What to Expect During Your Child’s First Year of Youth Football

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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.

Summer Conditioning

Something they can enjoy together and work off energy during the weekdays. Finally got this #football routine down. #footballmom #7citiespanthers

409 Likes, 1 Comments – Victoria | Content Creator (@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
  • Sit-ups
  • Lunges
  • Pushups
  • High Knees

It’s a Huge Time Commitment

Ready for their 1st #football game. #footballmom #7citiespanthers #757

697 Likes, 1 Comments – Victoria | Content Creator (@msvictoriah) on Instagram: “Ready for their 1st #football game. #footballmom #7citiespanthers #757”

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

Game day! #footballmom #football

470 Likes, 4 Comments – Victoria | Content Creator (@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

#football practice #footballmom

226 Likes, 0 Comments – Victoria | Content Creator (@msvictoriah) on Instagram: “#football practice #footballmom”

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

162 Likes, 4 Comments – Victoria | Content Creator (@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
  • Mouthpiece
  • 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.

 

40 Comments

  1. They look so adorable in their uniforms! I don’t have boys but these are great tips for those that do and want to play football.

  2. THese are the perfect tips! My son did youth football and it was an amazing experience and his coach was incredible!

  3. Some of those kids can be pretty intense. This a really nice heads up!

  4. It can be pretty gut wrenching seeing them get hit. This is going to really help a lot of parents.

  5. I get so confused as football to us is what you guys call soccer? We dont have your version of football here for the children, it looks like fun though!

  6. Such great tips for good expectations! It’s important for your children (and you!) to know what to expect when they start playing sports. For us, our oldest daughter, is on a competitive rock climbing team and we had no idea what to expect when she first started.

    1. admin says:

      Hi Heather,

      Competitive rock climbing? That’s my first hearing of that but it sounds round…well what I’m picturing in my mind sounds fun lol.

  7. Heather says:

    I definitely had higher expectations for my son when he was in Flag football, but he didn’t really take to it. I think it really wasn’t his sport. I’m hoping now that he is a little older, he’ll try something else.

  8. It sounds like a lot of fun having the kids playing sports. My daughter just got into tumbling and it is a lot of fun for her already. I would love to play football myself but I don’t think it is for her, ahh to be young again.

  9. Mary Edwards says:

    This is great! I wish I had read something like this before we started travel baseball/softball. It’s good to be prepared as a parent and to prepare the kids

  10. Team Snap sounds like an awesome app! I can’t tell you how many times we’ve shown up to practices that had been cancelled or rescheduled and we didn’t know.

    1. admin says:

      Stacie,

      I know right. Same here. We’re getting ready for football season now. After last year I want to be prepared in advance.

  11. These are some great tips! Cute photos too. My kids were never interested in football. My son hates sports all together, and my daughter tends to do one for a year and then move onto something else.

  12. Cindy Ingalls says:

    There is a lot to consider when you sign your kids up for sports, especially football. It’s amazing the time commitment required beyond practice and games. By preparing yourself for what’s involved on and off the field, you can decide if its right for your child.

  13. I don’t have kids yet but whenever I had my own, I want them to experience and have some sports whenever possible. Football or basketball is what I would want my future little boy to be involved with

  14. Geraline Batarra says:

    Actually, football is nice sports it requires a lot of energy, strength, endurance, and patient. My son is still young and I don’t want to think about it yet but thank you for sharing this post I really learned a lot from this.

  15. Wow! What a fantastic post! My son is 7 and I considered signing him up but after what we went through with baseball, I think I may just have to take a step back. It does require a lot of commitment and you’re right about not just dropping them off too. If something were to happen and you weren’t around … yikes! I don’t even like to think about it, right?

  16. Becca Wilson says:

    This is such a great insight into what it is like for youth football. It is definitely a big time commitment that a lot of parents really don’t realize when they sign them up.

  17. Gladys Parker says:

    Your boys are so cute in their uniforms. Watch their little heads as they are finding big issues with brains and sports related head injuries. My son played youth football and that schedule and time commitment was hella crazy you are so right about that!

    1. admin says:

      Yes, I’ve been seeing that a lot this year on various sites. Last year, I guess we were lucky and no injuries occurred, however, I will admit I am hesitant about this year.

  18. I can’t even imagine youth football. Baseball has been crazy enough. Football seems way more intense.

  19. Gemille Sleweon says:

    I played soccer as a kid and i can remember how much time and dedication my mom put into it. My younger brother is starting sports soon. Great tips and i will be sure to share.

  20. Ron Leyba says:

    Totally great tips. Awesome read for parents whose kids are into football. Teamsnap sounds really amazing!

  21. Heather says:

    It’s good to know what you’re signing up for before you make a commitment. I’m sure your kids appreciate all of the effort you put in to make their football fun happen. Sounds like Team Snap is a great option for keeping it all straight.

  22. This is wonderful information for those with children who want to play football. I wish I would have had this information prior to my son playing. It would have been so helpful!

  23. Ruth I. says:

    Oh, it requires a lot of commitment. I believe it wasn’t easy but seeing you son enjoying football or any sport is fulfilling.

  24. Can I be honest? I’m so glad I have girls. I wouldn’t know the first thing about football.

  25. This is really good information for parents who have a kid going into football. I haven’t had a son who was interested in football but I used to cheer for football and that was rough. I know that kids who get into sports though, they really love their sport!

  26. Football around here is super competitive. You have to be born gifted to make any team. It’s kinda sad.

  27. Ann Snook-Moreau says:

    It’s great that they have a conditioning program to get the kids physically ready. When I played sports as a kid, I went into the season very out of shape and had a hard time with the practices in the beginning.

  28. They are such cuties! These are such great tips for a football mama

  29. I believe TeamSnap was what we used for soccer and it was great! I’ve never been a football mom, but I see the kids out there on the fields and they sure do put in a lot of time and effort. I do enjoy watching my nephews play! 🙂

  30. Your sons are just total dolls! I love this post, too. It’s a great resource for any parent of a first-time sports player. A lot of this info can be said of most group teams.

  31. My girls have no interest in football, whatsoever. But my youngest does gymnastic and that is a time commitment too. We haven’t gotten far to where she is on a team. Once that happens, practice will be every day, yikes!!!!

    And Victoria, your son’s are so handsome and growing up way too fast!

    #ProductReviewParty

    1. admin says:

      Hi Lou,

      Thanks, the boys are growing way too fast. I can imagine gymnastics is a huge time commitment too.

  32. Stacie says:

    Your guys are so handsome! My son was fast and very good at flag football. No one could catch him but he wanted to pursue basketball more.

    1. admin says:

      Stacie,

      Thanks. My oldest loves football, but next year I’m thinking my middle son will probably try something new. I know my youngest will be starting baseball then as well. Looks like I’m going to be the all-around sports mom soon.

  33. Great post Victoria and so true!

  34. Oh how I remember these days, my sons didn’t play football because they loved soccer. This Sunday’s Podcast I am interviewing Mark Sills, who is celebrating 20 years as founder of his Urban Youth Inc. Basketball League. and we will discuss Academic Excellence and Extracurricular Activities. #ProductReviewParty

    1. I will definitely have to check that out.

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