As the football season nears, you may be debating whether or not it is a wise decision to involve your child in tackle football. Do the risks outweigh the benefits? We say kids should be involved in football earlier rather than later. As a growing movement of lawmakers and media sources speak against tackle football at the youth level, we will examine top reasons why kids need to play tackle football.
- Learning proper tackling technique at an early age, progressively throughout time, results in greater tackling technique at a later age. Kids will learn how to be less afraid of contact. A kid that does not have a grip on how to tackle at age 13, may pose a risk to other kids on the football field. Learning how to tackle at a younger age, rather than later, is a confidence builder.
- Tackle youth football practices are of greater intensity and require a higher degree of physicality. A single tackle football play is a complex series of movements that require all extremities to be in sync, by a full team. The tackle football experience differs greatly versus a 7on7 (whereas tackle focuses on strength/speed/hand placement/technique, the latter focuses primarily on speed with a lesser degree of technique). Introduction to strength training is also a byproduct of the various football drills and calisthenics taught.
- Helmet and equipment technology is improving at a feverish pace. Helmet manufacturers are being graded for safety. Youth football safety studies are being conducted across America, in top universities, with the sole mission to improve player health and safety. Read about Virgina Tech University’s current youth football study here.
- Tackle football offers a greater challenge. Kids will be taught how to use their hands, feet and mind systematically, it is incredible development of a child’s motor skills at an early age. This challenge instills discipline in a variety of ways, starting at the line of scrimmage. Winning the battle at the line of scrimmage requires great effort & mental fortitude.
- Tackle football strengthens the teammate brotherhood bond. You’ll go to battle with your teammates. You’ll want to encourage, protect and do well for your brothers. As an o-lineman, you have a duty to your team, your band of brothers, to protect your QB from getting hit. This type of on-field battle certainly tightens the bond between teammates.
- Youth football leagues have definitive rules against over hitting at practice. Youth coaches across the country are much more aware of the safety requirements, thanks to programs such as USA Football’s Heads Up Football. This includes concussion prevention, recognition and awareness. Therefore the likelihood of injury due to tackling has decreased immensely. Youth football safety is paramount.
- Tackle football teaches toughness and aggressiveness. Football at its core is not a soft sport, and hitting and being hit is a pertinent aspect of the game. There is a literal and figurative lesson being taught- when you get knocked down, you must get back up. A life lesson that your child will keep with him forever.
As with any sport, early fundamental learning is essential to athlete development. Kids that play tackle football will come to learn the various life lessons of the sport including discipline, aggressiveness, and teamwork at a greater level than arguably any other sport (due to the work put in and amount of time spent at practice).