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  • 01 Mar 2016 12:04 PM | William Lee (Administrator)
    Written by Dave on December 14th, 2010

    Stumbling Gorillas

    At both the AYF and Pop Warner National Championships there are many very good youth football teams that have dominated their opponents throughout the season. Several coaches I spoke to quoted their impressive records and point totals that bordered on the absurd. One coach was 15-0 with a 510-6 point total, another was 14-0 with a 456-14 point total.

    While this isn’t necessarily the rule, there were plenty of teams that for whatever reason had ruled their fiefdoms with an iron fist and had experienced very little adversity prior to the tournament. Several coaches told me they had not punted at all the entire season, several others mentioned they had punted 2 times or fewer. At least 30 coaches said they had not trailed in a game all year. I like to call these teams “gorilla” teams, they rule the jungle and have no legitimate threat to their control of their jungle. They dominate their competition and many times they face teams that are defeated mentally before they ever take the field, due to the gorilla teams appearance or the gorilla teams reputation.

    However, when most gorilla teams get to Florida, they find there are other gorillas just as talented as themselves who have little or no fear of facing other gorillas. I saw one gorilla Pee Wee team at the Pop Warner tournament, seemingly well coached on both offense and defense and with very good athletes, struggle to move the ball against another gorilla team. On their first punt, they barely got it off and it went just 12 yards, giving their opponent very good field position. On their next punting situation- 4th and 6 from their own 40, they decided to go for it and didn’t make it. On the next possession on 4th and 7 they booted a 14 yard kick. On another possession, they had 4th and 9 and faked the punt, it was an awful attempt, both the kicker and the player they were short snapping to were just a yard apart, it fooled no one and the snap was bad, the other team recovered and went in to score. On their last punting situation, they were 4th and 11 from their own 20 yard line. Since they punted so poorly and their fakes were just as bad, they decided to go for it and were stuffed to seal their fate.

    This game was being played on one side of the field for the entire game due to poor punting of the one team and pretty good punting by the opponent. The opposing team was consistently getting 30 yards on their punts or were just going for it on fourth down because of the field position they had. The winning team was able to take a few more chances due to field position, whereas the losing team couldn’t dig very deep into their playbook.  In the end the punting game was the deciding factor in this game which was decided by one touchdown.

    Neither team was able to move the ball very well, but on each exchange the one team was gaining 20 yards or more of field position, which in the end won them the game. It was very obvious the losing team had not punted much during their season if at all. They didn’t need to, but they had obviously failed to perfect it for the day they might need it.

    The same is true of some blocking scheme adjustments. Like any youth football league with about 100 teams, our league has very good teams, good teams, average teams and poor teams, the coaching runs the gamut. Depending on the schedule, we may have a good number of teams where we can run our base 12-14 plays with our regular blocking rules and schemes and win handily if we execute well and our players technique and effort are near potential. However there are always teams that are bigger, faster and better than us on the schedule, if not during the regular season, then in the playoffs or when we play out of conference in tournaments. Against the teams you bully, things like traps, influence plays, false pulls, wrong waying, key breaker plays or screens may not be effective at all. When you play teams that have players that do not play aggressively or are not coached well, those type of plays or tactics often times fail miserably, because those players are going to respond and play differently than well coached or aggressive players. The danger is, once you run a wrong way pull or key breaker play and it doesn’t work well against the weaker team, the coaching staff and players lose confidence in the play or adjustment and it is either put on the backburner or tosses altogether.

    In many leagues the rules also prevent you from developing your teams for title runs. Many leagues mercy rules prevent you from working and developing aspects of your game that you will need once you are playing on a bigger stage. There are very few teams that are winning National Championships without a legitimate pass threat or great special teams. I’m not talking about going Air Raid and throwing 70% of the time, I’m talking about being able to threaten the field with the potential of a completed pass that will net 20 yards or more. In many leagues once you are up by 3-4 touchdowns you are not allowed to throw the football. These mercy rules are well intended and needed in many places where coaches are out of control, but they can also hinder team development.

    What to do? If you think your team can be a league or National Title contender, you have to perfect parts of the game that you may not need until you face another gorilla. You MUST perfect those parts of the game you didn’t need to beat the weaker or average opponent with, that means committing practice time to it. If you have a title contending youth football team, you may need to play a game within a game. To work on your punting game, when ahead by 3-4 scores, go ahead and punt on third down to get the practice. In games where you feel confident your team has the upper hand, start throwing the ball earlier than you normally do or on downs you normally wouldn’t throw the ball on. Use your influence or false pulls/wrong waying even though your base plays are working extremely well. Keep the end goal in mind which is not only beating your opponent today, but winning the last game against another gorilla. If you are controlling the game on offense, put your weaker players in earlier on defense to keep the score differential tight enough not to go into mercy rule so you can work on your offense and special teams. I don’t get caught up in the final score, I could care less about shut outs, my goal is to prepare the team to it’s full potential and to win that final big game.

