Have you ever played American football? 🏈

In case you don’t know the difference between football (soccer) and American football, in the first one players mainly use their feet to kick the ball into the opposing team's goal to score points.

In the second one, players primarily use their hands to carry, pass, and catch the ball!

Which do you prefer? 

11-year-old Dashaun is an American football player… and a super talented one at that. 😎

In fact, he holds the record title for the most one-handed mini American football catches in one minute – 23!

See him in action. 👇

Dashaun taught us how to throw and catch like him!

Here are the 3 basic steps:

  1. Get the right grip, holding the football with your fingers spread wide around the laces, with your hand underneath for support. Dashaun’s top tip is to place your ring finger between the second and third laces!
  2. Pull your arm back.
  3. When you catch it, place your thumbs under the ball.

And there you have it – a simple guide to get you started with Dashaun’s favourite sport! 💪🏽

dashaun holding ball

But how did Dashaun’s journey start?

Here’s what he shared with us:

“My dad played football his whole life and I really wanted to get into it. He’s taught me how to play football […] since I was 3 years old.

“[…] It’s a DNA thing. My whole family, we played sports, all the generations played football and so it’s really just in my blood to play it.”

What skill would you like to learn from someone in your family?

Perhaps cooking, painting or writing? Or maybe a sport, like Dashaun?

Whatever it is, go ask them to give you their top tips – and start practising! 🍳 🎨 ⚽

Dashaun’s advice to anyone who wants to become the best at something is that “it’s just about getting better, day by day.”

dashaun catching ball

And what makes him keep going?

“My dad, he’s my motivation. My family too, they drive me to get better […] and pursue my dream…”

When he grows up, Dashaun wants to be a fitness trainer. 🤾

But how does he fit training into his schoolwork?

“I steal as much time as I can throughout the day. […] I’ll do my workout and I’ll be doing my schoolwork at the same time.

“You have to be able to do things that aren’t as comfortable while doing all the stuff that you have to do.

“Like, I’ll be doing math problems and I’m in a squat position and I’m spelling out words while catching a football, I’m in constant discomfort but I still have to complete my test.

“So, I like to say that I have to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

That’s some great advice! 👏

You can find out more about Dashaun’s life, and how he became the very best in the world through our series The One Thing on Da Vinci.

Are you into sports? Test your knowledge with this Sports Quiz and become the next champion!