal is to establish a game pathway for youth football from Flag to Rookie Tackle to 11-player Tackle. The organization compares Rookie Tackle’s place in the program to that of baseball, which begins with tee-ball, and gradually immerses children in all aspects of the sport. It is also hoped it will deliver a system for player and coach development, create an environment that focuses on player fundamentals and enhance player enjoyment with rule modifications that increase participation.