Do not start your youth football season without these 6 ‘must-haves’. These are items you’ll need, as a coach or parent, to get your athlete(s) ready for the upcoming season.
1) Fun football books. As a parent or a football coach, it is your duty to ensure your kids are (1) learning the game of football and (2) having fun. Reading football books is a great way for kids to learn the game. As children develop a love for reading, their imaginations are exercised, call it mind calisthenics. Reading will assist to unlock your athletes full potential in the classroom- so teach your guys that reading is fun! We have two favorite books for youth football athletes-
- My First Book of Football, A Rookie Book, by Mark Bechtel and Beth Bugler. This is an under $10 Sports Illustrated Kids book, perfect for kids up to 6 years old. The illustrations and large pictures of NFL players are vivid, and well placed. I like the timed countdown which shows in the top right corner of the pages, as this takes the reader through the quarter-by-quarter progression of a game. The book is a humorous introduction of what occurs during a football game from coin toss to the final second of the game. A pee-wee ballplayer illustration adds comments on each page, which are funny. It is a simple way to explain the game to a complete novice.
- The Football Fanbook, by Gary Grampling. This Sports Illustrated Kids book is a mini football encyclopedia. It’s packed with updated stats, such as Jerry Rice has the most career td’s with 208, and tidbits that you may not have known, such as Deon Sanders is the only athlete to play in a World Series and a Super Bowl. Kids that play football will benefit from the ‘talk the talk’ section, which goes through common football lingo.
2) Speed chute resistance trainer. This is excellent for youth football athletes training for speed and endurance. The chute provides the resistance which makes athletes have to work against wind resistance, while in the process of building stamina. Want to build explosive speed and learn to accelerate faster? This is how you do it. Make sure to track speed progression as the football season progresses.
3) Jump rope. A YFO favorite, jump roping is must-have for every football athlete. It is a portable training tool and fun to do. Try not to consider jump roping as just a warmup exercise, this will work your athlete(s) coordination and footwork (fast feet). After just a few weeks of consistent jump roping, you will find improved agility, balance, coordination and foot speed.
4) Tackle wheel. Many youth football leagues are minimizing the amount of time teams can execute live contact drills in practice. The tackle wheel is a solid choice because it will allow your players to practice tackling a moving target without much risk of injury. The mobility of the tackle wheel gives you a much better in-game simulation when comparing it against the old school stationary tackling dummies.
(Buy it Now on Amazon!) Fisher Tackle Wheel – 28″OD x 14″ID (EA)
5) Spread Offense playbook by Youth Football Online. The Spread playbook is our newest and most talked about playbook. The Spread is becoming more and more popular on the youth football level, the YFO version features a system of plays that are executed out of three different formations. The Spread Offense is designed to stretch the defense out horizontally, which will create natural running lanes. You do not need a mobile QB to have success with this offense, but if you do have a quarterback that can run, it adds an entirely different element for the defense to have to defend.
6) Agility ladder and speed cones set. Agility ladders are one of the most useful coaching tools you can have. There are several different drills and variations you can implement that are geared towards speed and agility development. You can also use the agility ladder to develop upper body strength. You can have the kids do push-ups, while placing their hands in each square of the ladder, moving laterally. Speed cones are excellent for when you want the kids to do cone drills. Speed cones are much better than big cones because kids don’t have to worry about tripping over them. In addition, speed cones do not take up much space in probably an already full coaching bag.
Have fun, and good luck.