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What Age To Start Tackle Football?

Posted: 7/27/2008 4:09 PM

What Age To Start Tackle Football? 


This debate pops up every year it seems.

At what age should youths begin playing tackle football?

Out in the Cy-Fair area where I live we start at 7. I'm ok with that if the proper techniques are taught. Problem is there are those idiots who decide to line up two 7 year olds 15 yards a part and have them do full speed tackling drills over and over. Chances are the kids decide they don't like football after experiences like this. So as much as age, I think the right coaching is just as important.

Thoughts?


moondog

Last edited 7/27/2008 6:17 PM by moondog

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Posted: 7/27/2008 5:18 PM

Re: What Age To Start Tackle Football? 


My son was a Punt, Pass, and Kick winner.  When he signed up for PeeWee football, the coach put him at defensive tackle and he spent every practice blocking a kid twice his size and every game on the bench.  He never played football again.

I think knowledge of techniques is a distant runner-up to the desire to make the experience fun and valuable for every kid.

If I had it to do over again, I would not let him play until high school.
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Posted: 7/28/2008 12:48 AM

Re: What Age To Start Tackle Football? 


Kids start playing Tackle football here in Florida at 5 Years Old.  I think that it is a good idea to introduce kids to the sport at this age as long as the focus in on the two F's (Fundamentals & Fun).

Also, the score is not kept & the players must play either offense or defense.  This eliminates kids not getting enough playing time as all of the players are starters.

Last edited 7/28/2008 12:50 AM by CoachBigShow

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Posted: 7/28/2008 12:20 PM

Re: What Age To Start Tackle Football? 



CoachBigShow wrote: Kids start playing Tackle football here in Florida at 5 Years Old.  I think that it is a good idea to introduce kids to the sport at this age as long as the focus in on the two F's (Fundamentals & Fun).

Also, the score is not kept & the players must play either offense or defense.  This eliminates kids not getting enough playing time as all of the players are starters.


In our league a player has to play 6 plays per half.

Fun is, of course, what makes it "a game"...

 

moondog

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Posted: 7/28/2008 10:33 PM

Re: What Age To Start Tackle Football? 


6 plays a game is not enough IMO for youth football, especially at the instructional levels.  I think our youth leagues are way ahead of you guys on this one as all kids are starters on either offense or defense. 

This accelerates their development as they are playing the entire game not 6 plays,which im sure infuriates alot of parents after kicking out at least $ 100 PLUS FOR REGISTRATION TO WATCH THEIR KIDS ONLY RECEIVE 6 PLAYS. 

I would imagine that alot kids lose interest in football when they practice all week and get such limited playing time.  Also, when a youth football coach has to play a kid an entire game he tends to spend more time coaching that kid as he will have to count on him during the entire game.  Just my opinion.

Last edited 7/28/2008 10:34 PM by CoachBigShow

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Posted: 7/29/2008 11:24 AM

Re: What Age To Start Tackle Football? 



CoachBigShow wrote: 6 plays a game is not enough IMO for youth football, especially at the instructional levels.  I think our youth leagues are way ahead of you guys on this one as all kids are starters on either offense or defense. 

This accelerates their development as they are playing the entire game not 6 plays,which im sure infuriates alot of parents after kicking out at least $ 100 PLUS FOR REGISTRATION TO WATCH THEIR KIDS ONLY RECEIVE 6 PLAYS. 

I would imagine that alot kids lose interest in football when they practice all week and get such limited playing time.  Also, when a youth football coach has to play a kid an entire game he tends to spend more time coaching that kid as he will have to count on him during the entire game.  Just my opinion.
Coach-

Check the peepers - 6 plays per half.

This is a minimum and rarely does it have to be enforced by the league. For the most part the coaches in our league have their hearts and minds in the right place - they want the kids to learn, be competitive, and most of all enjoy the game. The only reason the rule is in place is that the league is also very competitive, and unfortunately there are coaches who want to win at all cost.

The questions I have about your league are:
1.) do you hand select or "draft" all your players? (we don't, teams are made up by elementary school zoning).

