Sports and Kids??

Updated on March 01, 2013
D.A. asks from Barnegat, NJ
20 answers

My son is 8 going to be 9 in a couple of months. He is in Karate right now and he is doing good. He is not a very athletic boy. He just came to me and said he wants to join Football. His twin sister also came a nd said she wants to do Cheerleading. The football league in our town does it by age and weight. My problem is my son is a very big kid for his age he weighs 95 lbs. He is not fat he is just a big boy! He is just not athletic....he doesn't run very fast and he is also a lover not a fighter in other words he is not an aggressive kid. I am having a problem telling him no about football but my husband doesn't think we should let him because he doesn't want him to fail.....and deep down inside I do believe he will fail and really ruin is already very low self-esteem. I am trying to find a bowling league for his age in our area because he does like to bowl....not having any luck right now.. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle this? PLease let me know....Thank you!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

I just want to say a few things about myself....I am a mother who had to try for about 10 years before being able to finallly become pregnant through IVF. I am guilty for being a very over protective mother. My 2 miracles were 3 months premature and they had to spend the whole 3 months in the NICU. It sounded really bad when I wrote that I had a feeling deep inside that my son would fail at Football.....I guess thats me just being very overprotective and not wanting him to have a bad feeling about maybe failing. So this is what I'm going to do I am going to talk to my husband and tell him that we have to let him try....we need him to find his own... wether its going to be football or just another lesson in his life. I needed to hear what other people would do. I need to relax and let my children explore some of lifes lessons. Thank you all and I will keep you updated.

Featured Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

I would tell both kids no. You are looking at enrolling them in two of the most dangerous sports there are. No way will my son play football. His brain is way too important.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Maybe talk to the coach? If the coach has seen him in an athletic capacity, he might have some ideas. Even if he hasn't, maybe he'll have ideas re. trying out, etc., or what sport might work.

If you can't find a bowling league for his age group, maybe talk to the bowling alley about starting one :)

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from New York on

Wow - you're afraid your child might fail so you don't want him to try? Did you hear what you siad? Trying and failing are a part of life and excellent life lessons. It's a good thing to try and maybe succeed or maybe fail. Then learn to pick yourslef up and dust yourself off and try something else.

Never discourage your kids from trying something they want to try unless you can't afford it or if it's morally wrong.

My son played football from 1st grade through 6th. He's always been the tallest kid in his grade (a head taller than most and an inch taller than the tall kids) and still is. So the struggle with football was to make the weight limit each week. We did try playing up an age bracket with other kids he knew - and had we started that at the beginning of the season it would have worked out better - but since we tried mid-season it was kind of tough and we went back to his age group.

Football is actually a good sport for big kids - he'll get put on the line and will be a blocker and protect the quaterback and running back. They'll play him on defense so he gets to try to tackle the other team's players.

My son really enjoyed it while he played and he doesn't have that killer instinct either - it was more of a social thing for him - all his friend were playing. Once he got to 7th grade and the sports became more serious and practice was every day, he lost interest - which is fine since that's when it begins to get dangerous.

But it ends up that he was good at football - and it was a good experience for him. He now prefers baseball and basketball but he tried something new. He also tried lacrosse one season and didn't like it all - but we wanted him to try and see if he liked it.

GRade school years are great times to let kids see waht they like. As they get older they feel more self-conscious about trying new things - so this is the time to let them experiment.

I hope you open your mind for your son. If worse comes to worse and he fails he'll learn how to get over failure while he lives with his family who loves him unconditionally. Then he'll be more prepared as an adult to deal with the inevitable stuff that life brings.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I don't even like football for kids, but I would let him try. He might not fail as you fear, he might even excel, but he needs to find that out. He might resent you and your husband if you don't let him try. If it is too aggressive of a sport for him he should find that out on his own. A lot of 3rd graders are shocked by the physical aspects of football once they try it, but it's better to learn that on their own. If he does try it I would tell him he has to stick with the season though. It's a committment. Make sure he realizes how much time it takes so he knows what he's getting into in that respect. He might be good at it and it would help his self-esteem. Youth sports can be great teachers of life lessons, good and bad.

I have two very small boys. They both wanted to play football. I didn't like it because I feared serious injury, but I didn't want them to resent me for not letting them try. One figured out on his own after one season that it wasn't for him. The other played for five years, including two seasons as the starting QB, before he realized he just couldn't play competitively and safely at his size. But he figured that out on his own. And in the meantime he sure had fun his two seasons at QB.

My boys also play/have played hockey, another sport that terrifies me. My youngest retired after two concussions. My oldest still plays and loves it. I get family members asking me all the time why I let them play hockey. Yes, it scares and worries me, but they've made great friendships, have become great skaters, have learned to get along with difficult coaches and teammates and get some really good exercise.

I say let him go for it and see what he thinks. Most youth football leagues have pretty strict rules about what size of kids can play which positions, etc. In our league he wouldn't be allowed to carry the ball at his size. That is something you should look into and make sure he's comfortable with that. Good luck.

