You have many decisions to make when deciding to put your kid on a football team or in a football program. The first of those decisions is whether to put your child into tackle football or flag football (or both). It used to be that tackle football was the only real option for competitive play. That, however, is no longer the case, with robust flag football leagues and competitions at every level, from young children to competitive adults popping up all over the country.
Here is a look at the two major types of football and what they bring to the table.
Less Chance of Injury
The major reason that Americans are picking up flag football in their droves is because of the decreased risk of injury compared to tackle football. At the most extreme end, flag football is far less of a concussion risk than tackle football. Multiple studies – with more being released all the time – show that tackle football increases the chance of concussion (and related brain injuries) in youth players. While this risk can be reduced by correct tackle football coaching with programs like the one, we have built, it is easy to see why concerned parents are directing their kids towards (at least initially) playing flag football.
Movement is a key component of a child’s development. Unfortunately, Americans are more still than ever, with kids choosing to play video games over taking up sports. Tackle football certainly involves plenty of movement, but that movement can be limited by the position that a player is chosen to play. Wide receivers – for example – will move much more than offensive linemen. In flag football, that dynamic doesn’t exist. Movement is required for everyone, with players often playing both sides of the ball.
Girls More Likely to Play
Football can be a frustrating sport for girls. Boys and girls can play basketball or soccer, while baseball and softball are brother-and-sister sports. There is, however, no direct relation to football for girls as the sport has always been seen as a rough and brutal sport played only by boys. This means there usually aren’t enough girls to field full tackle football teams, and certainly not enough for multiple teams to play each other. Flag football is different. It is a game of low contact, with the better players being those able to run the best routes and cover other players most effectively. Girls can be just as good at those skills as boys, meaning that flag football is a great sport for them to play.
Contact scares parents. It can also scare kids. Playing football and learning skills in a non-contact environment is often something that parents and kids can agree on. Some skills transfer between tackle and flag football. Obvious skills include passing and catching the ball, developing hand-eye coordination, and developing cardio fitness. The lesser-seen skills while having non-contact fun, though, might be even more beneficial. Kids will have fun and improve their mental health by being part of a team and community. Teamwork learned through playing flag football helps work on communication and cooperation, skills that can be transferred into real-life situations.
All Ages and Abilities
The best aspect of flag football is that it is for everyone. To play tackle football – especially at a younger age – it is important that your child has developed to a certain point physically and mentally. Some kids are naturally small – until they hit that late growth spurt – so getting them involved in flag football is a great option. Learning the positions and how to move athletically with plus agility will only help them if they decide to play tackle football – or any other sport – later in their youth careers.
Tackle football is still where it is at for traditionalists. There is something to be said for that, too, with the Friday Night Lights turning on at high schools all over the country and millions of fans packing the stands to see games being played. Head injuries in youth tackle football are certainly concerning. If you want to put your child into a youth tackle football league for the first time, explore this website for some tackle football coaching content to help your child be as safe and technically sound as possible on the gridiron. This will also help them become a better tackler – and a better player – as they get older
Tackle football has more of a competitive edge than flag football. Part of this is that tackle football is just an older sport with more refined competition, while the other part is the sheer physical nature of the sport. That challenge – the way a player has to athletically beat (and even bully) their opponent to allow his team to win – makes tackle football so much fun to play and watch. Flag football certainly has its share of flashy plays (often stunningly athletic), but the added edge that contact brings is real.
Character & Confidence Building
Tackle football has all the benefits of flag football regarding its effect on a young player outside of the game. One of those aspects that is heightened by contact is that of building character and confidence. Part of this comes simply from being in a team sport in a team environment. On top of that, a child’s growth when making plays and learning new skills is clear. Confidence can be hard for children. Succeeding in tackle football – a sport so difficult to excel at – will propel their conference and set them on a successful path in life.
One of the best ways that tackle football can change a child’s life direction is through its ability to get them into college. College is expensive, and many American families don’t have the funds to send their child to continue their education after high school. Tackle football can get children an education they would never have been able to reach via scholarships. Such scholarships aren’t open for everyone, but with the number of colleges (from FBS down to JuCo) out there, youth tackle football players – with the help of their parents and coaches – should always be looking out for scholarships available to them.
Both flag football and tackle football are outstanding options for your kid. They complement each other, so don’t be afraid to try both. If you are undecided and the reason for that indecision is safety, try tackle football technique training via Tackle Smart. It will give your kid a huge boost when it comes to playing games, as they will understand tackling technique and be able to make important plays for their team while being as safe as possible.
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