    To win on the big stage, in most cases you are going to need all the tricks in your bag to beat the other gorillas in the jungle. Before every game take a few moments off to the side away from everything to think about your end goals, don’t get caught up in the moment and excitement of the game that day. Write some of the things you need to work on, on your play sheet to help remind you. My game three sheet said: Punt, Wrong, Burst 43 G, Buck, Smoke Pass, all things we were going to need later in the season. There were spots in that game where I was able to work in all five of those points of emphasis. When you get to that final game you will be glad you invested the time to fully prepare for that opponent, often times it will be the difference maker.

    Copyright 2010 Cisar Management, all rights reserved. This article may be republished but only if this paragraph and link are included. http://winningyouthfootball.com

  • 24 Feb 2016 12:43 PM | William Lee (Administrator)

    SFIA Football Glove Specification Program

    By NFHS on February 19, 2016 football


    Sports governing bodies including the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as well as a number of youth leagues require that football gloves used during game play meet certain performance standards. These performance standards ensure the glove does not give the player an unfair advantage in controlling the football.

    The new SFIA Football Glove & Hand Pad Specification meets the requirements set forth by both the NFHS and NCAA.

    Exponent, a certified ISO 9001 firm with over 90 scientific and engineering disciplines, staff of approximately 900, located in 20 offices throughout the United States and 5 international offices, is the independent lab that will verify gloves certified to the SFIA specification meet the requirements of those specifications.

    All brands and models of gloves listed on this page have met the SFIA Football Glove & Hand Pad performance specification that certifies the gloves are legal for use in game play sanctioned by the NFHS, the NCAA and youth leagues. All products that have met the SFIA Football Glove performance specification will possess the mark (as depicted to the right) on the glove and on merchandise packaging.

    Visit the SFIA Football Glove and Hand Pad Specification page.

  • 24 Feb 2016 12:27 PM | William Lee (Administrator)

    Article from NFHS.org

    By Cody Porter on February 17, 2016 football article


    The elimination of clipping from high school football is the latest attempt to reduce the risk of injury made by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee.

    The decision to eliminate clipping in the free-blocking zone (Rule 2-17-3) was the most significant of three rules changes recommended by the NFHS Football Rules Committee at its January 22-24 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

    “With very few major rules changes approved by the NFHS Football Rules Committee for the 2016 season, it indicates that the committee feels that the rules of the game are in pretty good shape,” said Bob Colgate, director of sports and sports medicine at the NFHS and staff liaison for football.

    Clipping, as previously stated in Rule 2-17-3, was permitted in the free-blocking zone when it met three conditions; however, clipping is now illegal anywhere on the field at any time. According to the rule, the free-blocking zone is defined as a rectangular area extending laterally 4 yards either side of the spot of the snap and 3 yards behind each line of scrimmage.

    “The NFHS Football Rules Committee’s action this year on making clipping illegal in the free-blocking zone once again reinforces its continued effort to minimize risk within the game,” Colgate said.

    “I look forward to ongoing conversations about how best to limit exposure to harm within the free-blocking zone and in situations involving defenseless players,” said Brad Garrett, chair of the NFHS Football Rules Committee and assistant executive director of the Oregon School Activities Association.

    Other changes for the 2016 season will include those made to football protective equipment and gloves in Rules 1-5-1d(5)a and 1-5-2b.

    “The committee expanded the options on what can now be worn as a legal tooth and mouth protector and also football gloves,” Colgate said.

    Tooth and mouth protectors that are completely clear or completely white are no longer illegal. Rule 1-5-1d(5)a continues to require that tooth and mouth protectors include an occlusal (protecting and separating the biting surfaces) portion and a labial (protecting the teeth and supporting structures) portion, and that they cover the posterior teeth with adequate thickness.

    In Rule 1-5-2b, football gloves are now required to meet either the new Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) specifications or the existing National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) test standard at the time of manufacture.

    “I give my compliments to the voting members of the NFHS Football Rules Committee as they continue to put the health and safety of student-athletes at the forefront of all committee discussions regarding the future of the game,” Garrett said.

    A complete listing of all rules changes will be available soon on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page, and select “Football.”

    According to the 2014-15 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, football is the most popular sport for boys at the high school level with 1,083,617 participants in 11-player football. Another combined 28,938 boys participated in 6-, 8- and 9-player football. In addition, 1,698 girls participated in football during the 2014-15 season.

  • 12 Feb 2016 1:19 PM | William Lee (Administrator)

    Click here for full story.

    Starting with the Fall 2015 Season, a Ohio youth football league has gone to State ID cards as their source for player age and identity.  Click the aboe link to view the full story.

  • 09 Feb 2016 12:29 PM | William Lee (Administrator)
    by Becky McKenzie December 2015

    LexisNexis(R) logoAthleticBusiness.com has partnered with LexisNexis to bring you this content.

    Copyright 2015 The Durham Herald Co.
    All Rights Reserved

    The Herald-Sun (Durham, N.C.)


    It's a beautiful autumn afternoon. There's a chill in the air, and the school bleachers are filled with football fans cheering for the hometown team. I wouldn't miss this game. I came to watch my 12-year-old nephew play in the youth football championship game.

