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The Basics of Youth Football Equipment

October 5th, 2022

Basics of Youth Football Equipment

Participating in team sports has major benefits for kids, but any sport comes with risks. Make football safer for your kids by taking the proper precautions and using the right gear. Knowing the basics of youth football equipment is a good start!

What protective equipment is used in football?

The required equipment includes a helmet with a facemask, a mouthguard, shoulder pads, football pants, leg pads and cleats.

Optional equipment worn by players includes gloves, neck guards, visors, and arm guards. Wearing properly-fitting equipment optimizes athletes’ safety and can help give athletes the confidence to play at their fullest potential and enjoy the game of football.

What equipment does a youth player need?

Knowing the basics of youth football equipment can help make sure your young athlete is getting the most out of the game. We have put together a youth football equipment checklist, including everything from your athlete’s helmet down to their cleats and everything in between.

Helmet + Facemask

A football helmet is arguably the most important piece of equipment worn by players. There are many youth options when it comes to choosing a helmet. It is important that you do your research in order to find which helmet fits your athlete the best.

Facemasks are a mandatory part of the helmet that help prevent face injuries. Facemasks come in a variety of styles based on position and can even come in more unique designs, allowing children to express their individual style.


A visor is an optional but common accessory that many players add to their helmet. Offering both style and protection, a visor helps protect a player’s eyes and eliminate glare from the sun as well as lights at night.

Chin cup

Typically, a chin cup comes as part of the helmet, but it is important to note that it is a crucial piece of protection. Chin cups not only help protect the chin, but they also help ensure that the helmet is fitted properly. Chin cups are held onto the helmet with straps and help secure the helmet in place.


Mouthguards are worn to help prevent concussions, and protect players’ teeth and jaws. All football leagues require players to use a mouthguard.

There are many options available, including ones with a keeper strap that keeps it attached securely to your player’s facemask.

Neck guard

Often worn by linebackers and defensive linemen, a neck guard helps protect a player from potential neck injuries and concussions.

Shoulder pads

Required for every player, shoulder pads are another crucial piece of football equipment. Shoulder pads are used to absorb and redistribute the impact that results from on-field collisions.

There are two types of shoulder pads: cantilevered and flat. Cantilevered pads are larger and made for players on the offensive and defensive line, such as linebackers, who receive more direct impacts. Flat pads are mainly used by quarterbacks and receivers. These pads are smaller and restrict movement less.


Gloves are worn by many players, including receivers and linemen. Lineman gloves typically have more padding and aid in hand protection, whereas receiver gloves aid in catching the football.

Back plate

Although optional, back plates are a very important piece of equipment to consider. Back plates attach to the back of a player’s shoulder pads in order to shield the lower back from helmet or body impacts. These are often worn by running backs and quarterbacks, but many other positions can utilize their protection.


Football cleats are a vital part of the basics of youth football equipment. Cleats provide traction and support for players in every position.


Football is a high-impact sport, but properly fit high-quality football equipment optimizes athletes’ safety. Get your player ready for football season with this checklist! Note: Contact in football may result in concussion and other serious brain injuries, which no helmet of piece of equipment can prevent.

Learn more about player safety and proper equipment fitting by signing up for our eLearning classes today!

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