It happens in all sports leagues. Every season a parent embarrasses themselves and their child by getting excited and acting out inappropriately in the heat of the moment. Our Coaches and volunteers in Football and Cheerleading put in many hours to make the program successful. Do us all a favor to avoid any misunderstandings; review the guidelines below which you agreed to during registration, and know what is expected of you. Treat our volunteers with dignity and respect whether you agree with them or not, and handle any issues that arise with class, and tact. Sideline gossip, banter, heckling the referees and toxic social media rants do nothing except hurt the sport and serve as distractions.There will be no tolerance for misconduct.
- Purpose of these guidelines
o Help parents understand league policies and expectations.
o Help parents understand the coaching philosophy.
o Establish clear lines of communication.
5/6 Year Old Division
- This is the “Freshman” division of the league. Nearly all of our players return year after year for what we believe is the most exciting and enjoyable sport out there. We realize this is Youth Football, but even for this division, following these guidelines and expectations will ensure that every child has an enjoyable season. The first year is the most significant opportunity to clearly set expectations for players and parents so that everyone has a rewarding experience as they move up through the age divisions. Being clear now about expectations, policies, playing time, positions, and other important topics will avoid unnecessary problems in the future.
- LI Knights is a proponent of “Heads Up Football”. Coaches are trained for this and it is instructed on the field. USA Football’s “Heads Up Tackling” is a step-by-step protocol to teach the core principles of the skill and sets a new standard in player safety. The program utilizes five fundamentals through a series of drills to reinforce proper tackling mechanics and teach players how to properly tackle with a focus on reducing helmet contact.
- In Youth Football, there is “an absence of catastrophic head and neck injuries and disruptive joint injuries found at higher levels.”
- The injury rate in Youth Football is: less than one-third the injury rate in high school football, less than one-fifth the injury rate in college football, less than one-ninth the injury rate in professional football.
- Age-weight schematic protects younger, lighter players, who do not have higher injury rates.
- Organized football among 5 – 15 year-olds has 12 percent fewer injuries per capita than organized soccer in the same age range.
- Organized football among 5 – 15 year-olds has 50 percent fewer injuries per capita than bicycle riding in the same age range.
- Organized football among 5 – 15 year-olds has 74 percent fewer injuries per capita than skateboarding in the same age group.
- Injuries in youth football are normally mild, and older players have a higher injury rate than younger players.
- The Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma in New York completed a Pop Warner injury survey in 71 towns covering over 5,000 players in 1998. The injury experience of 5,128 boys (8 to 15 years of age, weight 22.5 to 67.5 kg [50 to 150 lbs.]) participating in youth football revealed an overall rate of significant injury of 5%, with 61% classified as moderate and 38.9% as major injuries. That’s about 1.33 per team per year. No catastrophic injuries occurred, and it was rare for a permanent disability to result from an injury.
Parent and Player Conduct & Sportsmanship
- Academics and Family supersede football. Players are expected to excel in the classroom to the best of their ability and embody good character at home and in school. If your child needs reminding of this please speak with a coach and we’ll turn this negative into a positive opportunity to remind, inspire, and encourage them.
- The goal is to teach and model good sportsmanship; show respect to coaches, officials, opponents and each other.
- Do not question a coach in public.(parents)
- Ask questions before or after a game or practice, never during.(parents)
- Do not question or gossip about game plan, play calls, or playing time. (parents)
- Loud, excessive cheering on the sideline is encouraged.
- It is not okay to taunt the opposing team or question a call, the officials, or any coach.
- Do not question a referee or call.
- When a player puts on his jersey at any time, he or she represents the entire organization and town we reside in. Likewise in regard to parent’s conduct on the sidelines. You will be on your best behavior.
- Don’t forget that it’s just a game.
- Football starts officially in mid-July. Please make it a point to start with the rest of us, not in August or later in the summer when you get around to it.
· If you are involved in another fall sport, football is the priority. It’s a short season and it’s unfair to your teammates if you are missing or late to practice, scrimmages, or games. Coaches will adjust playing time if you miss football practice for another sport accordingly.
- How often and when/where does the team train?
o Depending on your Head Coach, practice lasts roughly an hour and a half to two hours.
o Practice goes on rain, snow, or shine unless there is lightning. You should assume there is practice/game unless you get an email cancellation from your coach.
o Summer practice is usually 3x/week. Practices will be held on weeknights and Saturday mornings. Your Head Coach will give you this information when teams are formed.
o When players go back to school and games start, the weeknight practice location will change to VETS field under the lights. Saturday practices will remain the same.
o Games are on Sundays, but sometimes on Friday or Saturday.
