What Age Should a Player Pick a Position?

One question we are asked repeatedly here at Texasfootballcoach.com is what is the right age for my child to pick a position for his football career?

As with many questions about youth football, there is not necessarily a right or wrong answer here. In this guide, we will aim to look at the factors that will lead you to the right time to have your child stick to one position, look at how the role of a Texas football coach is instrumental in that decision-making, and try to lead you to a place where your child picks the correct position at the right time based on tackle football coaching.

Start With Versatility

In order to decide when the best time is to have your child pick a specific position, we must first look at why you shouldn’t just pick a position from day dot. The simple answer is that versatility is vital for a kid playing football, as the ability to do different things on the field will make them much more competent as a player further down the line. Sure, at age nine, your kid might be big for their age, and a career on the offensive line looks nailed on.

Kids, however, all grow at different times and in different ways, so a big nine-year-old can quickly become a smaller and quicker 14-year-old. Pigeonholing your kid early and not focusing on core concepts – concepts such as passing, catching, and tackling that a good football coach will always work on as they are the fundamentals of the sport – will put them in a bind as they develop into their adult body.

Streamline When Needed

The best way to look at the question of when to get position-specific is to look at the level of competition around your kid. From ages eight through ten or 11, most parents and football coaches are in the same place as you are. At this age, the game is supposed to be a fun challenge, so letting your kid try to be everything for a guard to a safety to a kicker will keep the run going – a vital concept – while also developing their skill set in a hundred different ways.

Eventually, though, the game will get more competitive. You will notice other kids starting to stick to positions – or at least a position group such as offensive line or linebacker – and as that happens, you should look to do the same. Competition for places and the overall level of competitive play will quickly grow. At this point, the player that is seen as a utility, the player that can do everything pretty well but nothing quite well enough, will be the first to see less playing time.

The age at which this happens will be different based on the type of league your kid is playing in. If it is a less competitive league – maybe a YMCA league where the game is as much about community as the drive to win – then it will happen later than if you have your kids playing in a league where each team has a dozen position-specific Texas football coaches as your kid turns nine. Read the room here. Get a feel for when this position choice should happen, but make sure you have allowed your child to play enough positions earlier in life to have the fundamentals to make a change should they hit a growth spurt later in life.

Always Teach Tackle Technique

One thing to consider as your kid gets more and more into football is that players that can tackle correctly and with a safe technique will always find their way onto the field. There are 11 defensive starters, countless reserves, and a whole roster of potential special teamers that will get to play if they know how to tackle. This is in stark contrast to the one player that passes the ball and the half dozen or so expected to catch a pass in a game.

We suggest using the resources on our websites to give your kid a head start regarding knowing how to tackle. This will allow him or her to see the field more often, no matter their body type. It will also make you as a parent much more comfortable that they are playing the game in the safest possible way, increasing your enjoyment of what they do on game day. Safe tackling never goes out of style, and no matter what age they finally pick a position, a strong background in tackling can only be a good thing for their development.

Are you a parent or coach who wants to make sure your young athlete is being taught the safest and most effective tackling techniques? Then SIGN UP to our newsletter to stay up to date with our regular content, including upcoming events or camps!

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