Oh, my younger son, the "retired" hockey player, has tried many things that didn't work out for him in addition to football, such as Kung Fu and wrestling. By trying a lot of things, however, he's discovered three activities that he loves and that suit his size and personality--speech team, theater and baseball. I hope your son finds something he loves too.

ETA: Thank you for your SWH. It does put things in perspective. My brother and SIL just became new parents to an adopted infant after 9 years of infertility and three failed rounds of IVF. I do sometimes think that concern about injury, especially having been through two youth sports concussions with my younger son, can be a valid reason for not participating in certain sports. However, I don't think that fear of failure is a valid of reason and that's what we got from your initial post. Your SWH does shed some light and I hope you are able to stick with your plan to let your kids try new things. Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think you should let him go for it, football actually sounds like a good fit for him. As the saying goes..."you can't coach size" - which means that bigger, stronger kids are usually welcome in football. My oldest son has plenty of friends who have always been big, heavy, slow and kind of uncoordinated gentle sweethearts who have played football for years and now play in high school. Talk to the league about your concerns and see what they say. Football is a great way to get bigger boys, who would never be fast enough for soccer or basketball or track, to get exercising. one fails at Pop Warner (or whatever league you're in) football. He might not be the best kid on the team, or his team may stink, but that's fine. They play for fun. My oldest son started his beloved sport, hockey, at age 11. That's 5-8 years later than most of the other kids. When he started, he was among the worst players on his team but no one minded. That year, his whole team was pretty bad anyway. The next year, he was on a regular league team and a middle school team. Neither team was elite and he wasn't a top player on either team, but he held his own, played hard, scored a few goals, and both teams won their division championships that year. Last year wasn't as great and this year has been mediocre, but he loves this sport.

I'm glad that I didn't let my fear over him being a late starter, not a great athlete, a terrible skater, and almost comically tall and skinny for a hockey player get in the way of him trying this sport. Let him try!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I'd let him try it.
But it's a BIG commitment! (Or at least here it is.)
Our practices start in the summer and are daily.
Lots of hard practice and, sometimes, little playing time for the newbies.
If make sure he understands what it entails.
Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I would encourage him to play. They learn a lot of lessons in team sports. If he never tries anything new, he'll never learn how to succeed or fail. Bigger kids can do very well in FB. He probably won't be the running back, but that's only one position.
My kids played nearly every sport available at some point in time so they could figure out what they liked/didn't like. Your son may be a natural football player, or he might not. Give HIM the chance to find out. Having teammates may even help with his self-esteem.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Why are you so sure he will fail? Maybe football will be good for him. It sounds like it would HELP his coordination and self esteem. Boys need exercise, they need to run and play and have fun. I'm sorry but I see bowling as a sport for a middle aged man not a boy.
Trying and failing and trying again is a part of life, and a valuable lesson for your son. It's how we discover our strengths and weaknesses, and it's how we find our passions. Give him every opportunity to try new things!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I know a mom who skydives, scuba dives, does serious Tae Kwon Do and is overall a very bold person physically and mentally.

Her son (now in HS) has played many sports very well -- baseball, basketball, tennis, some competitively and at school, others just for fun.

This very bold, athletic mom said from the start: He will never play football. Too dangerous. If SHE feels that way with her own lack of any physical fear, what does that say about football itself? She lets her son take plenty of risks and still considers football too dangerous.

Look up all the recent research about football and brain injuries. It's been in the news a LOT lately. You won't have to excuse yourself as a protective mom or worry about whether your son would do well in this sport. You'll instantly know that this is a sport that is fundamentally so dangerous that he shouldn't play it for THAT reason, not because you fear he'll fail at it.

There are SO many other things to do with his time and energy. He already is in a demanding sport -- Karate! Why the focus on football? It's just ONE sport. Encourage him to focus on that and achieve there, or let him try other sports -- there are summer camps that let kids try different sports over the span of a few weeks, so the kids can get a feel for different ones. Not all sports MUST be team sports, either. He might love tennis, golf, fencing (very fast, very demanding, takes a ton of smarts and reflexes), other martial arts of which there are many. Definitely explore bowling as you mention.....And he might not really care about sports at all. That is fine.

Is he asking about this because "all my friends are doing it" or because it's the culture in your area for all boys to do football? Time to teach him that he's his own person. And to teach him that you have the power of "no." Read up on head injuries and kids' football. You'll never worry again about the other issues you mention.

