Blog Entry

Madden has destroyed Youth football

Posted on: February 14, 2009 8:45 pm

Ok, I'm on a rant now.  I coach a youth football team, ages 12-14.  I've been doing it for a number of years now and enjoy teaching young men to play the sport I love.  I've noticed a growing problem with the youth of this nation and in discussing it with my fellow coaches I found that its not just me that have observed this problem.  Madden football is ruining the youth. 

Yeah maybe I'm picking on Madden because he's the biggest thing out there in the football gaming world but here is the problem.  First when I was growing up my friends and I would play football by actually going out in the street or park, or lot whatever and playing with a football.  Today kids play football in front of a television screen with a joy stick.  Whether its great weather or raining the kids don't go outside to play the real thing.  They take turns pushing buttons on their keyboard instead of actually running, tackling, throwing the football.  They think that it applies to what they can do when they come to practice.  Currently I have 18 kids playing for my team.  4 of them cannot run a single lap around the field.  worse then that I have 2 12 year old boys that weigh over 200# each.  200# 12 year olds.  Other coaches tell me at the high school level there are 300# 14 year old kids that are in danger of having heart attacks then sacking a quarterback. 

When I was growing up we had Pong, you can look it up on Wikipedia.  Its a tennis game and it held our attention span for about an hour if we were lucky.  After that we had to do something.  Hell, my parents would lock me out of the house in the summer so I wouldn't dirty up the house my Mom was cleaning.  No one plays outside and when they do they play the game like they see it on the Xbox or Ninetendo.  So many kids that have some great speed and talant for running the ball continue to try and spin like they see Barry Sanders do.  For them they know that if they hit the spin button enough they can avoid tacklers.  This doesn't work in real life unless you are Barry Sanders or the reincarnation of the same.  Over and over we try and teach would be running backs that they have to run up field, and over and over again they stop running and try and dodge/spin their way from being tackled.  Usually there are 2-3 tacklers converging on the runner and the spinning only allows the runner to expose his back for the tackler to hit.   After that crushing the runner no longers wants to play football or run the ball. 

So you can see my frustration is not really with John Madden himself. I actually enjoy listening to his ramblings in comentary but I wonder if he realizes that the game he loves so much has really been damaged by the game he shills for.  I don't know where the next Emmett Smith is going to come from but I bet it will be from a rural farm where there is no such thing as video games. 





Since: Aug 4, 2008
Posted on: March 7, 2009 8:50 am

Madden has destroyed Youth football

I completely understand. I didnt start playing organized football until college intramurals  so my grasp of the game wasnt very strong until around that time. I can tell you first hand that when we ran 40 times in soccer and were running all the time, I was running in the 4.44 - 4.6ish range and after I had stopped running in college, I ran a 5 flat when i actually got timed. I ended up thinking I was faster than I was based on past results. Long story short, gotta do the work if you want the results.

Its no different at my office though, we have less staff than probably any other shop in our industry and we get more done in a day than you'd find anywhere else because everyone "pulls more than their own weight". I hear ya on the laziness factor.


Since: Sep 16, 2008
Posted on: March 6, 2009 11:41 pm

Madden has destroyed Youth football

Appreciate the ideas.  Its very hard to see kids that think they know what football is all about from a video game.  They can talk the language, quote stats, name players on teams but they have unreal expectations to what it takes to play this game.  Whats even funnier is the parents.  Several times a season I'll get a parent come up and ask why Johnny isn't the starting running back or quarterback.  I ask them to come to practice and watch Johnny run.  If we have 17 kids running wind sprints and Johnny is coming in 14th that may be a reason.  If Johnny would run more and watch television less he might lose the weight or develop stronger leg muscles and build the quick twitch fibers that would make him quicker.  But Johnny only wants to run at practice when he has to nothing more.  Just the minimum, maybe thats the parents attitude at work too only do what the boss requires of me nothing more if I don't receive compensation for it.  Ok, I'm ranting again, sorry, thanks again for the comment, there are some great kids that have the right idea and I do try and use them as examples to follow. 

Since: Aug 4, 2008
Posted on: March 6, 2009 10:37 pm

Madden has destroyed Youth football


Sorry to hear that man, really I am. They're a bit too young to hit the weightroom just yet. I find that developing a system for young players to use via process and repetition can get the kids motivated; aside from the fact that lifting pump testosterone which will amp up the desire to want to run and hit on the field. My recommendation would to figure out which of my kids has a true love of the game and desire to be coached and use them as a medium to motivate the other kids.

Instill a leadership role in your best kids and have them lead by example to get the others up to speed.

Since: Sep 16, 2008
Posted on: February 16, 2009 2:28 am

Madden has destroyed Youth football

Thanks Sir Cheeks we have made it easier on the kids today then what we had to do growing up.  Some of thats good but some of that is not so good.  Its a real battle to teach kids who want to be Reggie Bush but have no idea on how to properly block, tackle, or even hold the ball correctly.  I love the game of football and I really enjoy being with kids and trying to teach them how to have fun and play this game.   Somedays though I really worry that the youth of our country are to concentrated on themselves rather then the world around them.  That will be worrisome especially since their votes will count just like ours.

Since: Sep 16, 2008
Posted on: February 16, 2009 2:24 am

Madden has destroyed Youth football

Thanks Thrash I know I'm probably ranting a bit but its so sad to see kids that just won't get the opportunity to enjoy this game that can be so fun.  Plus the health concerns of being inactive.  I wonder if John Madden every feels that way?  Appreciate your response. 

Since: Jun 30, 2008
Posted on: February 15, 2009 9:29 pm

Madden has destroyed Youth football

Hey Newstew,

I can see where you would have a problem with kids of the age group. The video gaming industry is becoming more realistic every day. It's becoming easier to immerse oneself in a game instead of going outside and actually playing it. Technology has enabled our society to become more self-gratifying than ever, and things once considered entertaining are now becoming obsolete.

I wish you the best - I really do. In your case, motivation seems like half the battle. If you get those kids eagar to learn the fundamentals of the game (as many of their heroes do), they will certainly come around.

Once the team first mentality has been beaten into their heads, your job will be a lot easier.

Good luck bro,


Since: Nov 16, 2006
Posted on: February 15, 2009 8:57 pm

Madden has destroyed Youth football

Wow Newstew. Sorry to hear about that. A lot of kids are spoiled today as well. I think more so than what it was when I was growing up 15-20 years ago. I dn't know what it is, but it just doesn't seem like people want to roll their sleeves up and work. I feel there is an expectation among today's youths that they can almost do whatever they want. I see less discipline and more handholding. Whatever the case, I hope you get things worked out.

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