Skip to main content

Pee Wee Football: Pros and Cons of the Youth Sport

Stephanie is an enthusiastic sports participant and also loves to watch a wide variety of competitive sports.

Should You Sign Your Child up for Pee Wee Football?

Children's organized sports can be a positive experience for the family in a number of ways. Once a child is about 5 or 6 years old, they may be ready to join a team sport.

Parents, on the other hand, should carefully weigh what the involvement will actually mean - from practices, to games, to sideline competition! Some dads (and moms) try to live vicariously through their children's athletic accomplishments. If your child threatens Billy's rushing statistics, well.... it may not be pretty.

Also, keep in mind the commitment it will take from everyone in the family. Carpooling, late meals, potentially rushed homework and more. On the other hand, the benefits of participating in pee wee football or other youth sports are endless: patience, teamwork, sportsmanship, pride and a sense of accomplishment.

Want to learn more about the sport? Read on!

Texas Pee Wee Football

Pros and Cons of Youth Sports

Benefits of Organized Sports include:

  • Improved coordination
  • Learning rules of the game
  • Understanding sportsmanship
  • Working in a team environment (helping the overall group achieve success)
  • Responsibility
  • Dedication
  • Waiting and taking turns
  • Understanding how practice leads to improvement
  • Learning about winning and losing - and winning isn't everything

What a season of Organized Sports may entail:

  • Practices (1-2 hours, sometimes 2-3 times a week)
  • Games (1 or 2 a week)
  • Equipment, including appropriate practice gear and shoes
  • Balls (pigskin, soccer ball, baseball and bats, etc.)
  • Snacks (everyone brings them at least once a season)
  • Travel to away games
  • Thank you gift for coaches
  • End of season party
  • Post-season play-offs?
  • All of this for the length of a season - anywhere from 9-14 weeks, or more, depending on play-offs

There are a variety of team sports that are open to children in the United States, through all four seasons. The primary ones are:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Soccer (also known as football in other areas of the world)
  • Lacross
  • American football

American football is generally open only to young boys, whereas the other sports are either co-ed, or separated by the sexes (girls teams and boys teams). Most programs for youth football, sweetly referred to as "Pee Wee Football," begin at ages 7 or 8, when the boys are in at least the 2nd grade. Pee Wee Football lasts through about age 12, when the boys are considered Junior Football players.

Pee Wee Football Player gets Leveled

What Gear is Required for Pee Wee Football?

As with other sports, Pee Wee football players suit up in uniform and protective gear for practices and games. This may be the most endearing quality of watching youth football games - a bunch of little 8 and 9 year olds in pads and helmets trying to run patterns, and usually running into each other instead.

The gear is very important, however. Even young children can receive serious head injuries. After all, this is tackle football.

Protective helmets are required as a matter of course and some dentists also recommend mouth guards for an additional measure of security. You never know when your son may be up against a 5 foot 10 inch 5th grader who has gone through an early growth spurt.

Have your child properly suit up in pads and wear a helmet before going to any practice, and for all games.

Reference Guide for Pee Wee Football

How Big Can Pee Wee Football Players Be?

Generally, it is up to local organizations as to whether or not they will set a weight limit for particular age classes of Pee Wee Football. If your son is particularly large, or small, check the rules and regulations to see if there are limits that apply.

Scroll to Continue

The American Youth Football organization sets the following age/weight limits for regional and national tournaments. Pre-game weigh-ins are conducted before each game. Those who do not make weight cannot participate.

For example, in the NATIONAL DIVISION:

Age (as of July 31st)

Max Stripped Weight + Uniform Allowance = Max Dressed Weight

Jr. PeeWee: 10 and Under

114 + 5 = 119 lbs,

94 + 5 = 99 lbs

PeeWee: 11 and Under

129 + 5 = 134 lbs,

109 + 5 = 114 lbs

Jr. Midget: 12 and Under

144 + 6 = 150 lbs,

124 + 6 = 130 lbs

Midget: 14 and Under

169 + 6 = 175 lbs,

149 + 6 = 155 lbs

Pee Wee Player Jukes his Whole Team

Pick a Football for your Child!

Rules of Pee Wee Football

The basic rules of the game are, you must move the football forward 10 yards in 4 tries called "downs," or you have to turn the ball over to your opponents. If you run the ball down the field into the endzone of your opponents, it's a touchdown, worth 6 points. You then have the opportunity to kick an extra point through the goal posts, for a total of 7 points. At times, if it appears that you will not be able to make it to the endzone before turning the ball over, you can try to kick a field goal, which is worth 3 points. There are many more rules that come into play during the game, relating to how the ball is moved, when players can move, how many players on a field (11 on each side), etc.

Therules of youth football are generally thought to be the same as the National Football League (NFL) rules. However, many local organizations modify youth football rules for their own leagues in order to protect the boys, or allow for more "even play." Here is a list of a few rule changes that have been implemented in various locations around the country:

  • No defender may line up in a gap
  • No blitzing
  • There must be two backs in the offensive backfield
  • No special-teams plays
  • No rushing punts or place kicks
  • Only the 6-2 defense may be used
  • No heavy kids running the ball or playing linebacker
  • Only balanced offensive lines may be used
  • The quarterback may not run with the ball
  • Scouts may not record anything using video, audio, or even pencil and paper
  • On a change of possession (i.e. turnover or a punt) any lineman in the game at the time of the turnover, both offense and defense, must come off the field for 3 plays. Minimum of 5 lineman must leave the field for each team.
  • All defenders must be stationary at the snap
  • No more than 5 men on the defensive line, and at least 2 men 10 yards off the ball
  • Linebackers are not allowed to blitz. The linebackers must read the play before moving forward. This call is subjective on the part of the refs, but if they believe that a linebacker is immediately rushing towards the line of scrimmage when (or just before) the snap, they will throw a flag.
  • Quarterback must take the snap with his hands under the center.
  • If a boy carries the ball over the line of scrimmage in the one half, he may not do so in the other.
  • If your team is winning by more than 18 points you have to take out your 4 best players also known as "franchise players" (the other coaches pick them)

While these rules may seem too easy, they are for the kids' protection. Importantly, you'll find that as your child ages, the game will become more and more like professional football, particularly in high school and college ball.

