Our practice policy can be separated into two time frames - Preseason and In Season. It is important to understand both.
PRESEASON (July 19th through August 27th)
Let's start with this - If your child wants to play football but you have conflicts in August, we will make it work so that he has a safe, positive, rewarding experience. So, the question is really "Does your son want to play football?" If the answer is yes but he has preseason conflicts in August, we will let you know the path he will take due to his absences. Most of our players have some form of conflict in August so don't be worried if your son does too.
***Our preseason practices combine protocols for both heat acclimitization and contact progression in order to maximize your child's safety and learning.
We will hold conditioning sessions run by professional fitness instructors on July 19th, 22nd, 26th, and 29th from 6 to 8 PM. These are optional but are beneficial to everyone and highly recommended for everyone who can make them. Also, for everyone who attends two of these sessions, those players will start practice on August 3rd in a helmet (heat acclimatization).
We realize that families have many commitments and time constraints in the Summer. We do not expect families to cancel camps, vacations, family reunions, etc. However, we do expect our players to be committed. Therefore, starting August 3rd, whether your son is in town or out of town, we need to know when and why your son won't be at practice.
For preseason practices in August, If your child is out of town and misses extended practices for camp, vacation, family reunions, etc., we have a system set up that will still allow your son to learn the game, prepare properly, and end up with a safe and rewarding experience. However, you must let us know when he is going to be gone so we can plan and inform you how it will work for your child.
For preseason practices in August (starting August 3rd), if your child is in Chicago with no previously scheduled, justifiable event, we expect him to be at practice. What is justifiable? If you are wondering whether it is or isn't, it probably isn't. We are not looking to get into semantics on the word justifiable, we are looking to teach kids commitment because we believe that is a positive for your child. Example: finishing up your baseball season with playoffs and playing games on Tuesday and Thursday is justifiable. Skipping Wednesday football practice because baseball season is not over is not justifiable.
Remember, during August, if your child has conflicts, we will figure out a solution so your child can participate and have a positive experience. That is our end of the agreement. Your end of the agreement is that your son is committed to practice when there are no conflicts.
We will hold our transition week practices on August 3rd, 4th, and 5th from 4:30 to 6:30. We consider these 3 days practices. Why do we call it transition week? We are transitioning from 2 to 3 to 5 days a week. We are also transitioning away from general workouts to specific football related drills. We are also starting the transition intro equipment by wearing helmets. This week is 100% non contact. All players must have a minimum number of non contact practices before they are allowed to join in a full contact practice (contact progression).
Starting August 9th, we start practicing 5 days a week until the first game on August 28th or August 29th. There is a chance that Bantamweights (7 and 8 year olds plus light 9 year olds) will not practice on certain Fridays in August (we will inform Bantam parents of those days). Starting August 9th, we will continue our contact progression protocol. This means we will start moving towards more pads and higher contact levels over the course of the week. If your child joins starting August 9th or later, he will still have to fulfill his non contact practices before going into pads. We will never place someone into full contact without that specific individual going through the entire heat acclimatization and contact progression protocol.
DO NOT MAKE THE DECISION FOR YOUR CHILD NOT TO PLAY BECAUSE YOU THINK HE WILL FALL BEHIND FOR BEING GONE FOR A PORTION OF AUGUST PRACTICES. To repeat above, many of our players miss a week or more of these practices because of family Summer commitments. We expect that and plan for that. Do not let that affect your decision. If your son wants to play, we will make sure he is on a path that allows him to learn the game safely and completely.
If you miss too much of August, you may sit out the first and possibly second game for safety purposes. Players must have a minimum of at least 10 practices to be eligible to participate in the first game. For every player who has completed at least 10 practices, NSYF will then make a determination on each player individually as to whether that player is ready to play in the first game. In making that decision, NSYF takes into account all possible factors. The goal here is to have a positive experience this Season. The season is 9 games long - not one.
IN SEASON (September 1st to the end of the season)
After the first game on either 8/28 or 8/29, practices will run from 4:30 to 6:30 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays for Middleweights, Lightweights, Junior Varsity, and Varsity (11 through 14 year olds including Big 10 year olds); Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for Featherweights; Mondays and Wednesdays for Bantamweights. During the first two weeks of the season, we will also hold practices on non practice days (Tuesday and Thursday) for those players who have not completed their minimum number of practices. It is expected that your child arrive dressed and ready for practice by 4:30 unless his school end time does not allow him to be there by 430. As a coach, it is expected that practice will end at 6:30.
Starting on 9/1 , practices are mandatory except for academic, religious, or health reasons. It is expected that your child arrive dressed and ready to practice by 4:30. If your family has a late Summer vacation or event scheduled past Labor Day, please let us know.
Some coaches may hold Saturday walk through practices. These Saturday practices are non contact and will always be in shorts, t-shirts, and cleats. Saturday practices vary by coach and team and most coaches do not hold them. You must speak to your son’s individual coach and find out his plan for Saturday practices. If your son is going to miss practice for health, academic, or religious reasons, you must text, call or email your coach before practice. If your son is going to unexpectedly miss practice due to a sickness, please call, email, or text your coach ASAP so that he can plan accordingly.
Once the season begins, if a player misses one practice for unexcused reasons, he will have his playing time reduced in that week’s game. If a player misses two or more practices for unexcused reasons, he will attend but not play in that week’s game.
For many parents, this policy may seem excessive. However, there are many factors that go into this policy. We will focus on the one that matters most. First and foremost is the fact that players who do not make practice do not know what they are supposed to be doing on the field. This is not only unfair to other players as it reduces the team’s chance for success, but more importantly it increases the chance of injury because one player does not know his role and leaves other players in harms way. Football is truly a team sport. It is obvious that some players are more talented than others. Talent does not matter if you do not know what you are supposed to be doing on the field. If a player does not know what he is doing on the field, he increases the chance someone is injured during play. If you feel you have out of the ordinary circumstances that do not allow your son to fulfill this practice policy, please contact North Side Football and we will discuss a solution.
This practice policy applies equally to all players, regardless of ability!