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Thinking about signing your child up for youth football, but aren’t sure what to expect? I’ve got you covered!
This is my two oldest son’s first year playing youth football and today I’m going to share with you what we have experienced so far, what I expected, and even some tips and tricks that I have picked up along the way to make football work for our schedules, especially with me having work, them having school, and of course me committing to my own health goals via kickboxing.
Something they can enjoy together and work off energy during the weekdays. Finally got this #football routine down. #footballmom #7citiespanthers
413 Likes, 2 Comments – Victoria | Virginia Blogger| (@msvictoriah) on Instagram: “Something they can enjoy together and work off energy during the weekdays. Finally got this…”
If your sons have never played football, or any type of sport before, I highly suggest before paying for them to play football, that you have them go to summer conditioning. This is usually offered for free a few times a week and it allows your son to see whether they are going to be able to keep up with the physical aspect of playing football.
Thankfully, my boys and I work out together on days when I don’t make it to kickboxing and must work out in the evenings at home, so they were familiar with the majority of the exercises that go on during conditioning.
Exercises to Expect to Be Performed During Summer Football Conditioning
- Running around the football field for a few laps
- High Knees
It’s a Huge Time Commitment
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You probably already know that football is going to take a lot of time on both you and your child’s part. Since my boys are only 6 and 7 I can’t just drop them off at practice and be on my way. Either I or their dad must be there for the entire practice to make sure they are staying on task. Plus, it’s no one’s responsibility but your own to make sure your kid is safe and where they’re supposed to be.
Tip: If it’s not possible for you to attend practice 3-5 times per week and commit most of your Saturdays to spend 2-3 hours at a game, football probably isn’t the right fit for your kids right now.
A Peek into Our Football Schedule
When first starting out with conditioning they had to condition three times per week for 2 hours per day. Then, when it was time for actual practice during the summer, the practice was up to 5 days per week for 1 ½-2 hours per day. Now, with school in, we do about 3 times per week for 1 ½ hours per day. However, on game days, you must come about an hour or so early, and then there are volunteer events and other football-related events that add into that factor.
Now, keep in mind, that every team is different so you may have to commit to less or more hours than I must commit to.
Schedules Can Change Last Minute
473 Likes, 5 Comments – Victoria | Virginia Blogger| (@msvictoriah) on Instagram: “Game day! #footballmom #football”
Like with anything in life, football schedules can change last minute. Practice may have to be canceled 30 minutes or less before its scheduled to start or Saturday’s game may have a change of location Friday evening. It’s even possible that your practice may be moved to a different field less than an hour before practice is scheduled to start.
With my son’s current team, the changes wouldn’t have been all that bad if everyone could have been on the same page. In the beginning, emails were being sent out, then it went to Facebook updates on the team page, and then it went to mass texts. So, as you can imagine things were all over the place. However, now we’re hoping to change that with TeamSnap.
How TeamSnap Makes Sure Everyone Is in The Loop About the Team Schedule
First, if your child’s football team isn’t using TeamSnap yet, I highly recommend that you have the coach sign up for the free 3-month trial that includes all the amazing features of the Ultra Plan, typically $17.99 per month. You can also move to the free plan at any time! This iOS and Android app make it so everyone can receive real-time notifications on their phone whenever something changes. No more having to remember to check your email or check the Facebook group before leaving home to ensure you’re going to the right place. Plus, TeamSnap offers some pretty amazing features such as my personal favorites that I have highlighted below:
- You can message the entire team or just a select few team members.
- Assignments can be handed out right through the app so everyone knows when it’s their turn to bring snacks or water.
- Payments can be processed right through the app so no worrying about going to the ATM to get cash to pay in person.
- Availability is handled through the app so coaches can know when certain players won’t be able to make a game so there are no last-minute surprises. (For one game, our quarterback was missing so you can imagine how confusing it was for the players when they had practiced one thing and then had to learn something else last minute)
- Statistics are provided via the app so you can keep track of your child’s team wins and losses.
- Photos and videos from the games and/or practice can be added to the app so parents who aren’t able to attend can still stay in the loop.
- TeamSnap Live is perfect for keeping everyone informed while the game is going on. Perfect for knowing if an after game meeting needs to happen or if someone is treating the team to ice cream.
As you can see, TeamSnap is an essential key to handling football like a boss!
It’s Possible Your Child May Not Perform Their Best
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When my youngest son started he was 5 about to turn 6. He did well with conditioning during the summer. However, now it’s like he gets lost in his own little world after the first 5-10 minutes of practice. The coach must constantly tell him to stop talking and it’s obvious that he isn’t paying attention most of the time. Honestly, even though I had already paid for the year I’ve considered pulling him out. We’ve had multiple conversations and he’s said he enjoys playing football and wants to continue but it is obvious that he isn’t performing his best.
