Sunday, June 26, 2016

Are you ready for some football?

A friend asked me yesterday to share some football tips and tricks! I started thinking about all of the things I’ve learned in the past 3 years as a football mom and I thought “there’s certainly other parents out there that would like to know this information.” So why not write a blog post about it?! 

Three years ago I entered the world of peewee football absolutely clueless! I knew nothing about equipment, cleats or pads. Thankfully I had friends and family to guide me!
1. Buy whatever you can with built in pads! I think my step-brother (who played peewee and high school football) was the first one to tell me this. He said “trust me, you take those pads in and out so many times.” There are several options. Most players wear girdles under their pants. There are a wide variety with various numbers of pads sewn in. My opinion is the more pads, the better. There are also football pants with built in pads. They’re called “integrated pants.” Your team may sell them or you could buy them in a sporting goods store or online. They are well worth the investment! There are also shirts that can be worn under the shoulder pads that have additional pads in them. Again, more pads=better.

I have personally bought Under Armour girdles and shirts the past few years. You can usually order last year’s design online and they are slightly cheaper than the current year’s design. You want to buy some that are well made and will hold up through wear and washing. 

2. Get cleats that fit well and will hold up through the season. If you’re football program is like ours they practice 3-4 nights a week and have a game every weekend. You need decent cleats. And there are a lot to pick from. Kudos to shoe companies that make them in every color you can imagine and with cartoon characters on them! Last year my son had bright green and purple Under Armour Joker cleats. He just had to have them! Unfortunately they did not hold up so great. I’m not sure if he was just really hard on them or if he outgrew them or they just weren’t made well. But by the end of the season they were showing several visible signs of wear on the inside. Bottomline…don’t buy just for looks. 

Also, if your child has a wide foot like my son’s, there aren’t many to pick from in the kids sizes. Adult sizes do have a few. 

Fancy football socks are not absolutely necessary. They look cool but really don't do anything special. And they're just one more thing that you have to wash and locate before the game!

3. Mouthgards-Players have to have them. There are these silly flavored ones that are much more expensive and not worth it all all. Just buy a regular one. The ones with the strap are a must.

4. Preparing for Games-The first season my son played I was not well prepared for the first few pre-season games. I’ll never forget getting out of the car and realizing that I had no umbrella. I hadn’t checked the weather at all. So I sat through an entire game in the rain, soaking wet. I didn’t even have a towel. Now I carry my “end of the world” bag to every single game! (That’s what my son calls it!)

Here’s what I take:
  1. Thirty One Large Utility Tote with Top-A-Tote lid (the lid is nice if it rains!)
  2. Roll of paper towels-dry off the bleachers, napkins, etc.
  3. Cash-You don’t get in the games for free!
  4. A lot of Bottled Water-I usually freeze mine ahead of time. If it’s really hot, you’ll be glad you did this!
  5. Umbrella(s)
  6. Sunscreen
  7. Hat
  8. Snacks
  9. Blanket(s)-when it gets colder
  10. Coat-when it gets colder
  11. Noisemakers-more about that below
  12. Bleacher Seat or Cushion
  13. Make sure my son has all of his stuff! We only left his helmet once!
5. Noisemakers-I’ve actually never made any myself but other players’ families bring plenty! We have com bells and jugs filled with pennies that have been painted in our team’s colors! Pinterest has some great ideas. 
Photo credit: Jane Bettis Photography

6. My best and most important piece of advice is to have fun, support your kids and their coaches and be involved! Peewee football doesn’t happen for free! Volunteer for the concession stand, work at the gate, bring snacks. Ask your kids’ coaches what you can do to help. Cheer on your kids! Wear obnoxious shirts and hats with your kid's number on them! Football has been a wonderful experience for my son and I hope it is a great experience for your kids too!

Photo credit: Jane Bettis Photography