Jump to content


Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays
Photo
- - - - -

Should I Let My Son Quit Football?


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 megjclarke

megjclarke

    Coach

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 16 posts

Posted 29 August 2006 - 02:36 PM

My 13-year-old son is a certified football maniac who has been telling everyone for years that he's going to be an NFL star. He has been desperate to play in our local Junior football league, and we got him signed up this year. So, we shelled out tons of money for football camp, league registration, and equipment. We were happy to do so because this was a dream of his. But now he wants to quit.

The team has been practicing for a month now: the first week was conditioning, and after that they have been gearing up for practice and running plays and the like. As soon as the pads went on, he started saying he was not going to play next year, and now he's saying that he wants to quit NOW. He says he's getting injured too much (he's one of the smaller kids on the team at 5'3" and 108 lbs), but I think the real reason is that he has just started the 8th grade, and he is worried about being able to balance his schoolwork, chores, and football practices three times a week for 2 hours each, plus games every Sunday.

At this point, he has not even played a game yet. They had one 15-minute scrimmage a few weeks back with another team. He plays cornerback and his receiver got away from him and caught a pass for a touchdown. He was VERY VERY upset with himself. I told him to ease up. He's still learning, and it was his first time on the field. He tends to be very hard on himself in general.

My husband are trying to keep him in, at least until the first game on Sept 10. Once he plays a game, he will at least see that there IS a payoff for all his hard work. As an incentive, we're using good old-fashioned bribery: no chores on practice days since there really won't be time, and unlimited video games (as long as homework is finished) because he is putting in SO MUCH effort with football and school. These things seem reasonable to me. The guy is working hard, and we want to relieve some of the pressure for him.

We want him to stay in football, if only because it's a terrible message to teach a kid to quit something because it is a challenge. However, I'm wondering if we may be making a mistake since he's concerned about injuries. He has gotten hurt several times. Nothing major, just the usual football stuff. Sprained ankles, abrasions, etc. He said his neck got snapped backwards on a tackle. He's OK, but as a mother, this alarms me.

Can someone offer me some advice? I'm not sure if we're doing the right thing or not. Thanks!

TeamSnap!

#2 dbcoach

dbcoach

    Coach

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts

Posted 29 August 2006 - 03:12 PM

Beginner players are at more at risk of getting hurt than the season vets. When I say "hurt" I mean hurt, not injured. As your son's coaches train him, he will learn how to hit and be hit properly and this risk will quickly deminish. I think that beginner players are often surprised when they first start hitting. Yes, it can be painful. You get bumped, bruised, scraped, wind knocked out of you and much more on a regular basis. He has to understand that their is a distinct difference between pain and injury. Sometimes pain is the result of an injury (i.e.: sprained ankle) but more often than not, it's just the result of contact. Hey, it hurts sometimes. There's no denying it. But with some experience and exposure to the game, hopefully he'll get used to the bumps and thuds and find that the fun out-weighs the slightly unpleasant consequences of contact. You should also get it across to him that as he gains experience, he will learn how to avoid the bruised arms, stubbed fingers and yes, even the neck snapping concequences of being tacken off-guard.

Also, It sounds like your son is sensitive to failure. As a DB coach and past defensive back player, I can tell you that it's easy to get really down on yourself when you screw up. See, when a D-lineman screws up, he has the Linebackers behind him. When Linebackers miss the play, the DB's are backing them up. They save the big plays. But when a DB screws up, well the rest is history. There's no second chances for them in any given play. One of the first things I teach kids that I coach as db's is they have to learn to put the past behind them. Each play is an entirely new season. Past failures and successes are of no concequence in the present.

People notice when db's screw up because it usually culminates into a TD for the bad guys. It's a selfless position to play in that respect. Your son needs to grow some thicker skin and he will be fine. So in a nutshell, for some kids it takes more than just 1 pre-season to overcome the surprises of contact, and perhaps the surprise that he's not automatically going to be the team MVP. If he sticks it out, he might learn what football is really about. And he might like it.

I hope this helps.
Cheers,
dbc

#3 megjclarke

megjclarke

    Coach

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 16 posts

Posted 29 August 2006 - 03:29 PM

Wow, your reply has been very helpful. I don't know much about football myself, so your insight is quite valuable to me. My son has a lot of respect for his fellow footballers and coaches, and I know he will take your words to heart. I will definitely tell him that the pain is common for new players, and it will diminish as his technique improves.

You are right, my son is sensitive to failure. He always has been. In my mind, one of the major benefits of playing football is that he will learn to deal better with failure. Messing up once isn't the end of the world. You learn what you can from the experience and move on. I will pass along your wisdom, especially "Each play is a new season. Past failures and successes are of no consequence in the present." This is good advice in general, and applies to much more than football.

