There are many types of shoulder pads out there, so which ones are best suited for your child's needs? Several factors come into play for tackle football players just starting out. The first, is to know the age group your child will be playing in. At this level, the risk of injury is very minimal, but playing in the appropriate age group against other kids of the same weight and age, statistically reduces the risk of any injuries. Secondly, proper equipment is paramount, and furthermore minimizes and reduces the risk of injury. Before you spend $500.00 to outfit your child with the latest gear, please continue reading.
1) First time tackle football players don't need the equipment the NFL uses, and they don't need the equipment the high schools use. Why you ask? Well, a couple of reasons. They are not as big, fast, or as developed especially if they are just starting out, and learning new drills, techniques, and skills, so it will take time for them to build up their confidence to really connect shoulder to shoulder. Don't get me wrong, there are a few players that just have an innate ability, and can really hit. But, what I am trying to tell you is that you don't need to buy equipment that is too advanced for their age. What I look for in shoulder pads first and foremost is mobility. A player might have a great arm without pads, but put the wrong pads on, they might not be able to throw at all. Position players need mobility; quarterbacks, receivers, halfbacks, safeties, cornerbacks, these players won't see the contact a lineman will, so they don't need the big pads. What they need is something that provides mobility, is lightweight and flexible. Punters and placekickers use the same pads position players use for range of movement and mobility. Offensive and defensive lineman; your tackles and guards, they need bigger pads for the reason that they are much bigger and they hit, and get hit on each and every play. Linebackers, tight ends, fullbacks need a bigger pad, but still have mobility so they need more of a secure fit.
2) Proper measurements are required to fit shoulder pads. If you are planning to order over the internet, measure your child at home. For shoulder measurements, have your child stand with arms out to the side, and measure from shoulder tip to shoulder tip and add an half an inch up. For chest measurements, take a tape measure, and measure around the chest with taking a normal breath. You will also need their weight.
3) Many families opt to go bargain hunting for shoulder pads, or receive hand-me-downs, just be sure the shoulder pads fit properly. Make sure there is a neck opening, and that the collarbone and shoulder are covered. The football jersey will hold down the shoulder pads.
Tackle football is a safe sport, and proper equipment that fits and allows for mobility is essential.