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How to Learn Football for Kids

The Rules

    Explain the object of the game--each team tries to cross the goaline of the end zone to score six points.

    Give team details. There are 11 players on each team. The team with the ball is the offense. The team without the ball is the defense.

    Define the offense's job. The offense must run or pass the ball to progress down the field while the defense tries to stop them.

    Explain the four downs. The offense gets four attempts to move the ball 10 yards. They must make it at least 10 yards to continue; otherwise the other team will get the ball and have a chance to score. On the fourth down, a team may elect to punt, or kick, the ball to the other team.

Players' Roles

    Define the quarterback's role. The quarterback throws the football and hands the ball off to the runners, or running backs. The quarterback may also run with the ball.

    Define the running back's role. The running back runs the ball as far down the field as possible without getting tackled. Sometimes the ball is thrown to a running back.

    Define the wide receiver's role. The wide receiver catches the quarterback's passes.

    Explain the job of the offensive line. The offensive line blocks the other team from tackling the quarterback and running backs. The center of the offensive line hikes the ball to the quarterback.

    Explain the job of the defense. The defense tackles the player with the ball and blocks throws and kicks.

Scoring

    Explain that a touchdown is worth six points. When a team reaches the end zone, it is a touchdown. The team then has a chance to kick the ball through the upright goals for one extra point. Or the team may decide to try to run or pass the ball into the end zone on the subsequent play for two points.

    Explain that a field goal is worth three points. If the players cannot make a touchdown, they may choose to kick a field goal through the upright goals.

    Explain that a safety is worth two points. A safety is achieved when a member of the offense is tackled with the ball inside his team's end zone.

Practice

    Play catch with your child. Teach him to throw the football with fingers placed on the laces.

    Run a few patterns with your child. Teach him to run down the field, then break to the right or left. Have him tuck the football into his chest and arms while running.

    Show your child how to perform a tackle. Have him shoot low on his opponent, wrapping his arms around the opponent's body, driving forward until he falls to the ground.

    Watch football with your child. Either go to a local game or catch one on TV. It is important to reiterate the rules and plays while watching the game.

About the Author

Kay Curtis began writing professionally in 1988. Specializing in advertising, her work has been published in several trade magazines including "CompUSA Direct," "Dance Teacher Now" and "Travel." Her news articles and columns have appeared in "The Battalion," "The Lakeshore Times" and "The Beacon." Curtis has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Texas A&M University.

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