My instinct is that he needs to stick it out. I don't want to teach him that quitting is an acceptable response to challenges. What is your opinion?

You must have had players quit before. As a coach, you may not necessarily have much control over that. However, there must be some instances in which you can tell that a player isnt' cut out for the game. How do you know whether to encourage someone to stay in the game or to let them go? Is there any point at which it becomes pointless for a player to continue?

Out of curiosity, how long have you been playing/coaching?

#4 coachbreck

coachbreck

    MVP

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 167 posts
  • Location: North Dakota
  • Interests:Hunting, Fishing, Football

Posted 29 August 2006 - 03:46 PM

My suggestion would be to finish what he started !

If he is a football nut why did he wait until he was 13 to start? The other players have some years of experience on him, but he should catch up by the end of the season.

Do not let him quit even after the first game right now he is frustrated, we have all been there, tell him to keep his chin up and work hard. That way there will be no regrets.

#5 megjclarke

megjclarke

    Coach

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 16 posts

Posted 29 August 2006 - 03:56 PM

You are confirming what I already thought. He should finish it out. It will be good for him.

Yes, he started late. Until last year, he only wanted to watch the game. Last year he decided he wanted to play, but he didnt' tell me until it was too late to get him in.

I will tell that you said he should be caught up by the end of the season. This will be encouraging. And just think how proud of himself he will be that he pushed through and accomplished something difficult!

Thanks so much for your response. I'm much more confident in my stance now that some experienced football guys have backed me up.

#6 Maleko

Maleko

    Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 12 posts

Posted 29 August 2006 - 09:34 PM

I agree that you should try your best to make him finish the year out. Not just for the "quitters never win" angle (which is important) but also for his love of football. You say he watches it a lot, I assume he plays a lot of Madden (or another video game) and he was desperate to get on the team. Add in the fact that you said he is sensative to failure, and you have a classic case of "scared kid". The hits can hurt, your face gets squished into the mud at times, you get bumped and bruised and nicked in places you didn't realize could hurt before, you get wet, cold, tired and hungry during practice and games, muscles you didn't realize you had get tight and sore and knotted up, you blow assignments, and sometimes you just get beat. As a boy I am sure he was told many many times not to hit people, and now he is being encouraged to not only hit someone, but to hit them like a frieght train. Add puberty into the mix and this can be a lot for a young kid to take in. It sounds to me like this is the biggest challenge he has ever faced, and he is not performing to the level that HE thinks he should be. As a parent, you need to find a way to encourage his efforts (the fact that he is trying his hardest should be your #1 concern), and cheer his successes while also being realistic with him when he makes mistakes. He is new to the game (and don't let anyone tell you that football without pads is the same game as with pads, it is a totally different animal), and he WILL make mistakes, but so will every other kid on the field, whether they have played for 5 years or never before. Just find a way to get him to relax, and let up on himself, and he will find that the fun of watching football, is surpassed only by the fun of playing football. Also let him know that at his age, he will catch up in ability to the kids who have played for years very quickly, he just needs to work on it and it will come, just not as quick as he wants of course.

P.S. You may want to grab a beginners youth coaching book to read. That way you will be able to understand what he is saying when you talk about how practice went etc and it will give you a good foundation of info for you and him to build on for the coming seasons (if he decides to play again) You would be amazed how much 15 mins of mom playing catch and talking about the ______ game will mean to him. (remember, when you see a player on TV, he never says "Hi Dad")

#7 dbcoach

dbcoach

    Coach

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts

Posted 30 August 2006 - 08:03 AM

Hi there Meg. In response to your question: "How long have I been coaching/playing?"...

Well, I wish I could tell you that I have a coaching resume a mile long, but I've only been coaching for going on 3 yrs. I played competetive football from the time I was 8 yrs old, and every year (sometimes on two teams) until I was 20.

Here's another point for your son to mull over: If you intend to play University/College ball, you MUST get good grades in school. For my last 2 years playing, i was desperately searching for a spot on a University/College team. I had scouts approaching me at all star games to express their interest but my grades just stunk. All schools have strict policies regarding grades that they just don't bend. If your son intends to follow his dream of playing football, he needs to take school very seriously.

After taking about 6 years off of school (and having run out of football leagues for my age group), I decided to go to University for Acedemic reasons. I guess everyone gets a second chance in some respects if they put the work in, but at 26 yrs old, my prospects on the football team were not so good. After finishing university a few years ago, I got the itch to be involved in the game and atmosphere that played so much of a role in making me who I am today. I love every second I spend coaching youth football and I strive to be even better than the best coaches I ever knew -a very tall order, but it's a valuable pursuit.

