BAM! Body and Mind. Classroom Resources for Teachers


Parts of the Body Worked

Upper and Lower Legs

Upper & Lower Legs



heart and lungs

Heart & Lungs

Chest and Back

Chest & Back

football equipment

Just what does it take to become a football All-star?

Gear Up

Obviously, you need a football to play, and you should choose the size based on your age. Always wear a helmet with a face mask and jaw pads, and a mouthpiece to protect against those hard hits. Because football is a contact sport, there are many different pieces of gear you should wear to protect different areas of your body. For upper body protection, you should wear a neck roll to prevent whiplash, shoulder pads, rib pads, arm pads and elbow pads. For leg protection, you should wear hip pads, tailbone pads, thigh pads, and knee pads. Most leagues require all this, but it’s a good idea to protect yourself even in backyard games.

Play it Safe

Be sure to stretch and warm up before every practice and game and always wear your protective gear. To avoid getting hurt, learn from your coaches how to block and tackle correctly. Don’t tackle with the top of your head or helmet — not only is it illegal, but it can cause injury to both players. If you play in an organized league, there are lots of rules — and they are there for a reason — to keep you safe. If you break these rules, you risk not only getting hurt, or hurting someone else, but your team will be penalized. If you’re playing in the backyard with your friends, stay safe by sticking to touch or flag football, and only play with kids who are around your age and size.

How to Play

There are lots of skills needed to play football from throwing and catching the ball to blocking and tackling the other players. There’s even a national Punt, Pass, and Kick contest devoted just to the main skills you need. League teams are a great way to learn all the rules and strategies of football. Pop Warner is the most popular youth football league, but there are many others nationwide. Want the basics?

Throwing the ball. Grip the ball by placing each of your fingers between each lace of the ball. Bring your throwing arm back with your elbow bent. Extend your free arm (the one without the ball) in front of you and point to your target. Snap your throwing arm forward, releasing the ball, and follow through with your shoulders and hips. When you are finished, your throwing arm should be pointing toward your target with your palm facing the ground.

Catching the ball. Hold your arms out with your elbows slightly bent in front of your chest. Bring your hands together, touching the thumbs and index fingers to make a triangle with your fingers. Catch the nose of the ball in the triangle, and use your chest to help trap the ball. Bring your arms in around the ball and hold it tight against you.

Punting the ball. Place your feet shoulder-width apart with your kicking foot slightly in front. Slightly bend your knees and bend your body forward a little. Hold the ball out in front of you with the laces facing upward. Take two steps forward, beginning with your kicking foot and drop the ball toward your kicking foot. Kick the ball hard with the top of your foot and follow through with your leg as high as you can.

Fun Facts

You’d think more football players would study physics, since how far you can throw a football is definitely a science. How far a football goes is a combination of the “velocity” [vuh-LAH-si-tee] or speed of the football after you throw it, the angle (or arc) the football is thrown at, and how the ball rotates in the air (that’s why it’s best to throw a spiral).

CHAMPS! Notre Dame has won a record 9 NCAA National Championships, and the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers have each won 5 Super Bowls.

The numbers worn on players’ uniforms represent the positions they play. For example, wide receivers and tight ends have numbers between 80-89.

A football field is 120 yards long (including the 2 end zones), and 53-1/3 yards wide.