POP WARNER “AGE-BASED” FOOTBALL SPURS GROWTH!
All across America, from education, to business, to arts & entertainment, the ability of successful organizations to grow lies in their ability to adapt to changing times, while still preserving the tried-and-true. That goes for Pop Warner, too!
Soooo, ”Welcome, Age-Based!”
Fans watching the DI and DII Football teams competing in Super Bowl 64 thisweek at Camping World Stadium and surrounding gridirons, can see pretty quickly that “Age-Based” competition is where it’s at! “Age-Based” play not only rocks, it is key to the continued growth of Pop Warner - the “gold standard” in youth football.
By charting participation in youth sports in recent years we can see that successful approaches to attracting young people to a team sport, and helping to build their passion for and commitment to that sport (whether it’s football, hockey, basketball, baseball or soccer) lies in kids playing with and against other kids within a two to three year age range.
That said, skilled coaching, proper fundamentals, and play-safe approaches need to be at the core of such programs, if young athletes are to progress seamlessly from one age group to the next. Enter Pop Warner…!
It’s preaching to the choir when we point out the advantages, and generations–long traditions, of playing Pop Warner Football. No other youth sports organization puts the emphasis on fundamentals, safety, inclusion, academics, and learning beyond the game the way Pop Warner does.
It makes sense, then, that the time is right for Pop Warner to provide a complete youth football experience that moves beyond its traditional competitive play-ranging from Jr. Pee Wee to Varsity (with a big emphasis on an Age/Weight schematic), to a greater opportunity for all in “Age-Based” play. The Age-Based schematic provides a 2-year age span for the younger divisions (starting with 5/6 yr. olds.) and a 3-year age span for the older divisions (10U, 12U & 14U). No minimum or maximum weights.
Mid-America Region Director Jack Arnett tells us, “Al Perillo (RD for New England) and I stared working on introducing ‘Age-Based’ play about 5 or 6 years ago. And, now it’s really taken off. This season, our Pee Wee program basically morphed into 10U.”
Not only “morphed”, Mid-America 10U programs spurred growth across the region. For example, the K.C. Dynasty 10Us will play this week in D-I competition for national honors in Orlando. And, Jack Arnett adds, “ The only thing that prevented us from offering full 12U and 14U programs in our region was finding enough fields.” But, rest assured, he’s working on that for 2022.
Southeast Region Director Dennis Connors says, “The time was right for us. We had to make the move toward ‘Age-Based’. This season, only 5 of our programs played Traditional , Everybody else played Age-Based. And, when you look across the country, all Pop Warner Regions played levels of Age-Based competition, starting with 10U. “ Dennis adds, “Just take a look at the numbers right here at Super Bowl 64. Of the 64 teams competing for national honors, only 16 play Traditional. All the rest…48 teams total…play Age-Based. It’s the future, all right. And, the future is now!”
This season, Pop Warner’s DI and DII Age-Based competition for national consideration starts with 10U. But, waiting in Pop Warner corral, and chomping at the bit to bolt into the arena, are the NEXT generation of Pop Warner ponies. Their day will come, and likely sooner than some might think, as Age-Based play continues to bring more competition, and exciting growth, to Pop Warner Football!