The Most Important Rule of Pee Wee Football

For some reason, youth football seems to bring out the more competitive of the parents. Sidelines are cluttered with screaming moms and dads, which can make you wonder if they have visions of scholarships already in their minds for their little 8 year old son. It can be dismaying to see these adults demonstrate worse sportsmanship than the children for whom they should be modeling good behavior.

Fortunately, many sports organizations are requiring parents, as well as athletes, to sign "Good Sportsmanship" contracts. Although not legally binding, they can at least make some people slow down and think before they shout off at the coaches (or worse, at some of the young players) about the outcome of a youth game. The kids should be having fun. Learning that its NOT all about winning or losing. Making new friends and understanding what its like to work as a team.

Pee Wee Football can be a positive experience for your son - and perhaps even your daughter! Follow the rules of the game, be a good sport, and enjoy your little football player's experience on the field.

© 2008 Stephanie Marshall


Bob on May 27, 2015:

lacrosse has an e at the end of it.

sarah on June 10, 2012:

Trying to get my son in he going to be 5 just dont know what the cost is and how much about the game he needs to know

JENNY on November 16, 2011:


davon on November 13, 2011:

I want to be on your football. Team

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 16, 2010:

Thank you Avamum! My boys play soccer, basketball and baseball. My 13-year old is dying to play "American" football, but still have to convince my husband that its safe enough... Best to you!

Sarita Harbour from Yellowknife, Canada on December 16, 2010:

Great hub on a topic near and dear to my heart. "American" football is popular in our Canadian city, and two of my sons played for years on our city rep (travelling) team. Wonderful sport, wonderful community of parents and coaches. Thanks for a super read!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 16, 2010:

Thank you Artec! As the parent of 4 athletic kids, I am grateful to people like you who volunteer their time for sports. Cheers, Stephanie

Artec from Missouri on December 16, 2010:

Speaking as a youth football coach, I am all for youth sports. They teach so many things that are useful and helpful for the kids, like sportsmanship, discipline, coordination, and most of all teamwork. Great hub. Keep up the good work.

Nadine on November 30, 2010:

This is a great, informative article. I have two children and I was mostly concerned about injuries and where to get cheap sports gear or uniforms. I live in a small town so I need to find something on the net!! If anyone has a recommendation I'm all ears!

noname on July 28, 2010:

Can Jr Varsity play againgst Jr novice (pee wee, starters,or rookies) because i think that's illigal

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on July 18, 2010:

Glad you enjoyed this primer on pee wee football, belliott. I'm aiming to write a new hub on Little League baseball, after my kids just finished their All-Star season. Sports can definitely help teach important life lessons. Best, Steph

belliott on July 17, 2010:

My grandson played in Pee Wee Football last year because he expressed an interest. They really didn't know much about the game when they started. I think it's interesting to see how they caught on and progressed as the season went on.

Kids can learn a lot about team work and what commitment means. Finishing what they start. (after the new wore off he didn't always want to go to practice, but he did so with encouragement) They also learn about good sportsmanship. Those values are something kids can learn even at that young age. The main thing is that it is a fun and a positive experience. Good hub! Thanks.

Loretta Flemons on April 02, 2010:

Iam looking for a football and basketball team for my 5 year old son he is an excellent student in school and he wants to play can give me a call at 8175664658 or email me at thankyou and hope to hear from you soon

brianna on June 16, 2009:

Im looking for a team in the johnson county area for ages 4 or 5. its for my little bro who is 5yrs. old he is interested in playing and is very decent im wondering if anyone knows of a place he can sign up.


Bill on January 13, 2009:

Here is ben wilson video best peewee football player

kevin on November 28, 2008:

Dan Patrick of Sports Illustrated said this kid was the best peewee football player ever.

Kevin on November 26, 2008:

Dan Patrick of Sports Illustrated said Ben Was the best peewee football player ever.You have to scroll down the link for the comment and video.

Lela Davidson from Bentonville, Arkansas on February 18, 2008:

Betting on kids' games?!?!? No way! That is nuts, and yet, I'm not surprised!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on February 17, 2008:

Oh.... I get it now. Sad when it isn't about the kids! OMG!

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on February 17, 2008:

These leagues were stared in one or two particular suburbs in order to have more sports to bet on. Then the drinking parties after the kids are fed pizza and put to bed.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on February 17, 2008:

Oh my goodness! I can only imagine.... I haven't signed up my boys for sports until they were 6. Now that they are 8 and 10, and I am driving all over the place, why would you start them at ages 3-5?? I'm waiting to start my twins (almost 5) in team sports for one more year. YIKES.

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on February 17, 2008:

In some of our suburbs, we have Pew Wee Football for 3 through 5 year olds, with boys and girls together on the same team, and inadequate staff to ahdne training and games.  It's been kind of a mess, actually.

Related Articles