Depending on your outlook, you are either excited that you have half of your summer vacation remaining, or sad that summer is already half over.
But no matter whether the glass of your favorite summertime beverage is half full or half empty, the countdown to the fall sports season has started. Here are some important reminders for families whose children will be playing football in the fall.
1. Register your child
Many fall leagues have already opened registrations. Don’t panic if you haven’t registered your children yet, just don’t wait any longer to find out if it’s time to do so.
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2. Equipment check
As far as safety equipment is concerned, be sure to check with your league before purchasing it. Some pieces of equipment are easily returnable, while others are not. The last thing you want to have happen is for your child to show up at the first practice without the correct equipment and not be allowed to participate. Remember, when it comes to safety equipment, if you think it’s worn out, it’s probably time to buy something new. No price can be placed on your child’s safety.
3. Equipment purchase
The longer you wait, the more likely the exact brand or size of equipment or shoe you need is going to be out of stock. I wouldn’t purchase socks, since a coach might dictate what color should be worn, but shoulder pads and cleats are going to be needed for sure, so there’s no sense putting off buying those.
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4. Equipment use
As big a proponent as I am of letting your kids just be kids during the summer months, if your children are going to be throwing a football in the backyard, encourage them to use the one that will be tossed and kicked around once the season begins. And if they have a new pair of cleats, a cool summer evening is the perfect time to suggest they run around in them, even if it’s playing a game of flashlight tag.
5. Summer school projects
The rule at our house is that your school summer project must be finished before the first fall sports practice, which usually takes place before the first day of school. This strategy has yet to fail in our house, but part of that reason is we start reminding our boys about the rule now. Here’s a hint from our experience last week – a rainy summer day makes for a great school project day.
It would be nice to think that summer — and along with it the break from youth sports — is going to last forever, but it’s not. Any way you look at it, it’s time to start thinking about the fall.
Jon Buzby has been involved in and writing about youth sports for the past 30 years, originally as a coach and board member with his now-adult son and most recently "just as a dad" with his 8- and 10-year-old sons. Jon is an award-winning writer and his latest book, “Coaching Kids Made Easier,” is available on Amazon. Send comments or future blog topics you'd like to see to JonBuzby@hotmail.com and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.