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The Declining Numbers Issue

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Bob Goodman
(@bob-goodman)
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Joined: 10 years ago
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Posted by: @youth-coach

Bob the entire point of it is that doing so is Barbaric! Not to mention dangerous!  

Did you think I didn't get that?  Did you think anyone reading it didn't get that?  Or didn't get that I was being sarcastic?  But there's a grain of truth to it, in that I suspect there might actually be a youth football coach or parent out there crazy enough to drug their kid (maybe even without his knowledge) to make weight.  We've heard of all sorts of crazy stuff parents do when their kids are involved in some kind of competition.

 


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gumby_in_co
(@gumby_in_co)
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I haven't met a youth football coach yet who suggested sweating down a player or having him cut weight to make the "patch limit". We have consistently and steadfastly advised both kids and parents to let the chips fall where they fall. Twice, we've had a kid who was within 5 lbs of the limit come to us and ask us about losing weight. I advised both kids (about 6 weeks out from weigh ins) that if they really wanted to lose 5 lbs, to 1) cut out sugar 2) ride your bike 30 minutes per day, or go for a 30 minute walk every day. 

It's the parents that I worry about. One of the kids mentioned above (2nd grader at the time) was a competitive wrestler. His dad told me he would "sweat him down" because they did that all the time for wrestling. I asked him politely to please not do that.

This subject is actually how I met Mahonz. Our league had a very ill-advised parent forum at one time (2006 ish). The vast majority of the posts came from board members and the like. They were talking about the "sweat down rule" and Mahonz said something about using Exlax instead of trash bags. I thought he was a total a-hole for that because I wasn't yet familiar with his sense of humor.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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Joined: 11 years ago
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Topic starter  
Posted by: @bob-goodman

But there's a grain of truth to it, in that I suspect there might actually be a youth football coach or parent out there crazy enough to drug their kid (maybe even without his knowledge) to make weight.  We've heard of all sorts of crazy stuff parents do when their kids are involved in some kind of competition.

I've known parents who were willing to give their kids laxatives the night before a weigh-in.  The only way I know of to get rid of these stupid practices is to no longer have weight-related football.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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mahonz
(@mahonz)
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Joined: 12 years ago
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Posted by: @gumby_in_co

This subject is actually how I met Mahonz. Our league had a very ill-advised parent forum at one time (2006 ish). The vast majority of the posts came from board members and the like. They were talking about the "sweat down rule" and Mahonz said something about using Exlax instead of trash bags. I thought he was a total a-hole for that because I wasn't yet familiar with his sense of humor.

LOL...I remember that....They were talking about multiple weeks of rabbit food and water only.....so I suggested an easy button....jokingly. This was a carryover conversation from the County Board Meeting. They were actually considering a rule that allowed sweating down.  Losing weight to make weight will only work with a select few.....the fat ones ! 

That Forum was a disaster but it did result in the 15 MPR. Prior to that it graduated....backwards from 10 at the Smurf levels to 6 once they got to the 8th grade. We were a two platoon team at the time. Once the Rule was implemented we won a playoff game because we were already comfortably at 15 and our opponent was still struggling to make the change.  

The negative? All the Dictators began creating 16-18 man rosters while we fought tooth and nail to maintain larger rosters....which as you know ....continues to this day. Thankfully the 15% Rule and the 80% Rule are now gone. Its a bit shocking how open and willing the Board is these days now that the League is shrinking into oblivion. I do believe the patch rule is about to go bye bye after 75 years. Unthinkable in the not so distant past. Also taking another run at the no kick KO. I think it passes this time.  

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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patriotsfatboy1
(@patriotsfatboy1)
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Joined: 8 years ago
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Back on topic because I hope that weight restricted football is going away.

I agree that coaches need to evolve.  I just had this discussion with our new Football Director.  He gets it.  Coaches have to be recruiting all the time where we are and we can't afford to run any kid off.  It is less about X's and O's, but we also don't need to cater to the "everyone gets a trophy" thinking. 

Look at DP.  You could put him at any age group and he would have 99% retention rate year over year with kids being his biggest recruiters.  It is because he teaches them the right way, he genuinely cares about them (and the parents know that) and they like what they are doing (including the competitive parts).  I am sure that there a bunch of other reasons, but I think that coaches have to step up their games or kids will do something else (as was in the OP).


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Coach Kyle
(@coach-kyle)
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@patriotsfatboy1I had a 300 lbs kid who could really motor. We gave him the ball once and everyone got out of his way. The other teams coaches actually said it was a great move and didn't think I was running up the score at all. Then years later I saw that video of an identical situation, but some kid tried to tackle the big kid at full speed. It was brutal. 

