Help spread the word about youth football
Posted 4/21/2017 By Jon Buzby
There are a lot of feel-good stories out there involving kids being exposed to youth football for the first time and it changing their outlook on the sport for the better. Or even if it’s not a remarkable story, getting involved in youth football becomes a positive experience for most.
But the only way those stories unfold is if the children do in fact get involved in youth football. Sometimes that takes more effort than we might think.
Now is about the time of year when youth tackle and flag football leagues are opening up registration for the fall season. This fact alone surprises parents who haven’t previously been involved because, let’s face it – the spring sports seasons just started and we still have the hot summer months to get through too. Football weather is the furthest thing from anyone’s mind.
As a youth football parent, you might be able to make a difference in a youngster’s life just by helping spread the word about your local league.
Some of the ways to do this are obvious, like making sure it’s in the local paper. And trust me, take it from a local newspaper writer when I say you don’t need a special contact at the paper for this to happen, you just need someone to send the email to make sure it does. Local newspapers are in the business to let the community know what’s happening, but they can’t do that if someone doesn’t tell them.
Putting up signs on street corners and in neighborhoods and updating the league website to promote signups are other no-brainers.
But I’ve found there’s no better sales pitch than one made in person by someone who has watched their own child experience firsthand all the great outcomes of playing youth football.
That parent could be you.
You probably know someone who you think would enjoy playing football, but hasn’t given it a try for one reason or another. Reach out to that parent and start the conversation about youth football in a non-obligatory and non-threatening way. It can be as simple a conversation starter as this: “Has your child ever asked about playing youth football or have you ever considered it?” And then let the conversation flow from there.
What should you tell them about your youth football experience? The simple answer is – the truth.
After that, to borrow a non-football phrase, the ball is in their court. You’ve made the entrée and certainly can be available to answer follow-up questions. But the decision for them to pursue it is now up to them.
The only reason my two young boys play youth flag football is because a friend was telling us about the league at a birthday party. Six seasons later, it has turned out to be one of the best youth sports experiences we’ve had.
I didn’t learn about the league by reading it in the paper or seeing it on a road sign. Instead, I found out about it from a parent during a conversation at a child’s birthday party.
You could be that parent. It would be a great gift for that child who has yet to play our great game.
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, “Not an Expert, Just a Dad … In this Crazy Game Called Life,” 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.