Youth Sports

Forums for the least discussed sports at this time.
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Re: Youth Sports

Postby knowitall » July 6th, 2019, 12:06 pm

What I really don’t get is travel baseball.  Baseball wasn’t designed to play five or six games in two days.

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Re: Youth Sports

Postby RZBZNZ » July 8th, 2019, 2:28 pm

Playing travel ball is basically a status symbol right now. Anything to keep up with the Joneses.... So, when did Little League, Pony League, Legion etc get the negative connotation "Rec" ball??? Those organizations have been in existence for almost 100 years!

Another question is, how many parents who push their kids towards travel so they get better instruction and face tougher competition take the same route with their kids' academics???

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Youth Sports

Postby Coach » July 11th, 2019, 3:51 pm

As a varsity football coach, I don’t believe that the best progression for a young football player is to begin playing tackle football in third grade at the age of 8.

I would prefer to see a system of 6 on 6 football at this age in a flag format (you they do at recess).

In the current format used by most schools we have flag football with line play in grades K-2. This develops a basic understanding of the game and I’ve seen that it’s successful. You learn what offense/defense is. You learn how to get set and get splits. You learn to listen to a coach. There is a lot of learning that takes place.

In grades 3-4 I would prefer to see a system geared toward developing everyone athletically. Learn to catch, pass, and run around. Even if you are destined to be a lineman, you can work on developing your athleticism. At the younger level you pretty much only see running plays. At this level, you could begin to develop the passing game and concepts such as man vs zone and passing concepts. Instead, many schools still play tackle football. That style continues to teach fundamentals of the game, but physical play begins. I would prefer to continue developing the athlete as a whole vs this format. Locally, I know many varsity head coaches share this same opinion. I do not support a flag game that is 9 on 9 or uses multiple linemen at the grade 3-4 level. I support the Drew Brees based Football N America.

With the rise of youth football, we have started to see lower numbers at most schools. This is also due to the fact that rural enrollment is declining. (See all the schools adding 9th graders to varsity football now?). When I was in school we started tackle football in 7th grade. We didn’t have a flag league either. I think this led to bigger numbers because kids were trying something for the first time. The sports where kids started the earliest were soccer and wrestling. Those were also the two sports with the least amount of participants in them when kids reached the varsity level.

I think there is a are trying things earlier in all sports and along with their parents they are sort of done by the time they get to grades 8-10. This isn’t everywhere and this isn’t everyone, but it is a trend that I believe is accurate. Varsity football, baseball, and wrestling teams are seeing lower numbers all around. Is that related to the fact that kids are playing at age 5? Parents are sick of the running and concession stands and everything in general by the time their child is JH? I don’t know. If they aren’t sick of it, maybe that’s one of the reasons you don’t see as many families with 3-4 kids. I know a few in that situation and I don’t know how they do it!

As a coach and a parent this is all interesting to me and worth following. I don’t have all the answers (and likely none at all). Instead of answers I think I have more like questions, wondering how we got here...and if we are in the right place...? I’ve been very happy with what my son has done at Northern Bedford. We’ve been blessed with some terrific coaches (for my son’s teams anyway) that understand what the main goals of youth sports should be. I can’t say that about everything I’ve seen though. I’m also not sure I’m ready for the changes that come with 3rd grade....league games and more competitive events start replacing time spent on development of fundamentals.

Anyway, good discussion and worth a few minutes of time on this rainy day.
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