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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Flag Football vs Tackle Football for Youth

On some football forums I've read a lot lately about some parents that struggle with the idea of placing their 8-10 year olds into contact football with the biggest deterrent being, the level of commitment needed as far as practice time is concerned. If you compare practice time between the two there is a noticeable difference as in flag football you practice twice a week as opposed to contact football where you practice 5 times a week and play once.

I think that all in all at this age you can't really go wrong in which ever way you decide to go with your youth player. As long as they participate in football that is the main goal at this point. As they grow older they'll basically inform you of what they would like to try and do athletically. Participation is the key for this age group.

The reason the extra practise is longer in contact football is that fundamentally you need to practice more skills such as blocking and tackling ,for example. Your youth football player needs to practice these core fundamentals so that they can safely play the game. They learn how to hit and how to take a hit, head position, neck position and so on. A good youth football coach will have good drills that emphasize all of these factors and never would compromise the safety of a youth football player. These contact drills would be a slow progression until the coach is confident that the player can tackle safely.

The best thing to do if you're considering tackle football for your kid is to go and watch a youth football practice and observe the drills that are done for tackling. The drills should be a slow progression and are control drills not done at full speed. Players should be of equal size and ability and the emphasis by the football coach should be on technique and not speed at this point.