A lot of parents forget that aspect of football.
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He runs his own website, 3ointstance. In the interest of full disclosure, he's also my son's coach. If you execute what you are taught on offense and on defense, the result will be what it needs to be. It is scary for the child at first but again, they get used to it and have to overcome their fears. I talked to him a few times about the rigors of a game and practice. How you can become exhausted mentally as well as physically and how it can be difficult to stay focused for an entire practice, much less a game.
I also wanted him to know that if it was too much, he could let me and the coaches know. While I'd prefer him to finish the season—he'd made a commitment to his team, after all—I'd never force him to do something he didn't like. Your child has to know they can tell you "enough. Or the second. Or the 50th. You may think your child is a tough little guy, and he or she may break on that first hit. You might think your child isn't going to last a snap and they may fall in love with colliding with a ball carrier. Either way, you have to give them an out.
How do you know if your child is emotionally and mentally ready? Can he take instruction?
Can he take criticism? Can he hold together when the going gets tough? All those questions are ones you can answer. Still, you have to be prepared for those answers to be wrong the moment that first hit happens. It's the hot-button topic of the decade in football, and it should be a concern for every parent. I don't mean to scare you at all, but it has to be on your mind.
Bramel agrees. Head trauma, even when mild, can affect that development, especially when there are multiple injuries. Proper technique and equipment are vital. The technique is ultimately in the hands of the coaches, as will the equipment be at times. However, there are certainly some things you can do to help your child avoid concussions, including making sure they have a properly fitted helmet and chin strap, as well as wearing a mouthpiece on every play.
I'll go a bit further. My son's league requires a mouthpiece for every player, on every play. I would hesitate to play in a league or team that didn't. As we know, players will get their "bell rung" on occasion, and Dr. Bramel says that a child who experiences that—even if they just have a mild headache—must be carefully watched and screened before returning to action. Of course, concussions aren't the only way your child can get hurt. So I asked Dr. Bramel if there was any way parents can limit injuries, especially through other pieces of equipment like flack vests or rib protectors.
Bramel did follow that up by saying that thigh and hip pads can help prevent bruising that can lead to other injuries, and "forearm pads, neck rolls and other pads can be helpful depending on the position the child plays.
So while it is impossible to prevent every injury, we can mitigate some of them with a little extra precaution. Still, one things must be abundantly clear: this is a collision sport. Players intentionally run into each other as hard as they can. People get hurt. Your child will get banged up and bruised, ankles tweaked and fingers crushed.
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Every league is different, but across the board I can say you will be looking at a significant amount of your child's time taken up with practices. If that makes you cringe more than the thought of your kid having a pound tackle fall on them, again, this may not be for you. I will be totally honest here. I knew it was a big time commitment and I was still under-prepared.
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My son's team practiced three times a week—twice on week nights and once on Saturday morning. Then there were games on Sunday. The practices generally ran about 90 minutes and Saturday were normally two hours. That's a huge chunk of time. Consider that this is on top of school and schoolwork which, for his organization, was a big deal. You don't do well in school, you don't play as well as all other activities. Twice a week I scrambled to get out of work, drive to pick my son up from his after-school program, get my other son from his after-school program, then drive to practice, which was about 30 minutes away with traffic.
That's a lot. Now factor in weather, feeding both kids, entertaining the one not playing, and the occasional team-building bowling trip and suddenly you're wondering when you signed up for football instead of your kid. The truth is, you signed up the moment he did. This can be a serious time commitment, even for the littlest guys. You can help alleviate some of the duties by doing things like finding carpool partners, but it's still a lot of time. First, can your child handle the time commitment? I mentioned what can be required of them—multiple practices on top of homework, school and other activities.
Remember also that your child will be learning plays and schemes which will be mentally taxing in their own right. Second, are you willing to sacrifice your time—your evenings, your weekends, your free time—to make this happen for your kid? Can you find leagues that require less than ours does? That's certainly another option. But I will say that the older your kid gets, the more frequent the practices get.
So at some point, the question still stands. Last season, my son's coach made sure the kids were doing what they needed to in school and was in contact with the parents via the team mom to make sure we knew what was going on at all times. He didn't need us out there at practice, but liked us there because it gave our kids a visual reminder that, hey, we're here for you. It is not easy and we will throw a lot of terms at them and we just hope that you help support the staff that way," he said. As I mentioned earlier, Coach Serrette utilizes a website to keep his players and parents informed of the goings on.
There's so much, and he doesn't want anyone lost. What to look for in the videos on 3pointstance. Every coach supports their team and parents in different ways, just as every parent supports their child in different ways. Together, parents and coaching staff have to have the child's back when it comes to making sure they have the emotional, mental, as well as physical support they need.
