It’s hard to imagine a kid who hasn’t watched a Packer game and imagined himself scoring the game-winning touchdown or making the game-saving sack. All the glory is exhilarating, but the fact is football is far more than just X’s & O’s or scoring points.
Slinger Gridiron is about teamwork. It’s about building relationships that will last a lifetime. It’s about learning discipline. And sometimes, it’s also about overcoming fears.
Head Varsity Coach Bill Jacklin said that the focus of “The Slinger Way” is not how many wins a team puts up at the end of the season at the Youth Level, but about how many kids safely develop their skills, get meaningful playing time and enjoy their football experience:
“The fact is, just because a kid might not be a top-tier player in his first year, that doesn’t mean he won’t mature and be a starter once he reaches the varsity level.”
Playing time is often a concern when it comes to any youth sports program. Slinger’s philosophy, however, is to create two teams within a grade whenever we have a large number of participants. For example, some youth programs have large squads – up to 50 kids on a single team. Slinger prefers to have two teams in that situation so kids get more playing time, develop faster and have a lot of fun in the process. They want players to know that they’ve made a difference in each and every game; splitting teams when it makes sense accomplishes that aim. Bill Brewer, veteran coach and current President of Slinger Gridiron, puts it this way:
“If we had to choose, we would rather have a team lose every game but all the kids get meaningful playing time compared to having a team that goes 8-0 by playing only the ‘stars.’ We want to make sure there is plenty of playing time for the kids so they stay motivated and keep honing their game. Winning is definitely important, but not at the expense of these kids learning, developing and growing in their love for the game of football.”
One of the keys to the success of Slinger’s Youth program is that the teams learn the basic plays and formations of the high school program starting at the 5th grade level. This gives them an edge once it’s time to play as freshmen. Along the way, however, coaches are instructed to let the kids know that MISTAKES HAPPEN and indeed are part of the game. Dan Durbin, one of our former head coaches, loves this concept:
“From the very first practice I told kids that they would not get in trouble for making a mistake. If the kids don’t make mistakes, then we as coaches aren’t pushing them hard enough. If a player makes a mistake we want them to learn from it. We want the other kids to pick them up, not tear them down.”
Bottom line: Even if your child has never played tackle football, there are plenty of great reasons to be a part of Slinger Youth Football. See you on the field!
The single most important component to Slinger Youth Football is player safety. Many kids play flag football for several years but the decision to make the jump to tackle football can be a challenging one. The fear of contact is real, but once kids learn techniques for safe tackling they quickly understand that the game is much safer than it once was. Parents might be reluctant to have their kids play tackle football, but today’s gear and techniques have made football safer than ever before. Kelli Darin had this to say after her son, Nathan, played his first season in 5th grade:
“As a mother of one of the smaller-sized kiddos on the team, I was very concerned about my son becoming injured. After watching the first practice my concerns were greatly reduced. The coaches are extremely knowledgeable, must take courses on safe tackling, and are focused on teaching kids the game of football with safety and proper technique.”
Slinger Gridiron Youth Football practices take place at the Slinger Middle School Football Fields, 521 Olympic Dr., Slinger, WI 53086.
Games take place at Slinger High School or at opposing team fields in surrounding communities. View team schedules for more information.
Our Board of Directors is comprised of volunteers who are passionate about Slinger Football for all ages in our community. The members work together to lead, manage and improve all functions of the organization.
Our coaches are dedicated to developing character, sportsmanship, work ethic, teamwork, and leadership within each player in Slinger Gridiron Youth Football. Each team has one dedicated head coach that runs practice and weekly games along with assistant coaches for a well-rounded learning experience.
Our sponsors are the organizations and individuals that allow Slinger Gridiron Youth Football to operate. Through their generous donations, our organization can continue to instill our mission and values to the youth within our community.
For more information about our youth football program or joining Slinger Gridiron, contact Bill Brewer at firstname.lastname@example.org.