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Sizing Shoulder Pads When Coaching Youth Football

Sizing Shoulder Pads in Youth Football

Part of your job when coaching youth football is sizing equipment for your football players. Most coaches have no experience doing this and often size shoulder pads incorrectly.


Many shoulder pad manufacturers put a weight range on their shoulder pads, a marking says �from 120-140 pounds�. The problem with that marking is that players with the same weight often have vastly different shoulder sizes. A 5�9� 120 pound player will have very different sized shoulders than a 4�10� 140 pound player.

The way shoulder pads are properly sized for the youth football player is to make sure the breastplate ends (the plastic piece covering the upper chest) fit just over the shoulder blade tips of your player. How I do this is I put the shoulder pads on for the size I feel the player should be wearing and tighten the drawstring. Then lift the flaps that cover the upper arm and line your hands up parallel along the outer upper arms of the player with your finger tips just past the upper part of the players shoulder. Correctly sized shoulder pads would mean the tips of your fingers are just covered by the ends of the breastplate. If the ends of the breastplate do not cover fingertips you need to go to a larger size pad.

Many youth football coaches mistakenly think the flaps covering the shoulder blade tips and upper arms provide adequate protection for the shoulder blades, they do not. I�ve found just 35% of the kids are properly fitted if you go just by the weight marking range on the pads. The weight markings are almost always one to two sizes too small.

As most of you know, shoulder pad clips often come off and if they come off in a game it�s not only dangerous for the player, but it�s a real hassle to get another one in place in a timely fashion.. Make sure your shoulder pad clips are weaved well into the shoulder pad strap and that the strap is taut but not tight. We make sure the clip is interwoven into the strap when we fit the shoulder pads, but it is a good idea to recheck everyone the first day of football practice. Many youth football coaches will even tape around the shoulder pad clip with a small piece of athletic tape to keep it in place.

Always have extra clips available in your medical bag. I give each of my teams 25 clips and believe it or not we have had some teams run out of the extras. You will need extra shoulder pad clips, be a good Boy Scout and be prepared bt having plenty of them at hand. Not having extra clips is a disaster waiting to happen, just imagine having to bench one of your star players because you didn�t take the time to make sure you had extra clips.

For more great youth football coaching tips or to sign up for Dave’s free football coaching newsletter, please go to Youth Football
Copyright 2007 Cisar Management. Republishing allowed if links are kept intact.

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