I did something this week that I probably should’ve done last week. It’s not that I was being lazy, but it’s something difficult to do every season, and this year, the feelings are multiplied by two.
In our house, we’d gotten ready for practice and games since Aug. 1, but it was finally time to put away the boys’ football equipment
Our younger son Jared’s first season of flag football ended a few weeks ago, and it was a wonderful experience. And then two weeks back, our older son Bradley’s tackle football season ended with a Super Bowl victory. Knowing there probably wasn’t going to be a Turkey Bowl or anything like that this year, I could’ve packed up the football gear the day after, but I procrastinated because it’s always hard to say goodbye to a youth football season.
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Sure, my wife and I now get a bit of a break (at least until the next sports season starts) from getting the kids off to the practice field a few times a week, and getting everyone out of the house on time for games on Sunday, but it’s something you get used to. Now we ask the same question we query each and every season:
“What do we do now?”
Bradley is filling the void by playing intramural flag football after school during the week, and Jared is busy playing with friends and deciding what sport he wants to do during the winter. But for my wife and I, there’s a to-do list that goes beyond just packing up the equipment as the offseason settles in.
Keep the equipment visible
I strongly suggest you pack your child’s football equipment in a sturdy bag. Put everything in there that he or she used this past season, including the helmet and shoulder pads if they have their own. Also put away the socks, wristbands, arm sleeves, eye black and everything else that can still be used next season. But don’t hide it in the garage. Keep it visible and easy to get to, because things could come up during the offseason that will require getting your hands on the equipment bag.
Football helmet recertification
If your child has his or her own helmet, check the sticker on the back to see when it was issued. It’s suggested that a helmet is re-certified every year to ensure it’s safe to use, but definitely get this done at least every two years. Riddell has a great reconditioning programthat we went through first-hand last year, and they’ll do it for any helmet, whether it’s made by Riddell or not.
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Keep watching, but take some time off
For a child, the juices are still flowing after football season ends, and that enthusiasm should never waver. But when a season’s over, it’s over, and a child should take some time away from the game to focus on other things like schoolwork and the next sport on the horizon.
It’s always a good idea to encourage your child to watch as many college and pro games as possible but take it easy playing for a while. Many people in the medical field have told me it’s best for a child to play other sports during an offseason. I’m not saying a child can’t toss the pigskin around in the backyard, but looking for an indoor winter league might be a bit much.
Look at football camps
During the spring and summer, there are a number of youth football camps to choose from across the country. They range from full-equipment programs to non-contact camps, but all have one thing in common – they give your child a jump on getting ready for next season.
My kids go to a great three-day camp here in the New York area every June that features current and former NFL players and coaches as guest instructors. The great thing about this camp, it’s non-contact with no pads and the emphasis is on fundamentals. That’s important because many of the same fundamentals are shared between tackle football and flag football.
Yes, it’s sad that the youth football season is over for our family, but we’ve started to look back on it and reflect on what a great season it was. My wife Sheryl and I couldn’t be any prouder of what our boys accomplished this past season, and we’re already looking forward to next year.
But, first thing’s first. Where is that baseball equipment bag? The winter clinic is coming up!
The original article found here.