Football is thought of as a big man’s sport, but it can be a lot of fun for little kids and good exercise for adults too. Here are some tips for enjoying a safe, fun time with little kids and the game of football.
Football Fundamentals: Tackling
Kids enjoy chasing and tackling adults, it’s just that simple. Practice running with the football and have the kids chase you. Make them work for it by throwing a few spin moves at them to evade a tackle. If they’re little, let them catch and tackle you. Tell them to “wrap you up” by putting their arms around you and driving with their legs to take you down. Fall down slowly and carefully so you don’t hurt them or yourself.
Kids also like being chased. Practice lining up against each other in a three-point stance, which means two feet and a hand on the ground, except that the child will have his or her hand on the football. Tell them to say “hut, hut, hut” and then “hike” (loudly) when they’re ready to start running with the ball. Give a good chase and when you tackle, be sure to fall first so that you’re cradling the child as you fall.
Football Fundamentals: Passing and Catching
Use a smaller-sized football to practice passing and catching. Little kids will not be able to grip the ball, but you can still show them how to place their fingers on the laces. Don’t expect tight spirals, but it will help if they start a throw with their hand on the laces. Stand close together so they can focus more on accuracy than strength.
For catching, it’s best to throw underhand to kids. An overhand throw starts a lot higher, since you’re a lot taller, and the height difference can make the ball harder to catch for them. Little kids may have trouble catching the ball with their hands, so you may want to have them to make a basket with their arms and catch the ball that way.
Football Fundamentals: Kicking
Another easy football fundamental for kids to practice is kicking. A smaller football is easier for little kids and place kicking may be easier for them than punting. To place kick, place the football on the ground so that it’s upright. Hold it in place with your index finger. Have them take a few steps back, a couple steps to the left (if they’re right-footed), then run up to the ball and kick. Explain the importance of getting a foot under the ball if they’re having trouble kicking the ball upward.
Football Fundamentals: Touchdowns!
And of course, the most fun fundamental of all: The touchdown celebration! Create an endzone area, using trees, bushes, jackets, cones or whatever else you have to mark the boundaries. Show the kids how to spike the ball when they score a TD, then have them make up their own celebrations.