Great Article I found that had me thinking after talking to a parent I’m friends with. He said, “Is my son even tough enough to play football?”. This article will help you answer these questions.
Last year, I interviewed my friend and former NFL player Rosevelt Colvin. Along with his experience playing professional football, we talked about life as a football parent. He is an involved football parent and does a lot for our community with youth sports overall.
One topic we addressed was player safety for youth football players (Rosevelt is a Heads Up Football Ambassador) and how some of his youth coaches tried to make players “tough.” One story he shared was a drill they used to run called: “the blind side.”
This drill was used to help “remind” players to not go offsides. If you went offsides, you had to start at one end of the field, run with the ball down the field, and someone would come up and blindside you with a hit. It happened to him once. He was knocked clean off his feet, and he’ll never forget it. I believe it because I will never forget it, and I only heard it from him.
As parents, we sometimes struggle with how to make our kids tough enough to play football. However, there are ways to make them “tough” without doing drills like “the blind side” or other things geared toward roughing them up.
Here are three ways to make your kids tough enough for football
- Focus on the mental aspect. I recently read an article about NBA player Kobe Bryant and his ability to focus through pain. To him, it’s 90 percent a mental exercise. Being tough enough for football or anything else is similar. Mental toughness is something all players can learn.
- Teach them proper fundamentals. Injuries happen in every sport. One way to mitigate this is to teach young athletes the proper fundamentals. USA Football’s Heads Up Football program does an amazing job of this. Now, instead of being tough enough to taking a hit or delivering a hit that causes injury, players are taught how to correctly play the game.
- Start them where they are. I’ve heard parents say they’re putting their kids in tackle football because it’ll help them get tougher. You may be ready for tackle, but maybe your child isn’t. Some kids need to start at flag football and work their way up.
Being able to take a hard hit doesn’t help anyone in football or life. Being mentally strong is where toughness and confidence come from. Taking or delivering hits wrong, could eventually result in injuries, and nobody wants children to get hurt.
Work with your kids on all three aspects, and they’ll be tough enough for football as well as other areas of their lives.
How do you help your kids with toughness?
Jackie Bledsoe Jr. is a writer, blogger, speaker, husband and sports parent of three. He’s played sports for more than 30 years, including the collegiate level, while coaching youth sports for the past nine years. You can read more from Jackie on his blog, JackieBledsoe.com, and connect with him on Twitter (@jbledsoejr).