Monday, July 27, 2009

1 Down, 45 to Go

We had a great start tonight. We have a lot to do, and a lot to learn, but I was generally very pleased with the first practice. Administratively, I did forget to hand out Dick's sporting good store coupons from the league. I have a few, and I will get more in a couple of weeks.

I was very happy with the lesson plan that Coach Lee put together, and the pace at which he drove the practice. He's the hardest working guy out there. I was also very pleased to see Coach Bill and Coach Scott jump right in and help. The coaching they gave was correct, appropriate, and delivered with really nice temperament and instruction style. They are both going to fit in very well. And having six coaches this year will really help with this many players.

I'm working hard to get to know each of the boys. I tried to learn each name and pronunciation tonight. Might take a couple of practices, but we'll all get there. And I really want to meet each and every parent, and get to know you better. One of the most fun things for me over years of coaching has been getting to know and become friends with so many parents. But it was a little intimidating to look over at the sideline and see just how many names I will need to learn. Coach Bill said I should have encouraged more errand-running during practice. I think he was kidding.

Tomorrow night our practice will focus on position names, alignment, formations, hole numbering, and stances in our offense. Lee and I are making a best guess as we split the boys into line and backs groups, and it will change over time as we get to know them better. Last year we moved one player from guard to fullback, and another player from halfback to guard, both about ten days before the first game. Both players had great seasons, so don't worry too much if you think there is a misplacement tomorrow night. We'll figure it out eventually.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Parts of our Offense at a High Level

Some of our offense will be run from the flex formation. I thought you might like to see some highlights from Georgia Tech University, where they run it very well.

UGA fans, please forgive the ending. But the football stuff is cool. We're going to have a lot of fun.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


To play tackle football in FCCJC, you need tackle football equipment.

Most players rent their shoulder pads and helmets from the league. I recommend that approach as being no more expensive and generally safer than buying that equipment. A single pair of youth-sized shoulder pads can range from $50 to $150. If your son grows - and all his coaches hope that he will - he will probably need a new set for every season of youth football. And he will probably outgrow his helmet from year to year too, necessitating another $60 to $150.

Shoulder pad and helmet rental for the season at FCCJC is $60. Buying the cheapest helmet and shoulder pads you can get, and replacing them even every two years, which may not be possible, would save you only $20 over four years versus renting. That is a bad risk, both financially and protection-wise.

You will need to purchase a mouth guard, football cleats, football pants with appropriate padding, and an athletic supporter.

The league requires a molded, colored mouthpiece - it can't be clear. I recommend the kind that has a plastic loop that goes around the face mask with the mouthpiece running back through, rather than the one with the disconnect-able attachment. If the attachment is disconnected this year, even if the mouthpiece is in the mouth, we get a penalty.

I recommend football cleats instead of soccer shoes or tennis shoes - though all three are legal. Football cleats usually have more traction than soccer shoes and always have more traction than tennis shoes. Being fast or strong really doesn't matter if your feet slip.

There are two types of pants. Lots of kids have the traditional kind that hold a set of seven snap in / slide in pads (pads are about $15 a pack at Dick's Sporting Goods). Color doesn't matter for practice. Here's a link to those pants. Some kids (or moms) seem to favor the pants with the built in pads. They're more expensive but less trouble I guess. Here's a link to a sample of those. For games our players will need black football pants, no stripes. My son has black for both games and practice - that way in a pinch he could wear either one, and sometimes one pair is actually clean.

My oldest son plays for the high school team, and he uses a 'girdle' under his pants rather than the snap in hip and tail-bone pads. That is a matter of personal preference, but all the pants must ultimately have the two thigh pads, two knee pads, two hip pads, and the tail-bone pad.

I highly recommend some type of athletic supporter and cup. Something like this is what many kids use, but this would work too. Some of the cups are 'soft', and seem like a cut-down knee pad. But other kids want the harder plastic cups. I never liked those very much because you could get what was called a 'cup ringer' - you'll just have to use your imagination for that. But that's all they had back in my day.

Whether or not you have a "practice jersey" is up to you. Some players get a nice mesh jersey for the hot days. But it is perfectly OK to wear some previous year's game jersey, or your dad's T-shirt, or even your mom's sorority sweatshirt on a cold day. When I was in the fifth grade I may have been the only Chi Omega playing tackle football. Whatever fits over the shoulder pads will work just fine.

If you have questions about equipment or what you'll need, just drop me a note or leave a comment.

Friday, July 3, 2009

First Weeks of Practice Coming Soon

The first practice for 2009 starts on July 27. There will be a very important parent meeting starting at 5:30PM before practice on the first day as well.

The first week is NON-CONTACT and players should only wear their helmet along with athletic shorts and a t-shirt. The first two weeks will consist of Monday through Thursday practices from 6:00PM to 7:30PM. Saturday Aug 1 at 9:00AM will be set aside for a makeup should weather be a factor or players miss a practice that first week. It is important that your son make all the practices the very first week as they are required to have 6 hours of non-contact conditioning prior to full contact starting in week 2. We need all the boys to be at the same starting point going into that 2nd week and further as we make decisions on teams. Practices are tentatively set to be at OLATHE NORTHWEST High School.

"Normal" practice weeks will consist of practice on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00PM to 7:40PM and Fridays from 5:30 to TBD.