USA Football National Practice Guidelines are the first comprehensive guide for youth tackle football endorsed by leading medical organizations. They work hand-in-hand with Heads Up Football while making it easy for any youth football coach to implement health and safety recommendations.
About 90 percent of heat stroke cases occur during the first few days of practice, when athletes are unprepared to cope with environmental conditions and physiological demands.
Spend the first two weeks of practice gradually increasing the length and intensity of practice as well as the amount of equipment worn. Athletes should have access to fluids at all times and have periods of rest throughout a practice.
Practices interrupted by inclement weather or heat restrictions should only resume once conditions are safe. Modify work-to-rest ratio in extreme environmental conditions or reschedule to cooler parts of the day.
Introduce contact in a progressive manner before advancing to full-contact drills.
Air / Bags / Control / Thud / Live Action
USA Football’s Levels of Contact define five intensity levels used to introduce players to practice drills that position them to master the fundamentals quicker and increase skill development.
Preseason practices should be limited to no more than 1 practice per day and no more than 4 practices per week.
Schedule practices and activities.
Keep track of full contact limits. Share practice plans with others.
Plan when to teach or compete and when to adjust contact to promote a better experience for players.
Assign a level of contact to every drill.
Proper usage of the Levels of Contact system helps players improve their contact skills at a high level while instilling confidence. Employing the Levels of Contact system also helps reduce player fatigue, which can advance player safety.