Tackle football is a rough and tough sport. It can be intimidating for your child at first.
You might check out kids flag football before reading this.
...But, if you feel your child is ready for full pads and heavy hitting...read on...
Football is an aggressive, full contact sport that takes stamina and endurance.
Kids need to be in good physical condition to play this sport.
Great physical strength and conditioning is a MUST to play a great game, and will keep them from getting hurt too easily.
------- So, are you ready for some football? :) -------
One season we waited till the first week of July to sign up our 9 year old son, and it was too late! Luckily they still allowed him on the team, but we were pressed for time getting him fully prepared.
The very next day we had to get him fitted for his shoulder pads and helmet. His team started practicing on July 25th, and some teams started earlier than that.
Again, kids flag football is different. They generally play flag football in the Fall, Spring or even the Summer in most areas.
Late registration was available (with a penalty fee, of course) the first week of August, but by that time he already missed the first two weeks of practice and the coach evaluation.
You don't want to miss the coach evaluation! This is where the coaches determine which football position is best for your kid.
You may think you know the best position for your child to play, but don't be surprised if the coaches think differently.
What is the best age for your kids to start playing tackle football?
Where we live, 5 years old is the youngest you can start your kid in football. They need to be at least 5 years old by July 31st before they can play that Fall season.
5 years old might be the youngest, but we don't recommend children starting that early. It's a matter of personal preference, but many kids that age aren't mentally or physically ready for this rough sport.
Certainly not all kids will be ready to start playing tackle football at 5, but some are.
The parents are always the best judge of their kids, but we put together some basic guidelines.
1. Easily emotional after a minor injury around the house or yard
2. Physically clinging onto mom and/or dad frequently
3. Frequent temper tantrums
4. Doesn't get along with other kids their age
5. Doesn't take direction well from parents or other adults
We highly recommend kids starting with flag football first to get a basic understanding of the game. It's a great way to introduce your kids to football.
----- Though we do think the Pee Wee football players look so cute in their uniforms with that big helmet on ... kind of like miniature bobble heads... :-)
Youth Football Player Equipment:
Adult Football Player Equipment:
If you get the additional padding (abdomen or forearms), it can help prevent further injury but can also get in the way of playing.
The optional football equipment suggestions above will depend on if the player and/or parents want to use them.
When our first son, Tucker, tried tackle football it was too aggressive for him. We put him in flag football for the next couple of seasons and he LOVED it!!!
Flag football was an excellent choice for him. He learned some basic football rules and wasn't worried about getting tackled too hard during a game or practice.
Flag football also improved his throwing and catching skills without the anxiety of potentially being tackled.
Tucker also learned football basics such as snapping the ball, running routine football plays, and avoiding defensive players on the field.
He played flag football from age 9 till 11!
By the 5th grade, Tucker was ready to try tackle football again. He worked on tackling, throwing and catching with his dad to better prepare him.
Then it was time for middle school football tryouts.
After better preparation, he easily made the middle school football team! Growing a little taller over the last couple of years certainly helped and was a definite confidence booster too!
We think he just wanted to make the football team to impress the girls. Oh well, it worked! ;-)
Whatever his motivation, we were glad he overcame his previous fears about football.
Your kids are motivated by their need for recognition and self-esteem. They want to be noticed by their friends to feel accepted, so they know they are fitting in.
Most importantly they want to be recognized by their parents. They want to play good for you in hopes that you will be proud of them.
After our son conquering his fears, he played tackle football every season since the start of his 5th grade year! He steadily improved his game over the years, and definitely broke out of his shell.
In the 8th grade he was playing both offense and defense in various positions and was rarely off the field!
By 9th grade, he was still playing offense and defense with little bench time, and to think this boy was once afraid of playing football at all.
You don't want to get too concerned when your children are afraid of something when they are younger. You never know if or when they might grow out of it.
Our second son, Max, has a completely different story!
For our son, Max, tackle football came naturally. He played every Fall season.
Many times your kids know what they like from an early age, so there is no need to force them into something they don't like. There is always another sport to try.
Their interest may not be sports related at all, maybe they like sewing, painting or reading instead.
Checkout our page on activities for kids to explore other non-sport related tasks for your kids to do.
Explore them all if you get a chance, you never know where it will lead them.