The Ultimate Guide To Getting Your Kids Ready For Fall Tackle Football
It may be the middle of summer now, but fall football is just around the corner! It is one of the most popular sports in the United States. Almost every school has a team, and there are plenty of recreational opportunities as well. If you’re wondering how to get your child ready for the upcoming season, then you’ve come to the right place!
There are two main personal aspects of getting ready: physical and mental. Both are equally as important. Muscles and stamina are great to move around on the field, but an unfocused mind could destroy a play. In turn, a very focused and mentally sharp mind can help plan out in advance the correct play to make, but if one gets too tired too quickly, it almost seems useless.
You also need to make sure you have the right kind of gear for the best and safest performance.
Football is a very physical sport: running, tackling, quick direction changes, and more. Being fit is important no matter how you look at it, or what position your child wants to play. Upper body as well as cardio are two necessary strengths that need to be maintained.
Consider signing your child up for a gym membership, or if their school has one, encourage them to stay after and get a good workout (if that is something the school allows). Personal trainers are a great resource and they will know how to get your child into the best shape for what position they want to play.
If you have access to a treadmill, this is great! Running outdoors is a good option, but a treadmill will force you to focus on a rhythm. It works the mind and the body at once.
Working out is only half the battle to getting in shape. Many personal trainers will tell you that the kitchen is almost as important as the gym. What your child eats will directly affect their body. Stay away from sugary snacks. Focus on a balanced diet and have them drink plenty of water. Also, don’t forget about water. Last but not least, have them drink water!
A tired body will lead to a tired mind, so make sure they get plenty of sleep, especially before games.
A sharp mind will lead to sharp plays. This is something that many new players might overlook. They will focus on getting their physical strength up, but lose track of the mind. Emotional fitness is key to being able to make split-second decisions, but also key to staying in the game when the pain starts to set in. Let’s face it: football is an aggressive sport. Having mental strength can help power through draining physical strength.
Positivity and motivation are key. While it will be up to your child to make the plays, you can play a great role in encouraging them. There will be a time when they feel drained and might not want to go to practice or a game. You can tell them “suck it up and do it,” but telling them why they can do it can lead to much better results. Your child looks up to you. Don’t let them down, and they won’t let you down!
Football is also a team game. In the world of screens, social interaction may not be as easy to attain these days. Remember that positivity we just talked about? Your kid is also a sponge. They will soak up what you teach and show that as they grow up. The positivity will start to rub off, and they will be someone who is easier to work with. Your child can have the sharpest mind, best stamina, and top strength in the team, but if they don’t get along with anyone, it will be hard to get a team atmosphere going.
The last aspect of mental readiness to talk about is actual readiness. Does your child want to play football, or do you want them to? Do you think it will toughen them up? As mentioned, football is a very physically demanding sport. If you honestly do not think your child is ready or old enough, there is no shame in flag football. If that is where they need to start to work their way up, then start them there!
Once you have a good physical and mental workout routine in the works, you will need some gear. There are a lot of schools that provide a good amount of equipment which will save you a substantial amount of money. Check with your child’s school for a list of what they do and don’t provide. Generally speaking, the school will probably provide most of the following:
- Shoulder pads
- Knee pads
- Thigh pads
There might be some extra bits that a school provides, but again, check with your child’s school. These will be the items that you may have to provide:
Cleats get worn out quickly, and let’s face it: who wants to wear someone else’s shoes? For reasons such as those, you are generally on your own. The same goes for a cup and similar protective articles. Socks may or may not be provided, but make sure they are the color and style that the school prefers! Mouthguards are also something a school may provide but plan on investing in one just in case.
When at practice, you probably won’t be wearing your game day jersey and other clothing. Remember that most of the football season is spent on the practice field! Make sure you stock up on lots of extra clothing for practice. They will get dirty, sweaty, and stinky. Make sure you select some quality stuff. It will last longer and will be worth it. Here are some things to consider:
- Athletic socks: you want something durable yet comfortable. They will be moving around a lot!
- Comfortable athletic underwear: you may not think of this as too important, but good underwear is very important out on the field and practice. Something form-fitting is ideal for ultimate comfort and protection. Keep in mind how your child will wear his cup.
- Shirts: Your child will need a few good shirts that will assist in sweat control (breathability) and be able to take a beating. Our boys athletic shirt is a great option for this.
- Pants: Specific football pants may be a good option for practice so your child can get used to them and be protected, but if they are not required some good athletic pants that won’t snag or flap around are a good idea.
- Towels: This is just something a little extra, but when I have the opportunity to wipe sweat off my head or body, I do. If your child sees the benefit in it, stock up on some durable small to medium-sized towels that they can have on the sidelines or tucked in their pants while at practice.
Getting your child ready for the upcoming fall tackle football season can take some serious planning if it is your first time. It is not something you can jump into overnight. It should be something you start now. Get a workout and diet routine going. Start having them get mentally prepared. Do some research on what clothing and cleats are best or will work best for your child.
Plan the physical and mental routine, and start getting the gear. While most of the commitment falls on your child, you are going to be taking on a big part of this as well. Beyond the financial commitment, you have to make sure they stay on track. If they are serious, you won’t need that much encouragement to get them to stick to the routine. However, there will be days when they need you! Make sure you are there for them.
Most importantly, make sure they have fun and are ready. You can spend all the money in the world on the best gear, best personal trainer, and best food, but if they are not having fun or can’t physically keep up with what they need to do, they will let themselves and team down. There is no shame in trying something to see if you like it, but it’s not worth continuing if there is no fun! After all, it is a game, and games are supposed to be fun, even if they are as physically and mentally demanding as football!