Peewee football a good start for kids

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 19, 2012

Local football coaches said playing football at an early age benefits kids’ development in life and in the game they eventually grow up to love.

High school football teams will wrap up their summer workout programs later this month, and will start fall practice Aug. 6.

Starting to play football early is good because it teaches the kids the fundamentals of the game, Florala coach Justin Jones said.

“The No. 1 benefit are the basic fundamentals such as blocking and tackling, and how to keep yourself safe from getting injured,” Jones said. “That’s a good thing to do. I can see why kids would want to start early.”

Jones said football is really the only sport that utilizes a “team” aspect on the field.

“If you’ve got a good pitcher, you’ll win a baseball game, or a basketball player that lights it up, and then you’ve got a kid that can run, but a kid that can’t block,” he said. “Life lessons are taught in football. There’s no other sport like it. It teaches unity and teamwork.”

While playing football at an early age will teach a lot of the fundamentals, Pleasant Home coach Cody McCain said it also gets the kids used to practicing in a different environment.

“Football practies are a lot or strenuous and different than even basketball or baseball,” McCain, who used to coach baseball at PHS said. “A lot of the times, you’ll have kids that will play some PeeWee and youth ball, and maybe by the junior high level, they don’t like how physical the game is.

“Then, you get the other kids that love it who are committed from an early age on to high school,” he said.

McCain also said a school’s community is a big influence on how a young player’s development progresses.

“If you get enough comunity support out, that’s a big thing,” he said. “I believe Pleasant Home’s peewee program started before the high school program.

“If you get the kids’ and community support in youth league, you kind of create a demand for football at small high school like Pleasant Home,” he said.

Big numbers are a result of this youth league and community support, McCain said.

“I know for us, there’s a big number,” he said. “I don’t know the exact total that play in youth leagues at Pleasant Home.

“It just feeds into your program,” he said. “You can even check on your kids as they grow up.”