Fantasy football is an amazing thing. So why wouldn’t you want to share it with the youth surrounding you. I always get asked “When is the right time?”. The right time is now, there is just a simple approach you have to take. If the interest is there, then we should be more than happy to bring them into one of the greatest hobbies known to mankind. The following are the four simple steps to introducing your kid(s) to the Fantasy Football World:
Step 1- Give them knowledge
The main way to start your child’s fantasy football journey is by helping them understand the basics of what makes up a league. Running backs, wide receivers, quarterbacks, etc. After they understand all this is when you ease them into the points breakdown of the league they will be entering. Once this is all set and done, you can introduce them to whatever podcast and fantasy football sites you feel would be best suited for them. This will help them along and prepare them for their first fantasy football draft.
Step 2- Family and Friends League
This is the perfect “first league”. It is pretty much an introduction league. They get to feel out all of the basics without having any consequences. There is no stress involved and the child/ young adult knows most if not everyone in the league. The prize can be chosen by you. Something as simple a gift card for ice cream gives everyone a fun reason to participate. It will be an exciting experience for all involved and will give your child the foundation needed to thrive for years to come. This type of league will show you how much the child can handle and how serious they take the information. If you can see they can handle the next level of difficulty. Then you could move along to step 3.
Step 3- Co-Manage a team
This can be a money or simply a free league. Either way you can continue to give the reigns over to the child. If it is a money league have the child pay for half of the money. (Whether or not you give it back to them at the end of the league doesn’t matter) But this teaches them responsibility and to take pride in what they are doing. This progression will be the true test to see if they can handle being on their own or not. The main thing is that you let them make all the decisions but give them your guidance throughout the whole season. Everyone can be a good winner, but not everyone can be a good loser. Nothing is ever 1,2,3. This may take years but once they can accept that what they put into it is what they get out of it, then they will be ready to be on their own. If they own their faults or are succeeding at a decent level then they can move onto step 4.
Step 4- Money Leagues
These are the leagues that we encounter on a regular basis. Once you feel that the child has a solid foundation, you can ease them into a small money league. I would look for one that has people that are in the same amateur group that the child is. Preferably for the first year I would not go into anything higher than a $25 to $50 league. (Would prefer the lower end of this spectrum) This year it is the child’s money alone. The reigns are completely off by now and it is their time to either shine or sink by themselves. You did your job, and now you can enjoy seeing the child love fantasy football as much as you do.
There are so many benefits to fantasy football. Not only is it fun, you constantly are learning new things. As a kid it was a stepping stone that taught me how to be responsible for my actions. That the amount of effort I put into something, will have a great effect on what I get out of it. These simple lessons learned from my introduction to fantasy football are still seen in everything I do today. This is why I implore you to pass the gift of fantasy football to every generation.
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