 

Deaths while walking 4,743Deaths from football 12


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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Topic starter  

15 years ago, the youth program I was involved with had 13 teams and 300 kids.  There were plenty of goof-ball coaches back then, too.  Now there are only 3 teams and less than 100 kids.  Yet, there are still plenty of goof-ball coaches there.  15 years ago, if/when we lost kids there were plenty more kids to fill that void.  But believe me, the ingrates ran off kids, either on purpose or through their own incompetence.  Now that CTE has people's attention, as well as plenty of other choices (the rise of LAX, kids being online, more single parent households), kids are staying away.  Yet the ingrates want to blame the kids for their softness, blame the parents for everything and not look in the mirror and consider how they themselves can do better in gaining kids and keeping kids.  Kids and parents are looking for a GREAT situation.  Provide them with that.  My argument isn't about how we can make football fun.  I love football.  It's a great game.  And it's already fun.  My argument is about how we can make kids want to play for YOU.  That is within your control.  The problem is, I see plenty more unlikeable coaches out there, than likable ones.  And by "likable," I don't necessarily mean "nice."  I mean coaches who know how to teach, who are positive role models, who demonstrate leadership, maturity, and are caring.  That all adds up to a byproduct of winning, and kids & parents who want to be a part of it.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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Dusty Ol Fart
(@youth-coach)
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In our "Hey Day" we were running about 175-190 kids from a town with a Population of 2000.  We covered 2 teams at K-1, 2 Teams at 3rd. 1 team at 4th through 8th grade.  

Last year we were at approximately 60 kids with no tackle ball under 5th grade.  1 team at 5th (Combined 4th and 5th) grade, 1 team at 7th (Combined 6th/7th) and 1 8th grade team.   

The decline in numbers cannot be denied and has been somewhat drastic over the past 3 or 4 years.  Certainly not all can be attributed to  the Concussion Panic but that has had a significant effect on those who are "on the fence" as they say.  Yet Our Flag Football numbers are not expanding as quickly as we thought either.  It certainly cant help our cause with shows like Friday Night Tykes or News Shots of Coaches Throwing Punches over a JFL Game.     

 

 

Not MPP... ONE TASK!  Teach them!  🙂


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patriotsfatboy1
(@patriotsfatboy1)
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Joined: 8 years ago
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@youth-coach Do you folks have any transition options between flag and tackle, such as Flex Football?  We are seeing that help people make the transition, so that the problem doesn't get even worse.  

 


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Dusty Ol Fart
(@youth-coach)
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Joined: 8 years ago
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We attempted to institute a form of Flex Ball but, like Flag, it is being met with Stiff Resistance!   Tackle Or Nothing.

 

With so many of our surrounding towns eliminating tackle ball under 5th grade what choice do we have.   

 

 

 

 

Not MPP... ONE TASK!  Teach them!  🙂


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CoachSteel
(@coachsteel)
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Joined: 3 years ago
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We brought in flexball last season for little ones (ages 5-6). I thought it was a great way to ease both kids and new parents into tackle football. We’ve had a lot of parents that signed their kids up for flex last season, transition them to tackle this year. Great way for kids to get used to some contact, and the parents to become more comfortable trusting our coaches and organization with the safety of their kids. 


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patriotsfatboy1
(@patriotsfatboy1)
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@coachsteel - exactly. Flex is a good bridge for kids, coaches and parents. We can be hardcore, tackle or nothing, but parents could then choose nothing. 

 


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gumby_in_co
(@gumby_in_co)
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Joined: 12 years ago
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Mahonz and I are coaching Flex this Spring. He's convincing the league to invest in flags because touch is too subjective. We will be the 8th team in the 3rd/4th division, which is really strong for our area in the Spring. We also have a few new (to us) kids, which gives us the opportunity to sell them on our Fall program. Also, we have a very protective mom from Fall who is 100% on board with her son playing Flex. 

I haven't so much as blown a whistle in Flex yet, but so far, I have nothing bad to say about it. I'm even willing to go along with the weird alignment rules as long as it helps our Fall team and the sport in general.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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Dusty Ol Fart
(@youth-coach)
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 7701
 

At last nights Monthly Board Meeting it was decided to merge with a neighboring town for the upcoming season and see if that improves our numbers and hopefully field combined teams from 6-8th grade for both towns.

Such is the status of things.  

 

Not MPP... ONE TASK!  Teach them!  🙂


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coachstu123
(@coachstu123)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 15
 

I was just lamenting the fact that during my 15 years of coaching I went from tackle football being very popular (5 organizations in a town of 40,000 all fielding one team age for ages 8-12 some even two) to not even being able to field one team for each age group for ONE organization!!!!  The great decline started about 7 years ago.  I preach and preach to parents about the values of youth football.  What I find is that parents (not so much the kids) will seize any opportunity to coddle their children and avoid placing them in challenging situations or situations where they may possibly fail.  It is not the kids.  So when all that concussion stuff came out that is all parents needed to hold their kids out.  We live in a society where more and more people identify themselves as victims and as such, crusaders of some sort of perverted justice. Football represents "toxic masculinity" and must be shunned. Yes, it is complicated but it is a real phenomenon.  Suffice to say, I really hate hipsters!  


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