One day, when I have millions of hours of free time which is to say, never , I will start a blog called HelicopterParents. How can you be supportive without crossing the line? Sure, invoking James and Marinovich is pure hyperbole, but I've seen parents do some pretty stupid things. It can be a fine line between cheering your child on and pushing them too hard, harassing their coach for more playing time, and shouting plays to the kids on the field. I once saw a dad pull his kid out of a basketball huddle at halftime to coach him up, while the coach was talking.
That's not even the worst of it, but I can't repeat the rest without dropping language we here at Bleacher Report try to avoid. First, make sure your child is your guide. Learn your kid's limits and respect them. I'm not saying you can't push them to do better, I'm saying don't be the parent haranguing their kid when they are in tears and begging to stop playing. I'm saying be the parent who focuses on the positive, not the negative.
You can point out where he or she can play better. Just don't make that the only thing you point out. I am in constant dialogue with my son. He's expressed an interest in playing college ball, and that's great he's 10, next week he could want to be Eddie Van Halen. He's asked for my help, but I make sure he knows that he is in control, not me. If he tells me "Dad, enough," then I back off.
That hasn't happened yet, but that's not the point. He needs to know if it does happen, I will listen. Both last season's coach and my son's new coach have welcomed parent involvement overall, but also have been clear that, on the field, our kids are now their kids. The coaches are in charge. You want to work on catching the ball, tackling, running routes with your kid?
Do it outside practice or game. Sure, you can sneak little tips in during a water break—my son always checks in and asks if he did this or that right. But you can't do it when the coach is coaching.
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Here's another thing about letting the coaches coach—be careful not to contradict what they are doing. If I'm going over something with my son and he tells me they do it differently, then I learn how they do it and that's what we practice. Finally, control yourself. Again, you think it's simple but something happens to a great many parents—moms as well as dads—when a game starts.
They start out cheering and the next thing you know they sound like that obnoxious fan two rows behind you at an NFL game, screaming at the refs, the coaches, the kids and other parents. Because that's all your kids want to hear.
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They want you to cheer. They don't need you screaming about a missed tackle. They'll probably beat themselves up without your help. This is, to me, a dicey issue because it's really easy to screw it up. Many parents will assume that getting your kid in shape is much like getting yourself in shape. However, their bodies—even teenagers—respond to certain exercises much differently than adults. Bramel cautions parents to ease into it. In my experience, coaches suggest keeping it real simple.
Stretching exercises, sit-ups, push-ups and jogging to build endurance. Coach Serrette feels the same way about not going overboard. Core exercises are key as well, something that I learned watching players train under Travelle Gaines several years ago in California. Three of our boys love football and ask to play tackle. In our town they can start at 5 years old. We have opted to play flag football only, due to the risks of concussion.
We face a lot of ridicule from friends and relatives, but we cannot in good conscience let our boys play a game so inherently dangerous. The scientific evidence of the damage done by C. We will never let our children play tackle ball. It can cause memory loss, cognitive problems and dementia. But under pressure from a persistent coach who pursues their sons even when they discourage the sport, some parents relent.
Other parents embrace football without giving the risk a second thought. My year-old son has participated in team activities since elementary school, but things like the chess team and debate team. Never did I think in a million years that he would join the football team in his senior year in high school. I expressed my concern about injury to him and basically begged him not to join the team, but ultimately let him make the decision for himself. He started in his first-ever game last week and I was on edge the entire time.
I made him. He is a freshman, and I insisted that he play a fall sport in order to make his transition to high school easier. He is a big kid, not built for speed, so he is not cross-country or soccer material. He is built for football. And I agreed with him that football carried no more risk of injuries than soccer or lacrosse. Concussions are a major concern and have kept my son out of playing tackle football. My 8-year-old is the tallest, strongest and most powerful kid in his class and on his soccer and baseball teams.
My wife is a pediatric nurse who has worked in pediatric intensive care units, emergency departments, special procedure, and surgical units. She has seen the devastation a head injury can cause to a child, and to his or her parents. The fact that our son already struggles with dyslexia and mood disorders makes her even more fearful of what a brain injury could do to him.
She is adamant that he will not play football. I view it as inevitable that he likely will, but we have agreed that we will not begin to entertain the discussion until he is at least 14 years old. We both kind of hope in the next few years he will develop different interests. I have loved watching football for years, but never played.
It is something that my son and I enjoy doing together, rooting for the Packers and the Utah Utes. His friends and physical education teachers have been trying to convince him to switch to football, and he wants to. I had been considering wavering on my anti-football resolve, but the brain studies shut the door on that. I remind him that his brain is the best thing he has going for him. Some states would like to suppress youth participation in tackle football even more.
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