I have a (relatively) large 9 year old linebacker son w/a heart of gold :) who is hesitant to be aggressive on another player - no "killer instinct". I've been told that once he actually plays a game against someone who isn't his friend (opposing team), he will be more aggressive. I figure once he gets knocked flat on his back by 2 guys his size (or bigger) in a game, he'll get more aggressive.
He told me he would try to imagine the teenage bully in our neighborhood stealing his lasagna. That doesn't seem to be working. He apologized profusely to a team member, who wasn't *too* much smaller than he is, the other day when the child was holding his own arm after one of my son's few successful tackles. I told my son on the way home that he should just say "you ok?" and offer a hand to help the child up off the ground - I definitely don't want kids getting hurt either, but I don't want my son to be scared to tackle someone because he is scared of hurting them, especially if it's a game. Whether this was the right or wrong response, I have no idea... I'm winging this football Mom thing right now.
This is our first year in football, and it has only been a week. He loves it, and he has his moments where some aggression comes out (usually when he's tackling a bag, not another player), and our coaches are *outstanding* - my son is just does not seem aggressive enough. Don't get me wrong, he is a normal kid who isn't always "nice" 100% of the time, but I think he is afraid of physically hurting someone.
Is there anything I can say or do to help him get that "grrrrr" mentality on the field? Thanks!