Atom Program Format as of 2015
On April 8th, the Capital District Minor Football Association (CDMFA) came together, voted on moving away from the current full sized game just like the Edmonton Eskimos play, into a revised age appropriate game for Atom Football. The CDMFA is one of the last associations in Canada to adjust our sport in the capital district to align with the principles of Long Term Athlete Development, a national program for an international direction to provide a better sports environment that improves upon safety and personal development in an age appropriate method. The changes will be familiar to those involved in other sports, as they have all paved the way with revised rules that allow coaches to focus on player development at a young age.
The change from 12 a side tackle football to 6 side tackle football we come into effect for the 2015 Atom football season. The change is for all minor football association in the capital region.
Six-a-side tackle football also offers a distinct advantage to grassroots football development. The focus of the league is skill development and participation. As an introduction to tackle football the six-a-side game is superior; it allows for a far bigger skill set to be developed by each player. Fewer players on each team ensures that there is more one on one coaching made available to each player. Coaches will take the time to teach each player a variety of positions in a fun inclusive environment.
The lower number of players allows more opportunities for players to touch the ball and ultimately be more directly involved in the game. A smaller field also allows for a better opportunity for athletes to showcase their abilities on a field that is more appropriate for the age, size, and skill of the players playing. Allowing players to become more involved in the game is developmentally advantageous, especially at younger ages where children have yet to reach their full physical and cognitive development. Coaching six-a-side football at any age places emphasis on skill generalization as opposed to skill specialization. With skill generalization as the focus of six-a-side football players will be equipped with knowledge and skill set to play several positions which can be particularly beneficial as the players physically develop; the position one plays at age 9 may not be the position he/she plays at age 16 simply because his/her body type has changed so drastically throughout puberty. Fewer players on the field also offer the distinct cognitive advantage for younger children because there is more emphasis on skill and less on scheme or strategy.
Smaller playing surface which is more suitable to the size of the participants.
Greater opportunity to be involved in the play (i.e. touching the ball on offence or making the tackle on defence)
Fewer players on the field there allows for less external distractions
It becomes easier to read and react to a play facilitating the cognitive response of the athlete
Six-a-side football also offers an advantage to coaches creating a
positive psycho-social environment because there are fewer players on the team it allows the head coach a greater opportunity for one on one interaction with the players where he/she can model positive behaviours and techniques for the youth to internalize.
The aim of the six-a-side football curriculum is participation in the game and development of football skills among youth in a success based environment by upholding the following values of coaching in sport.
St. Albert Minor Football is proud to partner with Capital District Minor Football Association, Football Alberta, Football Canada, and the Canadian Football League to bring you this excellent game.