This question is sure to be debated till the end of time. Why, I’m almost sure of it! What’s the real score here? Or, in this case my honest, mama-to-mama opinion?
I’ve heard it all… from, “little boys” bones aren’t quite formed enough to break easily, so they can go at-it without too much injury.” To, “ah, it ain’t gonna hurt em, it’s good for a boy to get ruffed up and knock heads.” Just between you and me ~ neither of these statements is very accurate.
First of all, knocking heads isn’t the way to go. Wasn’t there a band by that name back in the 80’s? Little helmets should be upright, eyes looking straight at the opposition team. (They’re too young yet, to intimidate eye to eye. If you can get them running in the right direction, then hey, you’re doin purdy good!) But, bad habits can form, from the commands to, “knock heads.” Kids do not need to bend their necks, lower their heads and hit! That’s no way to play, much less teach technique. Second, even children who are infants can break bones. In my ER days, I saw my share of broken bones in toddlers and babies.
Here are a few suggestions if you are seriously going to sign your son up for peewee:
- Make sure your son is the one who wants to play. Even if you signed him up just to introduce him to the sport, make sure he understands that after he is on the team and plays his first game, there is no quitting. However, if at practice before the first game, it’s clear that he doesn’t want to play, then that’s the time to pull him out. If you wait until after the first game, I believe it breeds a… “can quit anytime attitude.” Next year, if he doesn’t want to play, don’t try to force him. Let it be his decision. The first year is always the gauge and it doesn’t mean he should play every year from then on. Nothing wrong with taking a break.
- If your son has extra energy, peewee football is a great place to channel that liveliness. Better to be tackling dummies at practice, than tackling that new sofa in the living room!
- Peewee football is a great place to begin teaching little fellas the art of teamwork. The ability to view themselves as part of something big, like a team, is an invaluable lesson.
- Peewee football will build his self-esteem. It can add to his since of accomplishment even if he’s the slowest little guy on the team.
- Make sure if possible, that at least one of the coaches coaching your sons’ peewee team did play the sport, at least in middle school, at best on the high school level, even better ~ college. It’s hard to teach something like proper technique if you’ve never played.
- Make sure the equipment is in good condition with no cracked helmets. Pads bendable and squashy with a little give. A new pair of cleats that fit snug, whatever brand and style your youth club is recommending.
- Most importantly, let him have fun! And parents, remember, its peewee ~ sportsmanship is taught through your example!