- How long is the season?
o The season kickoff Jamboree is in mid-July. That’s when official practices and scrimmages start.
o Opening weekend typically begins in late August or the beginning of September. That’s when games begin. The season is approximately 8 games and typically ends at the beginning of November.
- How many games will there be?
o Approximately 8 plus playoffs for Division I teams.
- How do you decide who plays and who doesn’t?
o There are NO MINIMUM PLAYING TIME rules in our club. Everyone plays, however playing time is based on MERIT.
- How do parents communicate with the coaches?
o Please direct questions and concerns to the head coach of the team before or after practice or a game, never during.
- Who decides when a player is ready to play after an injury?
o A player’s physician, and secondarily the coaches.
- What can parents do at home to help the player improve their skills?
o Reinforcement makes a huge difference. Have them repeat fundamentals taught in practice, drill down on weekly area of focus from the head coach, and learn the X’s and O’s.
We require that coaches become USA Football and AED certified. Please remember that our coaches are unpaid volunteers with full-time jobs and families, who have put themselves up to the scrutiny that comes with all youth sports. They are on the field with the sole desire to help teach your child the game of football and help shape their character within the confines of the sport. Most coaches will devote an average of 15 hrs. per week for 12 weeks to help your kids. Some will go as far as spending 25 hrs a week. They deserve your respect and support.
- Depending on your head coach, communication regarding games and practices will be done via email. It is important to check your email regularly for scheduling changes and other information.
- You can expect that your head coach will have a pre-planned, time segmented practice plan for each practice, and will not be putting the practice together when he arrives.
- Sticking a player in a position they’re not prepared for results in a frustrated player.
- Coaches will play kids in positions (and with the frequency) they feel is appropriate to ensure safety & development, avoid frustrated players, and be competitive.
- Making sure every player remains safe and has fun is at the top of the priority list.
- Players should strive to listen closely, practice well, perform drills efficiently, be confident, know the fundamentals of each position, be able to draw a starting formation, and backs should be able to understand plays and draw them.
- At the younger age divisions, much time can be wasted trying to keep the players from wrestling and goofing off. It’s tough to keep their attention. As a parent, one of the best ways you can help the coaching staff is encourage your child to pay attention, and refrain from horsing around.
- Missing practice may mean missing important fundamentals. It is our experience that players that miss too many practices, regardless of their skill levels are more easily confused in a game situation. This confusion sometimes distracts from their enjoyment of the game and jeopardizes their safety. At no time will a coach play an individual who he/she thinks is not appropriately prepared to participate.
- If you have a problem, complaint, or suggestion, bring it to the attention of your Head Coach. You may not get the answer you’re looking for, but coaches always have your child’s and the team’s best interests at heart. Normally any issues can be resolved if you do this privately before or after practice, and in an appropriate manner.
- Players shall demonstrate the best of their abilities in conduct and athleticism.
- Parents are reminded of the code of conduct.
- Players will remain on the sideline with their coaches and team until the game is over.
- Players are customarily due to report to the field a half hour before game time, dressed and ready to play. Coaches need this time to make sure the players are properly stretched and warmed up to avoid injuries as well as making sure players are mentally ready to play. If you have a transportation problem, please notify your coach.
- Please send your child to every practice and game with a filled water bottle.
- Players provide their own helmet and shoulder pads.
- Players should purchase a black pair of integrated football pants(with the pads sewn in) for practice. Black is suggested as it will retain a better appearance than white throughout the season.
- Proper care of your equipment is important for both safety and to ensure that your equipment is ready every time you play. It is your responsibility to periodically inspect all of your equipment before you put it on. Please inspect your helmet for missing or loose pieces and screws, and your shoulder pads for loose straps and clips.
- Players must wear a jersey over their shoulder pads during practice (not your game jersey).
- Players are encouraged to take part in the long held tradition of wearing their game jersey to school on Fridays.
- Parents are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the rules and basic football terms which are posted on our website. Unlike other sports, certain aspects of football can seem complicated. A little reinforcement at home can make a big difference. Your coaches will give you regular updates on what to review with the kids at home.
- Ages 9 and up play high school football rules except as noted in the league rules.
- 8 Year olds play modified 11-on-11 rules.
- 6/7 Year Old Pee Wees play modified 8-on-8 rules.
See our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.