Many of our players at all levels have never played tackle football before. We recognize this and take that fact into account when we plan our season. In fact, last year, just under 45% of our players were in their first year at NSYF. This year, we expect that number to go above 50%.
The first thing to understand is that our focus at North Side is on mastering the skills of blocking and tackling. We focus and specialize on developing skills. Every season starts with weeks of basic skills for all players, whether that be someone who is brand new or someone who has played for 5 years.
In respect to the football skills of blocking and tackling, we progress players as individuals and not by progressing everyone together on a timeline. How can we pull this off? We practice as an organization for large parts of practice throughout the entire season. This allows us to maximize our coaches' time and productivity and also utilize each coach's individual strength. It allows our coaches to work with everyone (not just a few kids from their specific team with specific positions) and allows us to have different level of progression groups in every practice. These organizational practices actually advance individuals and groups to a higher level than if we used traditional team only practices. Our preseason practice plan advances players to the next level of learning when that individual is ready to move up to that level.
Another important fact to know for all parents, including parents of new players, is we use the "Levels of Contact" system along with "equitable pairing" when teaching kids tackling and blocking. All kids progress through what is know as "Levels of Contact". Simply put, this means that Partial Contact is not allowed until players are proficient in techniques at the non contact level. Full contact is not allowed until players are proficient at the partial contact level. Equitable Pairing means that players are always matched with someone that is equitable to them, taking into respect the size, age, ability, and technique proficiency of each player. This simply means that we won't place your son against someone at a different overall level during contact drills.
So, to summarize, in terms of safety, your child will never be placed in a situation that he is not able to handle or asked to participate in a manner that he is not prepared for. We focus and specialize on developing skills. Every season starts with weeks of basic skills for all players, whether that be someone who is brand new or someone who has played for 5 years.
As far as playing time goes, a player's experience is one factor we take into account when placing individuals on teams. In order for us to give kids a positive experience, players must be given playing time. You can be assured that your son will be placed on a team that assures him of plenty of playing time.