2019 WFFL Update
The Wasatch Front Football League has made some significant changes in the Mite divisions. Both Jr Mite and Mitey Mite will implement the USA Football Rookie Tackle. Rookie Tackle is a small-sided tackle football game designed to be implemented as a bridge between flag football and 11-on-11 tackle. It also serves as a child’s first experience to tackle football.
By modifying the game at our younger age groups - including the elimination of the 3-point stance and special teams- we can create an age-appropriate, athlete-centered experience.
The goals of Rookie Tackle are:
1. Participants learning the “all positions, all football skills” model.
a. Not all players may play every position, every game or even through the course of the entire season. All players should have at least one offensive and defensive line position as well as one offensive and defensive skill position to play each game.
b. In practice, players should learn all skills of all positions for development purposes in accordance with the American Development Model principles.
2. Maximizing player enjoyment and skill development.
3. Ensuring all players have meaningful playing time and the opportunity for improvement and success during game action.
4. Providing a bridge between flag football and the 11-player, full-field tackle version or as an introduction prior to 11-player tackle.
5. Encouraging leagues to play on a smaller field size that is appropriately scaled to the age and skill level of the youth football player.
6. Encouraging a fast-paced game with more plays, greater activity and the promotion of fun.
7. Emphasizing fundamental skill development by isolating situations for players to showcase their abilities via formation regulations and limited field size.
8. Allowing leagues and clubs to maximize field space by playing two games at a time on one regulation-sized football field.
9. Limiting roster sizes to foster participation and provide more focused, individualized coaching attention during practice and on game day.
a. Roster caps are recommended at two times the number of player on the field, (meaning a league/club playing 8-on-8 should cap rosters at 16). Smaller rosters are preferred.
b. Fewer players on the sideline means fewer substitutions and more playing time for each athlete.
By playing Rookie Tackle in the year(s) between flag and 11-player football, coaches and administrators are able to:
• Increase teams’ coach-to-player ratio
• Play in an age-appropriate space
• Decrease the cognitive load on individual players
• Lessen the number of players on the field
• Focus on skill development
• Foster a fun, positive experience for young players
These are just some of the factors that allow coaches to dedicate greater attention to skill development, especially newly introduced skills of blocking and tackling. A greater focus on teaching these aspects of the sport advances young players’ understanding and learning of foundation skills, helping them transition to 11-player tackle and regulation sized fields.
USA Football’s Rookie Tackle pilot season in 2017 encompassed 10 youth leagues that changed the game type in their youngest contact age division from 11-player to Rookie Tackle. Whether that division is age- or grade-based depended on the community as did the decision to play Rookie Tackle within a single-year division or a two-year division – whichever fit the league structure was permitted. This model has been the most efficient way for leagues to incorporate Rookie Tackle into a player pathway and offer the innovative game type to its families.
The WFFL will allow three total coaches for each Jr Mite and Mitey Mite team. Jr Mite rosters will max out at 14 with the 7 on 7 module. Mitey Mites 8 on 8 module will have a maxed out roster of 16. Practice time will be cut in about half of our older divisions making it easier for families and for the attention span of our younger players.
For additional information please visit USA Football Rookie Tackle Resources. Minor WFFL modifications will apply. To apply to coach click here and email a completed copy to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also utilize that email for questions or concerns.