Cheers,
dbc

#8 jag1872

jag1872

    MVP

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 218 posts

Posted 30 August 2006 - 09:10 AM

I think all the coaches have offered you some outstanding advice.

The only thing I would add is that in my sixteens of coaching I have seen all sorts of people quit on themselves and everyone of them regreted it. Failure is a funny thing...no matter how talented you are at some point you are going to fail and it is not the failure defines you but how you responds to failure.

What I would impart on your son is this: it's his first year...and the first year of football is always the toughest and the later you start the harder it is because of the level of experience everyone else has. Football is the only sport in America (other then Hockey) that is played to initiate a violent contact 100% of the time. You are bound to fail at some point no matter how good you are. I have seen extremely athletic football players that could have easily worked at this sport and gotten a a free ride to a major college but fail because they could not respond to failure. I have seen the smallest of kids with the least amount of athleticism out work every kid on the field and become one of the best football players on the field...and get a free ride to a major university... It is all a matter of how determined he is going to be to succeed.

My guess is his level of expectation for himself for the sport was very high because of his love for the game. Now that he is actually facing the real challange of playing, and playing DB is the toughest and loneliest postion on the field, he is facing some indecision about the choice he made. Things get better as he applies himself and learns the fundamentals of the game. This is the toughest sport to learn and play because there are so many things that a player has to learn to be safe and be good. The first year a player spends most of his time with his head on a swival just getting used to the speed, contact, and violence of the game. Keep him in there and let him learn how to work with failure and in the long run your going to see a kid that is a winner in life.

Jack

#9 CoachMatt2

CoachMatt2

    Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 30 August 2006 - 10:56 AM

Tell him he made a commitment to his teammates and himself, and he needs to finish what he starts.

I bet he will feel a lot better about himself at the end of the season for sticking it out.

#10 Coach Calande

Coach Calande

    Coach

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 31 August 2006 - 09:16 PM

My 13-year-old son is a certified football maniac who has been telling everyone for years that he's going to be an NFL star. He has been desperate to play in our local Junior football league, and we got him signed up this year. So, we shelled out tons of money for football camp, league registration, and equipment. We were happy to do so because this was a dream of his. But now he wants to quit.

The team has been practicing for a month now: the first week was conditioning, and after that they have been gearing up for practice and running plays and the like. As soon as the pads went on, he started saying he was not going to play next year, and now he's saying that he wants to quit NOW. He says he's getting injured too much (he's one of the smaller kids on the team at 5'3" and 108 lbs), but I think the real reason is that he has just started the 8th grade, and he is worried about being able to balance his schoolwork, chores, and football practices three times a week for 2 hours each, plus games every Sunday.

At this point, he has not even played a game yet. They had one 15-minute scrimmage a few weeks back with another team. He plays cornerback and his receiver got away from him and caught a pass for a touchdown. He was VERY VERY upset with himself. I told him to ease up. He's still learning, and it was his first time on the field. He tends to be very hard on himself in general.

My husband are trying to keep him in, at least until the first game on Sept 10. Once he plays a game, he will at least see that there IS a payoff for all his hard work. As an incentive, we're using good old-fashioned bribery: no chores on practice days since there really won't be time, and unlimited video games (as long as homework is finished) because he is putting in SO MUCH effort with football and school. These things seem reasonable to me. The guy is working hard, and we want to relieve some of the pressure for him.

We want him to stay in football, if only because it's a terrible message to teach a kid to quit something because it is a challenge. However, I'm wondering if we may be making a mistake since he's concerned about injuries. He has gotten hurt several times. Nothing major, just the usual football stuff. Sprained ankles, abrasions, etc. He said his neck got snapped backwards on a tackle. He's OK, but as a mother, this alarms me.

Can someone offer me some advice? I'm not sure if we're doing the right thing or not. Thanks!


my advice...or opinion i guess...dont let him quit. ever. quitting is a habit. kids sometimes only want to do things that they are good at (unless it comes with a reset button)...and of course, he gave up that td pass...big deal...every pro cornerback that ever played the game got burned a few times. heres the deal, tell him NO, YOU CANT QUIT. football is what? 8 weeks? QUITTING IS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

