Discussion in 'The Thunderdome' started by cotton, Mar 25, 2013.
He loves football and is going to stick it out. There's a few that won't though.
Knox County is talking about this, too. It's one of the many reasons why several parks pulled out and formed their own middle school league, and while keeping ages 11, 12 13 & 14 separate.
From my limited and purely personal experiences, safety concerns and non-competitive play are the two main / most oft-cited reasons why many parents / kids won't play or stop playing football. I can't imagine that combining age groups will do anything but exacerbate and further those concerns. While certainly valid, those aren't the reasons that I personally believe to be the most likely reasons for kids not playing, but those are far and away the ones I've heard the most.
It's good that they want to talk about it and are soliciting various opinions, as that's usually the surest way for the best ideas to win out. I'm sure it'll be fine.
One of the best parts of coaching is when you are at another sport and the mom asks you to talk to her kid because he's nervous and will listen to you.
So the kid I was talking about above ended up giving it a go. I tell one of the coaches to make sure he gets some reps and to trust me. At the end they start doing a ladder take down. Start with two smallest and winner stays in. He was 5th or 6th to go, as he's a smaller kid.
First night out there he won his first EIGHT matches, some against kids who this is their second or third year. One of the parents sitting next to me comments that someone has worked a lot with this kid. I just tell him "nope." His eyes get big and he asks, "he's doing this all on raw ability?" "Yup." The guy just said "Wow."
After it was over the coach walked up and thanked me for pointing him out and making sure he got in there.
Looks like we are going to stay at 3 age divisions. All the coaches there decided that it's the best for all, that a lost of 12 years olds aren't ready for middle school ball, and that we need to start promoting it a lot more as a whole. May start letting 6 year olds play as well.
The size variances between ages 12 and 15, middle schoolers, is crazy. From 4'5 and 70 lbs to 6'3 180 and of course some tall and big kids. Tough matchup last week for him vs yellow helmet, but he had a few assists in 8-0 and 7-0 wins and the ball didnt hit the ground but hes gotta push harder and dodging and juking. Hes too intimidated right now on offense, opposite of his Defense.
Longstick kids are big and can hit and have a longer stick to impede but he has to get more aggressive.
Basketball, football, baseball, etc should be divided into U12 and U14. Problem is going by grades in school ball and you get a 15 year old 8th grader vs a 12 year old 6th grader and it shouldnt be a good matchup unless the 15 year old is not good.
15 year old 8th grader? Wtf? I was 15 as a sophomore.
I graduated at 17. The 19 year old seniors had a big advantage. I used the think as a soph at UT how much better i woulda been if i was still playing HS ball at that age.
Sometimes that's why college coaches recruit kids that we don't think make sense. A 17 year old or a young 18 year old is going to develop a bit more than a 19 year old in most cases.
With the exception of the one kid in the left foreground, those players in red are offensive linemen, and the biggest kids on the team. If you saw this kid beside a bunch of skill guys, the difference in size(s) would be much more glaring.
A couple of things:
1. No matter how big that kid is, he is every bit as deserving of the chance to play football as anyone else. Sports are good for all kids, and they each have a right to play.
2. At some point, the disparity in size is too great, and becomes unsafe. But like NYY, that goes both ways, from heavy to light, tall to short, experienced to novice, etc. Just as some kids are likely too big to safely play at a certain age, so too are some kids simply too small. It doesn’t have to be either kid’s fault - it just is what it is.
3. And while the disparity in size is the most immediately obvious, and gets a lot of attention - it is the wide differences that exist in player development (mental, physical, athletic ability, experience, aggression, experience, etc.) that can oftentimes be most concerning, and even unsafe. I’ve had the smallest kids that were the most aggressive and hardest-hitting and the biggest kids who were teddy bears, and would run from contact.
4. A player’s age is certainly the easiest way to categorize players into groups, but that ease comes at a cost of granularity, and misrepresents a large portion of kids. Worst, an age-only grouping is least effective for those kids who fall at the extremes, and where the greatest disparity - and risk - is most likely to occur.
5. Where a kid can best and most safely compete would be best determined by multiple criteria, and which accounts for physical size, player development, experience, etc.
I don’t know how you do this, tbh. I don’t think that teams and leagues are at all interested in exploring it....even as they’re mightily struggling to reactively adjust (e.g. such as by combining age groups, as Card mentioned earlier) for the absence of many, many kids who continue to refuse to play, or who try but quit, under the current age-specific classification.
Thats a big kid. If he's decent enough, you got to move him up a level or 2 imo. I always tried to play up a level if we could without getting badly beaten, and thats without considering size. Iron sharpens iron and im just not sure what purpose it serves for the kid of that size.
Reminds me of the video of a rugby kid obliterating other kids. If someone knows what im talking about, please post.
Of the 15-20 Parks and communities who participate in Knox County, each should have seven (7) age groups (7U - 13/14U), and anywhere from 105-150 teams, with a minimum roster of fifteen (15) kids per team, or 1,575 - 2,250 kids, total.
