As a Junior Football coach for over 25 years I can honestly say it is one of the most rewarding experiences one can have. Junior football teaches kids the great game of football, while also teaching them many life lessons they will carry on for years to come.
One of the best parts of junior football is that your child need not be a superstar to participate. Any child with the desire to learn and work hard can find a position to play in junior football. I am of the firm belief that any player that has the will to learn and will listen to and follow directions can learn to block. Anyone familiar with this post, or any of my writings, know that I preach that no matter what offense or defense you use, it all comes down to blocking and tackling. 100% of the time the junior football team that blocks and tackles better will win more games than their opponent who doesn’t block and tackle as well.
This is true at all levels of the game, not just junior football. Most of the time the team with the best players will naturally have the best blockers and tacklers, but I have had a huge amount of success by making sure, as a whole, my entire junior football squad is better at blocking and tackling than my opponents from top to bottom.
The best part of junior football is that it can be either tackle or flag football. Many players, and parents, are concerned with the contact issue involved with tackle so flag is a better option. Most programs that offer a flag program will often start at a very young age. I have seen as young a 4 year old divisions and programs that let you play until you are a senior citizen. Flag programs will usually have a developmental division, which is always the younger kids and will then go into competitive divisions as the players get older.
As far as tackle programs go, depending on the size of your program, there are usually “A” level and “B” level teams. There is always a large discrepancy between these two levels of junior football. As a program, coach or parent please make sure the children wind up where they belong and not where their friends are. The ideas of a well run junior football organization is for the kids to have success and want to continue with the game.
On another note, if your town only has on level please check to make sure they are competitive in the junior football league they participate in. Far too many “heads” of the organization have LARGE egos, and want to control everything, so they start up these half assed programs. These junior football programs get destroyed year after year, while these ego maniacs could care less about what is good for the kids. They have players playing at the wrong level, combine teams at different age groups and make many other unscrupulous decisions all for their own good, and not the good of the kids. Please do your research first and take the extra 10 minute drive to practice if it makes a better union football experience for your child.