John Roderique presents the USA Football philosophy of how to grow the sport during a clinic Saturday at Webb City High School.

Ideas about how to make youth football ‘fun for all’ discussed during a USA Football clinic here

Webb City coach John Roderique says the goal is to make kids want to come back next year

About 50 area coaches were asked Saturday to consider methods to make football more fun for all of their players so they will continue to play the game.

The coaches came to Webb City High School to attend a USA Football clinic and sponsored by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ 15 and the Mahomies Foundation.

The clinic was led by Webb City coach John Roderique, Mike Bellers, retired coach at Rockwood Summit, and USA Football’s Andy Ryland.

Rather than winning, Roderique said the goal for youth coaches should be to guarantee the kids keep playing.

“I want them all to play football next year,” said Roderique.

In the same vein, he spoke about concentrating on improving the athleticism of all players rather than showcasing the best athletes. USA Football furthers that idea with its podcast called “Football for All.”

“Make it fun and fulfilling,” said Bellers. “Allow kids to fall in love with the game before focusing on teaching the sport.”

Roderique said the major difference for him from when he started coaching is that “I strive to develop relationships. I want them to know I care more about them than how well they play football.”

He challenged them to be transformational coaches. “What do you want that kid to think of you as a youth coach six years from now? 

“Ask yourself, ‘How does it feel to be coached by you?’”

USA Football is promoting its Football Development Model,  designed to make the game safer by reducing contact and teaching athletes where they are in their development.

“It doesn’t have to be third-grade tackle – here we go,” said Roderique.

USA Football supports a progression through game contact types:

Flag

Rookie limited contact

Senior limited contact

Rookie tackle

Senior tackle

Other USA Football ideas include playing on a section of a regulation football field in order to run more plays and let all players have more playing time.

Ryland encouraged the coaches to think about their teams’ longterm success. “Don’t tell me how good you’ve been. Tell me how good you could be in six years.”

Mahomes may have attended the clinic if he weren’t busy enjoying the game himself at the Chiefs training camp. The 15 and the Mahomies Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of children through initiatives that focus on education, health, wellness, underserved communities, and other charitable causes. It was established by Mahomes in 2019.

Roderique’s association with USA Football and promoting a safer way to play the game goes back to July 2013 when he represented Missouri at the NFL Foundation-USA Football Youth Summit in Canton, Ohio. Earlier that year, he had become a Heads Up Football master trainer at Indianapolis, Ind., and gone on to put on a conference about player safety in St. Louis.

Webb City was picked as one of three sites in this region to host the clinic. The other two are Olathe, Kan., and Park Hill.

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