2.) How many players do you have on your rosters? (we often have as many as 30!)
3.) How long are your quarters? (ours are 10 minutes - if your offense or defense is on the field for most of the half - fumbles, etc., its possible that even a "starter" on the unit that isn't might not get 6 plays...) 

Our league has been around since 1968, they've worked hard to make participation only the beginning of playing sports - not the end.

As far as Florida vs. Texas come one CBS - that's like talking about politics with a girl on the first date - not going to touch that one...


moondog
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Posted: 7/29/2008 1:54 PM

Re: What Age To Start Tackle Football? 


1- On the instructional levels, the size of the team is 22 players (11 Off / 11 Def.)

2 - The city is is divided into boundaries much like the way high school districts are.

3 - 8 minute quarters

4 - I have never seen a unit not be on the field longer than a quarter

5 - The league here was established in 1964

Here is a list of our Alumni Page:

(NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE ALUMNI)

DEION SANDERS (BALTIMORE RAVENS, FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY)

JEVON KEARSE (PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA)

ERNEST GRAHAM (TAMPA BAY BUCS, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA)

ANTHONY HENRY (DALLAS COWBOYS, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA)

NAJEH DAVENPORT (GREEN BAY PACKERS, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI)

RICHARD FAIN (CINCINNATI BENGALS, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA)

CHRIS VANCE (NEW ORLEANS SAINTS, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY)

WARREN WILLIAMS (PITTSBURGH STEELERS, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI)

(NCCA DIVISION 1 ALUMNI)

EARNEST GRAHAM (
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA)

JEVON KEARSE (UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA)

RONNIE BATTLE (UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA)

RICHARD FAIN (UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA)

JOHNNY CHURCH (UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA)

MARKIE ANDERSON (UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA)

DEION SANDERS
(FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY)

JAMES CHANEY (FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY)

CHRIS POLNITZ (FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY)

ROBBIE BAKER (FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY)

LEON FOWLER (FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY)

CLYDE ALLEN (FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY)

NAJEH DAVENPORT (UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI, FL)

WARREN WILLIAMS
(UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI, FL)

RICHARD WASHINGTON (N. CAROLINA ST.  UNIVERSITY)

RAY MICHEL (N. CAROLINA ST. UNIVERSITY)

JEREMY WARE (MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY)

CHRIS VANCE (OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY)

ANTHONY HENRY
(UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA)

KEITH WILLIAMS (UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA)

NOD WASHINGTON aka "PLIES THE RAPPER" (MIAMI OF OHIO)

ROD GADSEN (SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY)

CHRIS SINGLETON (IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY)

RONNIE LILLARD (RICE UNIVERSITY)

ALFONSO BAILEY (LIBERTY UNIVERSITY)

RILEY WARE (WESTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY)

JJ CHANEY (SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY)

LEO SPEARS (FAYETTEVILLE STATE)

IRA RIGGINS (CALIFORNIA COLLEGE)

KEVIN TAYLOR (WEBER UNIVERSITY)

JONATHAN REID (MOUNT UNION COLLEGE)

BRUCE LABRECHE (VALDOSTA STATE)

JEWELL SIMMONS (NORTHERN MINNESOTA)

OVERALL 8 NFL ALUMNI / 26 DIVISION 1-a / 7 DIVISION 1aa

COLLEGE FOOTBALL CONFERENCES THAT ALUMNI HAVE PLAYED IN:

SOUTH EAST CONFERENCE (SEC)
BIG TEN CONFERENCE (BIG TEN)
ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE (ACC)
BIG EAST CONFERENCE (BIG EAST)
BIG TWELVE CONFERENCE (BIG 12)
CONFERENCE USA (CON. USA)
MID AMERICAN CONFERENCE (MAC)

Last edited 7/29/2008 1:55 PM by CoachBigShow

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Posted: 7/30/2008 7:58 AM

Re: What Age To Start Tackle Football? 


