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Helping Youth Football Players Overcome Fear


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#1 redsport

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Posted 29 October 2004 - 08:34 AM

I have a 8 yr. old that's playing tackle football and he has avg. knowledge of the game and avg. speed and strength but he doesn't go 100% for fear of getting hurt. any advice? :unsure:


#2 billwilliams70

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Posted 29 October 2004 - 12:41 PM

I think if he doesn't go 100% he will get hurt. I could be wrong though.

Bill

#3 Coach G of BT

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 08:41 PM

When we Coach 5,6,7, & 8 yr olds, especially kids that lack natural aggression, I've found it beneficial to start kids hitting a 48 inch tall tackling dummy. Teaching them proper form tackling and going 100% instead of slowing up prior to making a tackle or before being hit if a ball carrier. Make sure if you don't know proper form tackling that you, and your Asst. Coaches know how it is supposed to be done before teaching it. I say this because youth football is different than higher level age groups. Many old Coaches teach kids to "Stick Your Helmet Right in their Numbers", their chest. This is old school, tacklers helmets should be in front of ball carrier if angle tackling, to the side if Head On (Ball Side) and WRAP THOSE ARMS AROUND THE BALL CARRIER. Most kids reluctant to make contact want to tackle to erect with their chest or grab bing for a piece of Jersey. A Tackling Dummy allow a kid to get comfortable with hitting something that does'nt hit back, while learning proper technique. Once they start showing good form, ease them into full contact. Start with drills that only have short amounts of seperation between the Ball Carrier and the Tackler which keeps the speed to a minimum. Also make sure to put them against someone of equal size, and ability. Stress proper form, remember doing something wrong just means your getting better at doing it wrong. Another point I make is simple Physics, two object moving towards each other at equal speed with equal or similar mass will stop each other, but two objects with equal or similar mass moving at different speeds will result in the slower object being moved backwards. Of course you have to bring it down to their level. I show them by allowing them to hit the tackling dummy while its hanging from my arm, of course when they hit it it moves in the dirrection they are going in. Next I swing the bag into them with enough speed to make my point. If swinging fast enough a forty pound bag can move a 60 - 80 lb player backwards or at least stop them, while not hurting them. Proper form and full speed, this will keep them from getting hurt. Lastly, and I should have said first, you have to have their trust. If they don't trust you they'll never try it until they learn the hard way if ever. Good Luck from a Coach who had this problem with my own son who has exceptional speed but is small an not aggressive. I'd be interested in hearing any other ideas, because frankly this is one of the biggest issues youth coaches have to deal with as far as players go. One other thing, my son started playing corner when he was 7, he had trouble because of his lack of wanting to get hit. We moved him to "D" Line and he was a Beast. Because of his speed he got off the ball very quick, getting more than his share of sacks and tackles in the backfield. I believe this was because the backs never got up to full speed. Once he got his confidence and realized we were telling him the truth, he came around. Now he's a much more aggressive football player, back to playing corner, safety and running the ball. Good Luck

#4 redsport

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 10:42 AM

Thanks for the input guys. I'm doing all of the things that you've mentioned and I'm sure it must be a matter of time. I wanted to see if there were some techniques out there that was working, that I didn't know about. Our season is almost over so I will resume with the same tecniques in the off season.

#5 flips

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 01:09 PM

Yes it is time and sometimes it takes to the next season before they come back and finally get the idea of hitting. One of my assistant coaches told me his son last year was scared to hit and couldn't believe that this was the same kid (he was a beast this year).
Be patient and hopefully they will get it and start hitting.

Flips