Just because the final whistle ends a football season, that doesn’t mean that the excitement, passion and dedication have to wait until kickoff next year. So, as so many athletes are winding down their youth, middle school and high school seasons, it’s a time for parents and their kids to ask the following question…
What do we do now?
The answer is to find another sport and/or activity during the off-season.
Over eleven years of being a youth sports parent, I’ve come across so many medical experts, coaches, professional and collegiate athletes and other parents that all share the same belief that a child should play other sports during the off-season. My son Bradley has stayed busy in recent years playing sports like lacrosse, wrestling and baseball during the non-football months.
Our local high school baseball coach once told me that he tells his players to play other sports during their off-season and begs his pitchers not to pick up a baseball.
The same theory applies for football. Take a little time off to recover from the grind of the season and find another sport to take part in. Medical experts have told me that there are other sports that can help an athlete improve their football skills while also strengthening muscles in their body. It’s probably a smart thing to have a conversation with your child’s football coach to help determine an off-season plan.
For Bradley and so many other student-athletes in the state of New York, it’s been the football off-season since last season ended because right now tackle football is not being permitted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here on Long Island, all high school sports were postponed until January of 2021 and the football season is scheduled to start in March. During the absence of tackle football, Bradley has been playing flag football and he also started playing in a local dek hockey (hockey on feet played on a rink that resembles an ice hockey rink) league. When things do get back to normal, dek hockey will probably become an off-season activity for Bradley because he is enjoying it so much.
It’s important for football players to stay active during the off-season and playing other sports is a great way to accomplish that. When one season ends, another one begins and that gives all young athletes an opportunity to stay active and prepare for the next football season.
Peter is a sports anchor for the CBS Sports Radio Network and WFAN Radio in New York. His son Bradley is a freshman in high school and is a participant in the U.S. National Team program while his younger son Jared enjoys playing flag football. Peter, his wife Sheryl and the boys are busy cheering on the New York Jets when they’re not at a high school or flag football field.
It's important to exercise, but that can be hard if you're stuck in the house. USA Football’s 60 Ways to Play Guide is pack full of at-home exercises and workouts for the whole family.