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Time for Tackle?

by Ronald A. Rowe | February 1st, 2013 | Tweens
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kids footballItís a decision that haunts many parents during the tween years. Your child has been playing flag football for years with comparatively high levels of success and low occurrences of injury. Now that heís a tween, some of his friends are moving on to tackle football, others are continuing with flag football, and still others are dropping the sport altogether. So what is your move?

There is no black and white, one size fits all answer to the question. But there are a few guidelines and considerations that you can follow to help guide you to the right answer.

What Does He Want?
This is a one-sided question. Just because he wants to move to tackle doesnít necessarily mean that you should let him. But if he doesnít want to you probably shouldnít push him toward it. The odds are that your child wonít be playing in the NFL in ten years. Pushing a child to play the aggressive and often violent game of tackle football against his wishes probably isnít going to do anybody any good. Either keep him in flag or find another outlet, team-sport or otherwise ,to fill the void.

Physical Condition
The pounding from a season of tackle football can take a toll on a young body. Tweens are still growing and developing. The tween years are a delicate time in the development of bones. An injury now could derail plans for future athletic endeavors for your child. Even if the physical damage isnít lasting, putting a smaller, less developed child into tackle football too early could put him at risk of repeated beatings that will turn him off from wanting to play in the future.

Alternatives
Depending on where you live you may have many alternatives for youth athletics or you may be limited to the offerings of the local school system. The more choices you have, the more time you can wait before making a final decision on starting tackle football.

Every child is different. You canít put these few rules into a computer and pop out a definitive decision on if and when to start your child in tackle football. But these guidelines are a good starting point for you to evaluate the options.

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