Same applies to your daughter. If your answer is no, say no and mean it, and direct her to another activity if you want.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Soccer might be a problem but he might excel at football as a big guy! There are so many different positions... He could be a blocker, lineman etc. He's still young. Let him try. There will be plenty of other boys who aren't great at it. My nephew is the opposite of your son. Very slight. But SO enthusiastic about football. I don't think he's particularly athletic either but he's playing. Gradually he might find it's not his sport but at this age, they're still all learning etc. And he's so light that it'll probably be a harsher reality for him that football isn't his sport bc I picture him being pummeled. At least your son won't be pushed around and feel overwhelmed physically. Look at some pro football players - they don't look light on their feet. :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Personally, I do not like football at ALL and would worry about my child suffering some kind of brain injury. (Football is the leader in injuries, followed by girls soccer)
BUT...if that is not your worry but your worry is that he wont do well...I say give him a chance.
My knowledge of football positions is minimal, but if you were a blocker (the big guys) you don't have to run fast. You have to block!
Support him in trying a new sport. You never know! He may be great.
(and if he's not....oh well! Everyone is not great at everything. He will never know if he doesn't try)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I definitely say let both your kids try the sports! It's much less dangerous at a young age. Plus, I'm sure most of the kids will be beginners so they will be learning right alone with everyone else. You never know--he could turn out to be a star!

I coach cheer, and 9 is a great age to start!

As long as they know they need to ride out the commitment, I think it will be a great experience. Even if they both decide they don't want to continue, at least they tried it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

My son plays football and has for 3 years ~ I can tell you that each year there has been a variety of skill on his team. Some kids are naturals and some aren't. My son, like yours, is not naturally athletic but he LOVES playing football and he does it well (once he learned how :). His first 2 years were learning years for him and by his 3rd year he was doing quite well on the field and making great tackles/big plays.
If anything football has helped his self-esteem and confidance.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I don't know anybody who is born knowing how to play football. Everyone has to start somewhere. If your son hasn't ever been on a sports team of any kind, why would he be able to run fast? That's something that is learned and developed through practice. One thing that can't be taught is size - and he has that! I've known a lot of football players in my day (I was a cheerleader all the way through college), and not all of them are meatheads. :) Some of them, you'd just never guess they were football players except for their large size, and propensity to hang out in the weight room. ;)

Instead of deciding your son is a failure at football, why not let him try? You never know, he might absolutely love it. He might turn out to be a fantastic football player.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I havent read any of the previous posts but if your sone is showing an interest now although you recognize that he isnt very athletic I say go for it this might be his only chance to play. He could always be an offensive lineman with his size and their job is to protect the QB and not go out there and try to take someones head off. I say go for it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Truth is you have no idea if he will fail, or not. He may thrive. Sports aren't all about the athletics... there are good lessons to be learned, as well. You never know until you try. I'm surprised you wouldn't encourage him, honestly. I think you're projecting your fears onto him. He's almost 9.. he's going to have to learn how to deal with failure at some point and protecting him from it isn't helping him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I say if your son WANTS to do it let him try it out! It's no big deal if he decides later it's not for him. It's ok to fail! It's super for kids to try new things to find out what they do love in life. Don't worry so much about his feelings...let him try and encourage him. If for some reason it does not work out, don't think of it as failure, think of it as figuring out that football is not for him. Do bowling can do that as a family even. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I'm glad you are going to talk to your husband about letting him play. My son is athletic and his father played football so when he asked to play it was a no brainer. My son was very good at football but early in his 2nd year, he realized he didn't like it. I let him know that he could not quit mid-season but after the season was over if he didn't ever want to play then I wouldn't make him. That was 4 years ago, and my son has no desire to ever play football again but he did it. He got that out of his system, he knows what it's like and he had his own experience with it. He didn't has his dad trying to convince him one way or the other. His dad was happy he wanted to play and relieved when he didn't want to play anymore.
My son won't even play flag football now. He loves baseball, basketball and soccer though. If he doesn't stick with football find something that is less of a contact sport for him to try out and the more he runs the more he will improve in it.



answers from New York on

Stop the insanity! You are leading your kids to failure. Many kids today spend all their time watching TV & playing video games. Your kids want to get out & be active. Think of all the positive things that can happen. Even if your son spends a lot of time on the bench during games, he may be happy just being part of the team. And if he has a good coach, he will get to play.
Football, as well as the Karate teaches discipline, sportsmanship, how to defend yourself and the team, as well as many interpersonal skills like being part of a team, social interaction with other kids, & long lasting friendships.

My parents always made me feel that I wasn't good enough for anything. Everything was "too hard", or "too much work", or dangerous. I was not given the opportunity to participate in school activities. I used to write stories & draw pictures when I was younger. But since they were never "good enough", & I would fail at some point anyway, I no longer have the ability or desire to do these things. Whenever I would try, I would get a mental block, & would give up.

Please spend all your time & emotion encouraging your kids to try everything until they find things they like, or are good at. Do not let them become like you, or me. If your child falls, don't pick him up & baby him. Make sure he is OK , then tell him to get up & try again.

Let him be active, good athlete or not, keep encouragiing him to keep trying.


answers from Dallas on

I'm not a fan of football, but I would never discourage my child from trying something simply because I didn't think he would be good at it.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions