Meeting within the busy confines of the annual AFCA Convention, held at the Gaylord Opryland, were IFAF Technical Committee members Aitor Trabado (Spain), Mac Kaneuji (Japan), Jim Messenger (UK), Thomas Ahlberg (Sweden), Reneldo Russell (Bahamas), Rick Sowieta (Canada), Scott Hallenbeck (USA) and Paul Manera (Australia).
The group discussed how to continue the progress of the IFAF Benchmarking Study, a new initiative that has surveyed national federations around the world and asks a comprehensive number of key questions about football and its global development. The committee reviewed the 2008 study and discussed the implementation of the 2009 study.
With youth development high on the committee’s agenda, several means of improving standards were agreed upon:
- Flag football resources for youth players, coaches and officials will be created in countries where the game is in its infancy and can be taught to newcomers in its simplest form.
- A comprehensive document that covers all aspects on how to play and coach football and a DVD, which were both devised by Football Canada, were approved for IFAF use.
- A coaching certification template will be created for coaches in emerging countries.
- USA Football’s Level 1 and Level 2 online coaching courses for youth coaches around the world were approved for IFAF use.
- IFAF will create a long-term athlete development program that all its member countries can adopt. The plan will help guide coaches through a process of how to develop players at certain ages. It will also be used to educate youth football players, coaches and officials.
The committee also agreed that IFAF would invest resources in training native country coaches to an advanced level. Those coaches will then be responsible for conducting clinics and ensuring their country’s coaches receive instruction to allow them to continue the development of the sport.
To conclude the meeting, having reviewed the goals and achievements of 2008, the group announced that the third biannual IFAF Technical Conference is to be held in Orlando, Florida from January 7-10 in 2010.