What you need to know about youth football equipment

One of the most important aspects to youth football is being certain that your players are properly equipped with the correct football equipment. Listed below are common questions from youth coaches and parents regarding football equipment and safety for youth players.

Why Do Football Players Always Look So Bulky?

If you are a mother, you might be wondering why the players always look so bulky. With good reason, this is because of all the padding and protective gear involved in the player’s uniform.

You will learn to be thankful for their bulk once they start playing and you see the high-level of contact that is involved in the sport. That bulk is what protects your child from injury, or at least reduces the risk of injury.

So, What Equipment Is Used?

The main components of the equipment used in youth football leagues are a helmet to protect them from head injury, a neck collar or neck roll, jockstrap and a cup, a mouth guard, pads for their thighs, hips and knees, shoulder pads and gloves.

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Is The Helmet The Most Important Piece Of Equipment?

When it comes to football, especially with young children, the helmet is the most important piece of football equipment. Although helmets don’t completely eliminate the risk of head injury, they certainly reduce that risk. However, thanks to technological advances made in helmet designs, head gears are becoming more and more protective for the head. One in particular, the Xenith X1, uses air-filled shock absorbers. This new design has been tested throughout high school and college teams countrywide.

It has proven to be more protective than most other helmets on the market.

Do Helmets Offer Additional Protective Add-Ons?

There are a decent amount of additions you can make to your helmet that will help increase the protection. Although they may become a little irritating to deal with, it’s definitely suggested to add this gear to the helmet. One optional add-on is a visor to help shield the player’s eyes. Another add-on is jaw pads, which can be attached to the bottom of the helmet. Jaw pads provide increased protection against concussions.

What Else Should I Know About Helmets?

One important thing you should know about helmets used for football in the youth divisions is that very few helmets are actually new. It’s suggested that you make sure players have a new helmet every year, even if that means raising money for new helmets. Also, you should make sure that each player’s helmet fits properly and correctly. If it doesn’t fit right, their risk of head injury increases.

The last thing about helmets and possibly the most significant is that you should be certain that your players are taught the correct tackling method. If they use their helmets to make a tackle, they will most likely suffer some form of head injury.

What Do Neck Collars/Neck Rolls Do?

Neck Collars are important for any football player to have, if they play a position that will require a lot of high-intensity collisions. Often found on linebackers, defensive linemen and running backs, neck collars are worn to help protect your head against whiplash. When you make a hard tackle, your head is going to want to whip back, which can badly injure your neck. A neck collar prevents your head from doing that.

Will A Mouth Guard Actually Protect My Child?

A mouth guard, also known as a mouthpiece, is to be worn at all times while a player is on the field. Their main function is to protect the player’s teeth and jaw. Football players need that protection with all of the grinding they do of their teeth. It also protects the players from some head injuries, although they aren’t primarily made to do so. Most mouthguards are made to be bright in color, this way it is easier for the referees to make sure the players are wearing them at all times during play.

Padding Is Used To Protect A Player’s Thighs, Hips And Knees

The larger pads of the three are the thigh pads, which protect your thighs from major blows to that area. Oftentimes, football players collide head on and smack their thighs against each other. Without these pads, that collision would deal much more damage. Padding is also placed over a player’s hips and knees to help against tough collisions to those areas.

It is possible to change the sizes of the pads. Some players like to play with smaller pads with less padding, arguing that the bigger ones are too much of a distraction. Although its also possible to increase the padding in those areas. It’s really just the player’s preference of how he/she wants their padding to fit. It’s important to remain as comfortable as possible out on the field.

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Shoulder Pads Are A Huge Component To Football Equipment

Shoulder pads are arguably the second most important piece of equipment used in youth football, as well as football of all divisions. The shoulder pads come in two types to choose from: cantilevered and flat. The cantilevered pads are larger pads and are used mainly by offensive and defensive linemen, as well as linebackers. This is because they receive the most brutal and direct collisions. The flat pads are smaller and mainly used by quarterbacks and wide receivers. Flat shoulder pads restrict their movement less than the cantilevered pads.

Are Gloves Really Necessary For My Child To Wear?

In a high-speed and high-intense game of football, which they all are, your hands are constantly at risk of injury. The entire time a player is holding a football, the defense is focused on getting the ball. It makes sense to protect your hands, and gloves add that protection. Although it’s not a lot of protection, it is enough.

Gloves are also made to help with catching the ball and holding onto it. In cold weather conditions, it gets tough to keep the ball in your hands. Having gloves can make it a lot easier.

Ryan Brennan
Author: Ryan Brennan

Youth Sports
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