Your Child May Get Put on the Sidelines
Because of not performing at his best, talking constantly, and obviously not knowing the plays, this results in my middle son and his comrade being sent to the sidelines a lot. While it’s discouraging to me as a parent, I can’t be mad at the coach for sidelining him because he’s not doing what he needs to do.
Therefore, it is something that can happen and will happen if it turns out that your child is more of a social butterfly and spends time conversing instead of paying attention.
For now, I don’t have a solution for you, unfortunately, as I am still testing out some methods, but when I do come up with a solution maybe I’ll follow up with another post.
There’s More Than the Football Registration Fee
Little brother helping the big brothers with their #football #carwash #fundraiser #7citiespanthers #footballmom #momlife #757
163 Likes, 5 Comments – Victoria | Virginia Blogger| (@msvictoriah) on Instagram: “Little brother helping the big brothers with their #football #carwash #fundraiser #7citiespanthers…”
I mentioned earlier how football comes with a large time commitment. However, another thing you want to think about before signing your child up for football is if you can afford to do so financially. There’s more to football than the football registration fee.
At a minimum, you’re going to have to purchase the following items:
- Practice jersey
- Practice pants in a specific color (ours is black)
- Football socks
- A pair of cleats
- Water bottle
However, if you don’t want to have to do laundry every day I would suggest purchasing at least two pairs of practice pants, 3 pairs of football socks, and two mouthpieces.
Already, one son lost one of his mouthpieces at practice so his backup came in handy and one son has ripped a pair of his practice pants. Additionally, my oldest has already run down his cleats so purchasing him a new pair must happen soon.
Furthermore, you also must account for paying to get into the home games, footing the bill for mandatory fundraisers if you don’t want to hassle your friends and family to purchase stuff outside, or in addition to school fundraisers, and any other miscellaneous sports stuff that may occur. Also, let’s not forget to factor in transportation costs for away games. I know we have some that are about 1 ½ hours away one way.
It May Be More Physical for Them Than You Expect
This point goes back to testing out conditioning for them. While my boys are used to doing exercises working out with me and they like being outside and doing pushups and stuff with their dad as well, the warmup/workout part of practice may not be a match for everyone. In fact, I joked with my mom that the boys just as well take up kickboxing with me since they are doing pretty much the same workout that I do for the first part of the class minus the burpees.
So, I want to reiterate that summer conditioning should be done before you invest into football so you can make sure that your child is physically able to handle it.
They May Be Playing Tackle and Not Flag
Another thing you want to consider is whether you’re signing your child up for flag or tackle football and if you’re okay with them doing tackle.
When signing my boys up, I did so online and it didn’t go into details on whether it would be flag or tackle, but in my case, I was okay with either one since I knew a few coaches that had filled me in with what to expect with both types.
You Will Have to Practice with Your Child at Home
Since this is your kids first year playing football, I’m assuming you want them to be the best that they can be, which means that you are going to have to practice with them at home. I have helped the boys work on their throwing and catching skills plenty weekends (I have the broken, now short, nails to prove it) and their dad works with them on weeknights when there isn’t practice and they have their homework done.
I can see this helps as my oldest is rocking it on the field and I know that comes in from the extra time that we put in with him at home.
They Will Have to Adjust to Acknowledging That It’s Not All Fun
While people will say that football should be fun for them I don’t agree this is 100% true. Trust me, I think that’s the mindset my middle son has, which is why he doesn’t get to play as much as I would like and is notorious for riding the sideline.
I do agree it must be fun for them to want to do it but at the same time, they must know that it’s something that needs to be taken seriously especially if this is something that they want to continue playing throughout the years.
Practice is a time to work on perfecting your skills and game day is the day to show off all the hard work that you’ve been putting in all week. Once the game is over, sure go celebrate, win or lose!
It’s Not as Dangerous as You’re Probably Thinking
The first time someone mentioned I should put the boys in football I thought they had lost their mind. When I had my first kid back in 2009, I had said he would never play sports, especially football, because it was so dangerous. Oh, silly me, look at me now!
While it is true that injuries can happen, if your child is listening to the coach and doing what they should, the likelihood is slim. They have safety precautions in place because it’s no one’s goal to have your child get hurt.
You May Have to Adjust Your Expectations
When going into this football thing, I’ll be honest and say that I was expecting it to be kind of like Friday Nite Tikes. Practice hard during the week, be very disciplined and so on. However, that’s not the way it goes on their team at all. It’s more casual and laid back.
I also didn’t expect one son to be so in his own world all of the time either, but I have adjusted my expectations and go with the flow now. This is just their first year so next year we can evaluate what needs to go differently.
Final Thoughts on Youth Football: The First Year
Overall, this year has definitely been a learning experience, but for the most part, it has been positive. TeamSnap makes things run a little smoother and I am looking to see what the rest of the year holds.
How did your first year of your child playing youth sports go? Share what you learned and what you would have done differently in the comments section below.