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Corn Flakes: Teaching Kids To Hate Football

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News and a story about how you really can coach kids to hate football.

NCAA Football: Fresno State at Colorado State Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

One of my home projects as of late has been to start digitizing all of our old videotapes. like most other parents we bought a video camera when our children was born. I am not talking about the old VHS cameras that weighed about 40 pounds and look like you were a professional journalist. We had two video cameras, one that use the Sony MP 120 tapes and then of course later, the Sony Handy cam which use the mini DV tapes.

We hadn’t looked at our videotapes in years. When we finally pulled out one of the many DVDs and attempt to run it in this Sony Handy cam, it of course ate the tape. No longer wishing to have this happen I bought a Sony DSR – 45 off eBay which is a professional tape deck, so that I could transfer the tapes using FireWire.

One of the first tapes I pulled out and decided to transfer was a tape of my oldest son playing eighth grade football. He played football in seventh and eighth grade and both years I helped out with coaching and then videotaped the games. The eighth-grade coach actually requested that I record every game and deliver him a DVD again every game after the game was over, which I did. He would study them and then come back to practice and change whatever shortcomings his team had for the following game.

As I’m watching this tape, a game comes on and which we’re playing a team and they’re trying to run a version of the spread offense. At least it looked that way, the quarterback would line up in a shotgun formation. On every play the center would snap the ball, and it would either dribble on the ground in front of the quarterback or fly over his head. The result of every play was the quarterback being smashed into the ground by three or four of our defensive linemen. Sometimes the quarterback would have enough time to wing the ball into the air as an act of desperation.

At one point I’m standing next our head coach and I say out loud, “Why are they bothering to run this offense if they can’t even get the ball snapped correctly?” He turns to me and says “a lot of the club teams run whatever offense their high school runs to prepare the younger kids to play in high school.”

My response was, “I don’t think they’re learning anything right now other than to hate football.”

Both the head coach and the assistant turned to me with a look that said, “Why would any kid ever hate football?”

Our head coach played tight end at the University of Minnesota. Our main assistant coach played at the University of Iowa and then went on to play in the NFL. Neither of these guys had it in their heads that their kids (or other kids) might dislike the coaching so much that they never wanted to play the sport again, because the sons of these fathers were going to play football whether they wanted to or not.

Meanwhile our team continue to roll over the other team as if they didn’t exist. Their offense continued its futility - it went on like this for the entire first half. In the second half, the other team finally had the quarterback line up under center. It didn’t matter, by that point they were defeated.

It seems to me that no matter what sport a kid is playing, whether male or female, that a coach or an adult in charge should put them in a position to be successful. If you don’t, all that happens is that they have a miserable experience and who wants that? If you go on a vacation to a nice place you expect to have fun, you don’t expect it to be miserable. The same goes for your kids in their activities.

My oldest son had a good experience in seventh and eighth grade football. At the end of his eighth grade season, I asked him if he were going to go out for the high school football team. he said no, that he would be going out for soccer instead. I was relieved to hear it, not because I feared him getting injured playing football (he could just as easily gotten injured playing soccer), but because I felt that he would have more success and get more playing time and have a better experience in soccer.

That’s your story for today.

Flakes is very abbreviated as I am somewhat under the weather.

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