I founded a youth football league in The Woodlands that replaced a poorly run and ineffective program. The first thing I did was seek the two local high school coaching staffs to head up a weekend coach's clinic that was mandatory for anyone who would be coaching. The earlier you expose your kid to tackle football the better as long as they learn fundamentals. About the worst thing that can happen is they get the breath knocked out of them at age five. There is not enough speed and mass to generate force on the joints. Typically, boys' growth plates don't start stretching until around 12 years of age. That is the time most "conservative" parents introduce their kids to Jr. High football. The problem is that these same parents are putting their child at his weakest physical structure in a game that takes time to learn to "carry his pads" and he either gets hurt or gets his clock cleaned  by those who have been playing since age five.

At any rate - the kid isn't having much fun when he is getting hammered and he loses interest. Add in the fact that some of these coaches in Jr. High are fresh out of college and think their Vince Lombardi on the sideline.

The problem with fresh coaches or parents coaching in little league is that they concentrate on play calling and don't teach proper technique - particularly on the OL. As commissioner of our little league I watched parts of every game and would confront any staff that wasn't doing enough coaching. That being said, some coaches were obviously better as you can't control the practices.

In closing, my son showed an early interest in football playing tackle in the front yard with kids twice his age. When I put him in little league he was not nearly as effective - he didn't know how to carry his pads. He also couldn't run worth a crap so he I spent time teaching him leverage and DE technique and he was the smallest and slowest DE in the league. He also learned how to position his body and use his hands. He played DE and TE until he was 12 when we began doing some European speed training on 22 degree decline hills. He ended up being in the top ten nationally in five track events. Places were reserved for those with FATs only. Many of the earlier growers are sacking groceries on Friday Nights - you never know the full potential of your child until much later.

In practice - I worked on basic foot drills, leverage on board drills, tackling, and pursuit angles, etc. We also snapped and kicked with a full rush. We were in great condition and rehearsed the same basic plays over and over to limit mistakes. My defensive playbook was much larger than my offensive playbook. We won almost every year.

You need a draft for equity.

My reward was seeing that many of my players at age 10 went on to high school stardom and played college football. Fact is most of the really good one's played at an early age.

AKA Former Owl Dad....Liberty Bowl or Bust

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Posted: 7/30/2008 9:19 AM

Re: What Age To Start Tackle Football? 


I agree with you completely pigskin.  Our 2000, 13 & 14 year old team went 14-1 an  had 5 division 1 players and 2 division II players on it.  Not many high schools in our area can match that or the alumni we have had come through our program.  We get alot of talent and our alumni list is very impressive. 

It makes me feel proud that all I have to do is pick up the phone and many of these young men willing help me put on a youth football clinic. 

However, it is also very depressing when you get a phone call that one of your former players was either murdered, arrested for selling drugs, shot and killed someone, involved in a car jacking, or high speed chase. 

I had a qb last year that just got arrested for throwing firecrackers into a car on the 4th of July that severely burned a 2 & 4 year.  He is in custody and is now facing 25 years.

My former qb & rb in 2005 were arrested and charged with the murder of Sean Taylor in Miami and are facing life in prison. 

Just last week the running back I coached in high school this past year that signed with Alcorn State was killed in a car accident after being on campus as incoming freshman for only two weeks.

The emotional highs and lows resemble a roller coaster that is very difficult to ride at times.

Last edited 7/30/2008 9:36 AM by CoachBigShow

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Posted: 7/30/2008 1:02 PM

Re: What Age To Start Tackle Football? 



CoachBigShow wrote: I agree with you completely pigskin.  Our 2000, 13 & 14 year old team went 14-1 an  had 5 division 1 players and 2 division II players on it.  Not many high schools in our area can match that or the alumni we have had come through our program.  We get alot of talent and our alumni list is very impressive. 

It makes me feel proud that all I have to do is pick up the phone and many of these young men willing help me put on a youth football clinic. 

However, it is also very depressing when you get a phone call that one of your former players was either murdered, arrested for selling drugs, shot and killed someone, involved in a car jacking, or high speed chase. 

I had a qb last year that just got arrested for throwing firecrackers into a car on the 4th of July that severely burned a 2 & 4 year.  He is in custody and is now facing 25 years.

My former qb & rb in 2005 were arrested and charged with the murder of Sean Taylor in Miami and are facing life in prison. 

