Are your kids about to play youth football for the first time? You want to cheer your little ones from the stands, but first, you need to have a basic understanding of the sport. Get all the information that parents need to know about youth football. Then you and your little ones will be ready for the season to begin.
If you’re used to watching the pros play, you might expect your kids to battle it out during four quarters that last 15 minutes each. However, youth football games are much shorter. The game is broken up into four 8-10-minute quarters, depending on the players’ ages and the league’s rules. However, just like pro football, the clock stops quite a bit during youth games. Thus, games last much longer than the time on the clock indicates.
Number of Downs
Youth football mimics professional football regarding downs. Just like with the pros, the offense gets four downs to start each possession. If the team manages to move the ball 10 yards from the starting point, it earns a first down.
When the fourth down rolls around, teams have to make a big decision. Should they try to move the ball and get a first down, punt the football, or attempt to score a field goal? If they go for it and don’t make it, the other team will retain possession. Thus, teams generally decide to try to score points with a field goal or punt to get the ball down the field as far as possible.
Scoring in Youth Football
There are four different scoring opportunities available in football. The touchdown is the most common and occurs when an offensive player lands in the endzone with the football in hand. A touchdown is worth six points.
After someone scores a touchdown, the team will have the chance to score a point after touchdown (PAT). In youth leagues, the referees place the football on the two-yard line. Then the offense can try to run or pass into the endzone to score two points or kick it through the uprights to score a single point.
Players can also score field goals in youth football. A team can decide to kick a field goal when the ball is in their possession. While teams can attempt field goals on any down, the play is most common during the fourth down.
Finally, teams can score two points with a safety. Teams get a safety when the players tackle a member of the other team in that team’s endzone. If the tackled player is holding the ball, the other team receives two points.
Youth football leagues have 11 players on offense. There are five offensive linemen and six backs and receivers. That includes the quarterback and running back. The quarterback and running back are generally the two biggest playmakers in youth football.
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Your kids’ team will also have 11 defensive players on the field. Teams use three to four defensive linemen and three to four linebackers. Also, four to six defensive backs will take the field. These players are tasked with preventing the other team from scoring.
This information will help you get in on the action during youth football games. You might not be ready to throw on some pads and battle it out, but you’ll do a fantastic job of cheering from the sidelines.
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