    The game was competitive, but resulted in a tough loss for the hometown team. My nephew was disappointed the season was over. From August through October he lives and breathes football. But frankly, I am relieved to see the youth football season come to an end.

    As a registered nurse with 30 years of experience, I am well aware of the recent publicity surrounding football injuries. I've read the many stories about the danger of concussion injuries sustained while playing youth and high school football.

    Related: As Concerns Grow, Experts Seek to Make Prep Football Safer

    Neurologists have voiced concerns over the possible risks for long-term brain damage as a result of repeated hits to the head. In the past three months, eight high school football players have died of blunt force head injuries sustained during a game.

    Despite the risk of serious injury, football is one of our country's most popular sports. There are about 3 million youth football players nationwide, and 1.1 million high school football players. According to JAMA Pediatrics, 1 in 30 football players ages 5 to 15 will sustain a concussion per season. This risk is higher in high-school-aged players, with a rate of 1 in 14. According to the study, youth and high school football players suffer concussions more frequently than knee sprains and fractures.

    Riddell manufactures a football helmet with built-in sensors designed to alert coaches to the severity and frequency of impacts to the head. But these sensors may provide a false sense of security. Last month, a Riddell InSite Impact Response sensor failed to recognize the intensity of a hit, and a California high school player collapsed from a brain injury and remains in a coma.

    Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new recommendations: better training for players and coaches, proper tackling techniques, and the use of skilled athletic trainers to reduce injuries for young athletes. But perhaps the largest investment in safety has been in educating coaches. The "Heads Up Football" program, for instance, begun in 2012, has made dramatic improvements with reducing youth football injuries over the past three years.

    Youth football leagues adopting "Heads Up Football" typically have a 76 percent reduction in injuries compared to non-"Heads Up Football" leagues. "Heads Up Football" leagues had a 34 percent reduction in concussions in practices and a 29 percent reduction during games. Less than 10 percent of youth football players in "Heads Up Football" leagues sustained an injury in the 2014 season.

    More than 160,000 coaches are now certified through "Heads Up." Coaches are taught how to fit each player properly for helmets, shoulder pads and other protective equipment and to ensure the equipment is in working order. Training also includes emergency first responder medical treatment for injuries that may occur, including concussion awareness, heat exhaustion and cardiac arrest.

    There are 10,000 youth football programs in the U.S. Last year, 35 percent of the youth football programs did not participate in USA Football's "Heads Up" program. According to interviews with "Heads Up" certified coaches, the reasons often cited for not participating include lack of buy-in and support from the local community, lack of awareness of the benefits of the program, and opposition to change - "fear of changing the game."

    But the costs for the "Heads Up" program are minimal. The group rate cost for a youth program is $10 a coach. The online training may take a few hours.

    I believe every youth playing football should have the benefit of a coach and program that's invested in proper safety training and education.

    So with this year's football season coming to a close, I challenge the 3,500 youth football programs that have not adopted "Heads Up Football" to use the winter months to prepare for next football season by committing to the training. And for the parents of children wanting to play youth football, confirm that your local youth football league is a participant in the "Football Heads Up" program.

    Becky McKenzie, MBA, MSN, RN is employed at Duke University Hospital in perioperative services, and is a doctor of nursing practice student at Duke University School of Nursing.


    December 2, 2015





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  • 08 Feb 2016 12:45 PM | William Lee (Administrator)

    BEACHWOOD, Ohio-- “I will never see my son pitch another ball.”

    That from Amy Baca of Willowick, whose only son, Colin, was diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart condition during a routine physical.

    Speaking from their doctor's office in Beachwood, Amy said her 15-year-old son had been a star baseball, basketball and soccer player throughout most of his childhood.

    But the February diagnosis would change his life forever.

    Baca said, "It was very scary in the beginning because it was such a new diagnosis to us. Colin has always been one of the most healthy children."

    Cleveland Clinic Pediatric Cardiologist Doctor Kenneth Zahka said underlying heart murmurs are common in young people.

    But Zahka said Colin’s was different, adding, "When we listened to him, we were also concerned. What was causing the heart murmur? And we did some tests and showed the reason he had his heart murmur because he has abnormal heart muscle and that abnormal heart muscle is called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy."

    Doctors said it is now a very busy time of year for sports physicals, as required by Ohio state guidelines and they could mean a matter of life or death.

    If Colin’s condition had gone undetected, it could have proven fatal.

    Colin’s diagnosis is not only a wakeup call for him, but for his entire family as well.

    His parents and older sister are now all being tested to see if they too, have any type of heart conditions.

    Amy said, "There's so many different genes they can test for, that they test the most popular ones just to be on the safe side. So our daughter was cleared today. So she's good."

    Amy and her husband will undergo genetic testing in the fall.

    Meantime, Colin will be a sophomore at North High School in Eastlake in a few days and is already looking forward to learning more about his new passion: playing golf.

    Doctors say abnormal heart conditions can happen to anyone, no matter the age. And while it can be treated through medications or surgery, there is no cure.

    *See Colin's visit on FOX 8 News in the Morning.*

    See the Fox 8 Story

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