And while a few Parks will exceed those roster numbers, the majority of Parks will struggle to meet even that minimum, and with an alarming number failing to meet it at all, and who can't field teams in entire age groups, over multiple years.
In fact, Knox County has seventy-five (75) fewer football teams than it did just five (5) years before. That’s 1,125 fewer kids playing football.
It’s an alarming stat, but one which I heard firsthand, directly from the Knox County Football Director, some two years ago. I can’t imagine - and the season schedules for this past year seem to strongly suggest - that the problem hasn’t improved in the intervening two years, but has likely only further worsened and declined.
What’s worse is when you go to watch a 7U-12U game and see 15-20 kids on each field / sideline, but then see a 13/14U team with literally 50+ kids on their team, if not more.
The reasons for this are many, but my personal opinion is that the cause of this sudden influx is primarily two-fold:
1. Many of the same parents who don’t want their kids playing rec league ball, do want their kid to play high school football, and so they don’t join until the final year at age 13/14U, as a sort of “jump start” to playing in high school the following year. What they perhaps fail to take into account is how tremendously difficult it will be for that kid to not only compete against older kids already in high school, but even with their contemporaries, and who have 5+ years of greater experience. From a competitive standpoint, it's often a gap that most kids - absent the tip-tip few, most stellar or physically gifted - will ever be able to fully eclipse or cover. And from a safety standpoint, I'd argue that there's a much greater risk in starting football late, than having played at a younger age, and benefitting from that experience.
2. Many high schools can avoid all of the TSSAA’s school zoning / transfer rules if the kid is enrolled in their middle school, prior to entering high school. So these teams recruit - let me be clear: RECRUIT - kids to come and join their school and team prior to their 13/14U (8th grade) season, so as to have the kid play for their high school, and in order to skirt these rules. I hope to make enough money to one day form a vigilante group of Super Friends, and who just roam the State of Tennessee, exposing the seedy underbelly of high school recruiting, and with the aim of laying waste to the whole farcical spectacle, exposing as many of the hypocritically self-serving dipshits who game the system by taking advantage and profiting off of these kids (KIDS. K-I-D-S. KIDS) and their families - often the least aware, capably resourceful and most at-risk. But I'd also like to expose the the dullards who should be preventing this shit, but who instead cheer their doing so, and thereby allow them to live vicariously through their high school teams, ostensibly, so as to give them a few hours of reprieve in worrying about their erectile dysfunction or how friendly their wives have become with that trainer at her gym.
As long as you’ve got win-at-all-cost coaches and parents, even these conversations - much less actual reform - will prove impossible.
What all sides seem to be failing to understand is that they are killing the very golden calf that they are so zealously worshiping. It doesn't matter how stocked with talent your rec and high school teams now are, or you hope them to continue to be - if enough kids continue to quit at the current rate, they soon won't have anyone to play against, or enough leagues who remain viably capable of fielding teams from the exceedingly few who may still wish to play - including your own.
People who love football and wish to see it continue had better start wrapping their minds around this reality, and finding both a way and the will to figure out and do whatever it takes to get more kids playing football, and sooner rather than later. Because if we're losing this many teams in Knox County, and there are leagues as rich & powerful as Maryville who are struggling to find other teams who have enough kids to play, that rippling tsunami will eventually start showing up in the college and pro ranks, too, including Tennessee.
We're dealing with the same thing. There are 7 programs in our league and three age groups. Of those 7, 1 is near extension, 3 are struggling, and 3 are healthy. Our program is fine. Biggest problem we're concerned about is what do we do if everyone else starts to fold. And while we are not installing the high school offense or anything of the like at age 7, we are teaching these kids how to play football in these youth leagues. There are really good coaches from age 7-12, and the best players that have come through the Maryville program that didn't move in all started playing youth football along the way. We know this and will not let it die, regardless of what we have to do.
My general belief is that Knox Co, Loudon Co, us and Alcoa with maybe one or two from Sevier County, will end of forming our own league. IMO, that's how it's going to have to be. Only problem then is how do you fund a 15-20K start up cost for a football league.
The concussion doctors and media should be raked over the coals over that stuff.
Have you seen the study out of Univ of Colorado that says there is no link between youth football and long term brain issues?
And how playing football reduces the chances of a kid committing suicide compared to the general population of kids that didn’t play.
Some how the media pushed two quacks and gave them a platform while ignoring basically a ton of evidence and doctors saying wait a minute.
Because the other was sexy and made for good news.
Huge game Friday with Ravenwood visiting Brentwood in the playoffs. There may be more people there than any game in the state this year. Bruins won earlier meeting and held Mason down, but Rwood won thr playoff revenge game last year and should again. I believe rwood has 5 or 6 D1 commits. Brentwood wr Walker Merril can fly and may play sec, and their QB by sr year will be nasty. Rwood has advantage in the trenches. Mason has the state game td record. Highly recruited Grimes plays for rwood.
Walker Merril has a Tennessee offer
Rwood ain't overlooking them again.
Separate names with a comma.