ESPN Kids Writer Mailbag 11

Q: What are college football coaches looking for in high school student athletes? Khalil from Tennessee
A: Khalil, that is a tough question. Mostly, college football coaches will look for student-athletes who will help their program and their school. They look for good players and good students. College football coaches look for players who are willing to work hard to improve both on the football field and in the classroom. College is a very challenging environment, and it is hard to play sports while maintaining good grades. Student-athletes looking to make the leap to college sports should be mature enough to handle their new responsibilities. That is probably the most important feature that college coaches look for in a high school football player.

Q: I play short stop on my school's softball team. If I take the cut-off, should I throw it to second or third base? Taylor from California
A: Taylor, it all depends on the situation on the field. Here are a couple of examples:

Runner on first, nobody out: The batter hits a shot to center field. You race into position and take the cut off throw. The runner from first is rounding second base and looking to head to third. After you take the throw, you should throw to third base to either try to get the runner out or to keep her at second base.
Nobody on, two outs: The batter lines the ball to left field for a base hit. The cut-off throw comes to you, the shortstop. You should throw the ball to second base to keep the batter from stretching a single into a double.

The cut-off throw is a very important part of baseball. Your team should work with your coach to make sure that everybody knows the proper play when taking the cut-off throw from the outfield.

Q: Do people in other countries play football? Charlotte from Florida
A: Charlotte, you bet they do! While football is most popular in America, it is played all over the world. In most countries, the sport we know as football is called American football, to differentiate it from soccer. Professional and college leagues exist in many countries including: Canada, Mexico and Australia, as well as many European and Asian countries.

Q: In football, does it hurt when you get tackled? Polly from Alabama
A: Polly, football is a dangerous sport. If it is not played properly, players can get seriously injured. Which is why it is very important to always listen to your coach to make sure the game is played safely and correctly. It can hurt to get tackled in football. But pads provide much protection and can keep players safe. Also, defensive players need to learn how to tackle correctly to avoid injuries. As long as players and coaches know what they are doing, the game should remain competitive and safe.

Q: How big are field goal posts? James from Connecticut
A: James, the cross-bar on regulation goal posts is 10 feet high and 18.5 feet wide.

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