#11 K-3rd Coach

K-3rd Coach

    Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts

Posted 01 September 2006 - 03:43 AM

I'm curious about how other players treated him after the play was over. That could be crucial. Kids that age can be brutal. He MUST understand football is also one of the few sports where EVERYONE has a responsibility and games aren't deciced by one individual busted play. If he was treated poorly by other teammates, they need to be taught how to become football players. Games are won as a team and lost as a team. When's the last time a headline read "Jefferson High 42 - John Davis 0" If his teammates felt let down as a unit, he has to let it go and be waiting for redemption. I guarantee more chances will be there.
A lot of replies have explained football very well. It's such an unbelievable learning tool for life. My opinion is simple. NEVER accept quitting! Quitting is a destructive option that will become a habit that is almost impossible to break. As a fellow parent and former imperfect football player. I want you to look at this situation as a blessing. Think of what football has given him already, STRUGGLES. We all know life is fuull of 'em. These struggles will groom him into a never quit, hard working, and successful person. I'm overly impressed with the lengths you'll go as a mother. I don't see many moms lookin for advice on a football message board. Rare! I think he's been knocked down and it's time to get back up.
Keep us posted if you can. Please don't tell anyone you got this info from me. I've got a manly reputation to uphold and the boys at the lodge would be devastated.

#12 megjclarke

megjclarke

    Coach

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 16 posts

Posted 01 September 2006 - 01:36 PM

You have all given me such amazing advice, and I truly believe that it has turned my son around. Before I logged onto this board, I really didn't know what I was talking about when it came to football. Now I can give my son reliable advice from an experienced perspective, and it has been a godsend.

At the beginning of this week, my son was ready to throw in the towel. I shared all of your wisdom with him regarding the pain, the nature of his position, bouncing back from failure, and pushing through a challenge. After this weeks' practices, he's decided to stick it out. He's actually started having fun playing the game, which is GREAT! That was why he wanted to do this. I let his coaches what had been happening, and they have been great, encouraging him to stick it out and have fun. They tell me he's been improving a lot and that a lot of beginners go through this kind of stuff.

A side note regarding pain: the DB coach noticed that his pads were too loose, so they weren't protecting from impact. He's kept them nice and tight now, and I haven't heard ANY complaints about pain.

To answer some of your questions: his teammates haven't given him any flack when he messes up, and neither do the coaches. When someone messes up, the coaches pull them out of the scrimmage and tell them what went wrong and how to correct it next time. I am really blown away by the coaches. They are incredible, likable guys, the perfect mix of friendly and tough. He expects a lot from himself and gets very frustrated when he doesn't achieve like he wants to. You are all right: he expected to step onto the field and be an MVP because of his love for the game and obsession with Madden games. He has seen now that it will take hard work, and he seems to be ready for the challenge.

Regarding academics, football has actually proven to be a motivator for him to do well in school. He told me last year that he wanted to go to USC (I think that's the right school), since the NFL recruits from that school. I looked into the tuition, and it's outrageous, of course, so I told him he'd have to get as many scholarships as possible. Ever since then, he has logged onto the PowerSchools website EVERY DAY to check his grades, and he's taken the initiative to make up missing work and even ask his teachers for extra credit assignments when necessary.

I truly believe that football will benefit my son in so many ways: self-discipline, coping with failure, developing mental and physical strength, and character growth in general. Thanks again for all your advice!

His first game is Sunday the 10th. I will log back on and let you all know how it went!!

#13 Maleko

Maleko

    Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 12 posts

Posted 01 September 2006 - 07:37 PM

Hey megjclarke, glad to hear everything is working out for your son. Just keep one thing in mind, whatever your son gets out of football, he will get it because of you. Your a special mom, and keep up the great work. I wish 1/2 of my team's parents took 1/2 the interest you are in their own kids.

#14 cj1joe

cj1joe

    Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 3 posts

Posted 08 September 2006 - 09:40 AM

Personally, I think that fear is common in young kids. I remember when I was young and my mom had to force me onto a rollercoaster. I'm glad she did.

There's also a tendency to neglect commitments. I think this is a tendency for all people. We view our desires as more important than any commitment we've made.

I suggest allowing him to quit after four or five games.

Also, I just wanted to add that if you're looking for a training camp or dvd that focuses on the QB (and does that really, really, well), but also teaches character, Look for the DVDs and camps from the Darin Slack Quarterback Academy. www.quarterbackacademy.com

I'm a big believer in Coach Slack!

#15 rkmom

rkmom

    Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 08 September 2006 - 12:10 PM

I just want to say how helpful all of these postings have been for me. I searched the internet on "should I I let my son quit football" and found this message board. My son also has asked to quit. He's only 11 and its also his first year. Although my husband played pop-warner through high school football, he never pushed my son to play. This year he came to us and asked to sign up. It's been one month of practices and he asked me this week if he could quit. My husband is very opposed to letting him quit, and I was on the fence. I thought I would make him get through his first game tomorrow and if he still wanted to quit, I would let him, but now I understand why my husband feels so strongly about it. All of this advice has really helped me realize what quitting would actually mean. I'm going try to make him stick it out. I hope both our sons have some fun this weekend! Good luck to you.