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.
They need to be in great physical strength and conditioning to play a great game, and it also keeps them from getting hurt too easily.
------- So, are you ready for some football? :) -------
One time I waited till the first week of July to sign up my 9 year old son, and it was already too late! He still got on the team, but we were pressed for time getting him fully prepared.
We had to get him fitted for his shoulder pads and helmet the next day. 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.
They did offer late registration (with a penalty fee, of course) for the team the first week of August, but by that time he would have missed the first couple of weeks of practice and the coach evaluation.
You don't want to miss the coach evaluation! This is where the coaches determine what football position your kid would be best at playing.
So, what age do you start your kids playing tackle football?
Where I live, 5 years old is the youngest you can start your kid in football. They have to be 5 by July 31st before they can play that Fall season.
5 might be the youngest, but I 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 I put together some basic guidelines.
1. Easily emotional after a minor injury around the house or yard
2. Physically clinging onto mom and 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
I 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 I do have to say that the Pee Wee football players look so cute in their uniforms with that big helmet on ... kind of like miniature bobble heads... :-)
...but I digress...
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.
Overall the above list is the basic equipment needed for tackle football.
When we first tried our son Tucker in tackle football, it seemed to be too aggressive for him. For the next couple of seasons we put him in flag football. 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 also improved his throwing and catching skills without the anxiety of potentially being tackled.
Tucker also worked on the basic football fundamentals of snapping the ball, running routine football plays, and avoiding defensive players on the field.
He ended up playing flag football from age 9 until 11!
By the 5th grade, Tucker was ready to try tackle football again. Working on tackling, throwing and catching with his dad better prepared him.
Now it was time for middle school football tryouts.
After better preparation, he easily made the team! Growing a little taller over the last couple of years certainly helped. It was a definite confidence booster!
Maybe he just wanted to make the football team to impress the girls. ;)
Your kids are constantly growing and changing, so you never know what they want to try next!
Whatever his motivation, I was glad he overcame his previous fears about football.
Your kids are motivated by their need for recognition. They want to play good, so they will be noticed.
After my 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.
My 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 my 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.