Thursday, October 18, 2007

You Gotta be a Football Hero.

Number One Son just finished taking a Community Ed. Football class. This class taught the basics of football. No pads, no helmets, no end zone dances. Lady Di and I were very nervous about signing him up for the class. N1S has had trouble with team sports in the past. It takes him awhile to grasp the concept of playing with teammates against another team. He usually is busy concentrating on what he is supposed to do so much that he loses sight of what the team is doing or even whose team he is on. We didn't want him to feel self conscious and we didn't want him to get teased. It's a class after school and I wouldn't be able to watch because of work.
But we took the plunge anyway in the hopes that he would learn more about the sport and maybe fit in better with his peers.

A few days before his first class, I thought it would be a good idea to get the football out and play catch. We tossed the ball back and forth trying see how many times we could catch it without dropping it. I think we got up to twelve or so.

N1S struggles a little with throwing a baseball. He isn't able to coordinate his feet to step forward as he throws. He usually has to think about which foot to step forward each time. Throwing the football is a different matter. He still has to think a little about his feet, but he can throw a tight, accurate spiral almost every time. For some reason his herky-jerky throwing style is very conducive to throwing a football. Score one for N1S.

With this success, I decided to go to the next level. I showed N1S how to run a football play. We got into a huddle. I traced the passing route on my hand for him to run. We lined up. I said 'hut' and off he ran. We ran the 'down and out' play. We ran 'the post'. We ran 'the fly'. I had to tell N1S how many steps to take before looking back for the ball. Otherwise, he would've run all the way to the neighbor's yard before looking back. Playing catch while standing still is hard enough. Now I was asking him to catch a ball while running and looking back over his shoulder. He tried very hard, but catching and running is difficult for anybody. He got a little frustrated and fell down a lot. But ,overall, it was a pretty positive day.

On the day before his football class, N1s was nervous and didn't want to go. I think he was afraid that he wouldn't be able to catch the ball well enough. It about broke my heart. We found out who his coach was going to be and, luckily, it was N1S's old gym teacher from first grade. It made a world of difference for N1S to know someone at the class.
He went to the class and was excited to go to the next one. He found out that there was a former baseball teammate in the class. He is definitely more excited about football now. He said he learned some more pass routes, and he's learned how to pass block. I know a certain 'purple' team who could use some training in that area.

His class then moved on to learning how to play as a team. He said that his team beat the other team, one touchdown to none. I said, "Great, how did you do?" He said he blocked on that play. He also said he almost scored a touchdown, but ran out of bounds. I guess the coach, who is the quarterback, faked a pass and then handed the ball to him. I would have loved to see that.

He is also learning a little football discipline. N1S said that one of the boys in his class didn't listen to the coach. Because of that, everyone had to run an extra lap around the field. "If one is punished, we all get punished.", he stated. Although, running a lap around the field may not really be punishment for a bunch of nine year boys. They are usually running everywhere anyway. I guess it's punishment if you tell them it is.

Overall, his experience was very positive. He is learning. His coordination is improving. And he is making friends and building confidence. Plus, we actually watched an entire football game together last Sunday. I'm glad that we actually had a good game to watch. He followed the play pretty well and cheered at the right time. He got excited when the Vikings did well and asked a lot of questions. There were a few times he accidentally booed at the Vikings. I think they were accidents anyway. Anyway, it was just nice to interact with him and enjoy something together. Adrian Peterson is now his favorite player.


SciFi Dad said...

That sounds like an awesome program... fundamentals, defense, offense... and limited contact to start... excellent way to introduce him to the sport.

(And realistically, how long will it be before Childress is sending scouts there? Maybe the boy will pay his own way through college.)

Above Average Joe said...

Great post. The Champ & I throw the football around the backyard. Right now he would rather play a "game" than run routes.
The program sounds good too. Hopefully it shows him how to play the game the right way, instead of learning it from the likes of Chad Johnson & Terrell Owens.

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.