Just last week the running back I coached in high school this past year that signed with Alcorn State was killed in a car accident after being on campus as incoming freshman for only two weeks.

The emotional highs and lows resemble a roller coaster that is very difficult to ride at times.
Coach - I talked to Ronnie last night for a few minutes and he mentioned the accident. He said he was coming home for the services.

A word of encouragement to you - for every handful of players that go down the wrong road, there are 20 more that were positively impacted by youth coaches like you and Pigskin.
 
Coaching has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life - thanks for sharing your experiences fellas...


moondog
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Posted: 7/30/2008 4:57 PM

Re: What Age To Start Tackle Football? 


Georgia has a great football youth league.  They don't play football in Jr. High, so the youth league football organizations are very important.  In our county (Gwinnett) they were broken up into groups that feed into high schools, so they began competing with each other at  a very early age.  They began at age 6 with full contact.  There are no weight or height restrictions for each age group so the parent/coaches walked through elementary school cafeterias to ask some of the big guys if they wanted to play.  There were no more than 22 players per team so some of the larger communities had as many as 4 teams per age group.

My son began playing for the Brookwood Broncos (feeding into Brookwood High, Snellville, Ga.) at the age of 6.  His team won 5 Gwinnett County championships, a record for a youth league team.  Play started in August and playoffs were the first week in December. We moved  to Texas in the middle of his 7th grade year. 

His youth league coaches were great and very dedicated, as they practiced 3 times per week and had games on Saturday.  It was hard work but they balanced it with lots of fun other activities.   Most of his coaches played college football and created a learning environment.  The majority of injuries were minor, nothing a little ice could'nt cure (my husband was trainer).  

It was a family thing for us and we loved it.  My son credits his youth league coaches for all of his success both on the field and off.  He says they taught him about dedication, hard work and team spirit.  And yes, his youth league coaches know how we feel about them, we all still keep in touch.

Just a mom's take on the subject.

Owlmommy
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Posted: 7/30/2008 8:52 PM

Re: What Age To Start Tackle Football? 


CBS - we couldn't be from more different situations, yet in the end some kids make poor decisions that have a very high price. I made some horrible decisions and made it out okay - God's will I guess. With that in mind I really tried to help influence young men through fairness and discipline. It doesn't always work.

People are people and football players are developed and not born. Thanks for making a difference. Someone has to invest some time into the young people - particularly those without a father figure. Love hard, live hard, and play hard.

Owlmommy, you cookin up some home grub so that I can get my insider info?? Thanks for the comments and contribution - it amazes me in how different the various states are in regards to youth football.

AKA Former Owl Dad....Liberty Bowl or Bust

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Posted: 7/31/2008 12:03 AM

Re: What Age To Start Tackle Football? 


I am working on some secret recipes hopefully, they will work.  But what I think is juicy inside info may not be to you hardcore football fanatics.  I will keep my ears open Friday at the parents meeting and try to find something worthy to report.

Owlmommy

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Posted: 5/5/2009 10:25 PM

Re: What Age To Start Tackle Football? 


I'll start by stating I've already learned quite a bit from reading everyones posts. I have an eleven year old son who currently plays select basketball, baseball, and flag football. He has been asked to play quarterback for the third time by different flag football coaches and he's demonstrated that he learns the plays very quickly, remains cool under pressure and most of all can throw long and short passes accurately.  He is also quick when he decides to run.

I have two friends that played professional football here in our neighborhood. Neither of them allow their boys to play tackle yet. I'm being hounded by parents and coaches about my son playing quarterback for their tackle teams. My concern is if he were to get hurt at this young age, it could hold him back for his future sports. I do appreciate that there will be some learning curve and adjustment going from flag to tackle especially with carring the pads and understanding what not to do so to reduce the risk of serious injury. My question to everyone is this: Since he loves baseball and basketball where he has also proven his skills, would it hurt him later if he decided that he wanted to play on a junior or high school football team to hold him to currently playing flag football for a couple of more years until his bones may become more dense to shield off potential injuries?

I would appreciate your candor,
sportsdaddy

Last edited 5/5/2009 10:47 PM by sportsdaddy

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