Youth Football FAQ

[toggle_item title=”Who are the Norton Black Knights?” active=”False”]Norton Youth Football & Cheer, Inc. is a youth football and cheer organization established to promote the wholesome development of youth participants through their association with instructors, coaches, supervisors, and managers (“adult leaders”) in the sport of football and cheer. Rules and regulations are established to ensure the youth participants play in an atmosphere of safety with a competitive balance between teams. The emphasis will be on learning, playing, and enjoying the sport while instilling high moral standards by stressing the
importance of academic achievement and community involvement. The mission of NYFC is to give back to the community by helping children become leaders and teammates. NYFC adult leaders will cultivate confidence and a sense of self-worth in the youth participants that will extend beyond the field and into the school, family and community. Sportsmanship, teamwork, honesty, responsibility and self-discipline are among the traits needed by youngsters to face the future with positive aspirations and confidence. If we teach them positive lessons, such as playing by the rules, our young athletes will learn to live by the rules. The adult leaders shall bear in mind that the molding of future men and women is of prime importance and the attainment of exceptional athletic skill, or the winning of games, is secondary.

[toggle_item title=”Are the Black Knights a Pop Warner team?” active=”False”] No.  The Norton Black Knights are in no way affiliated with Pop Warner, we are an American Youth Football/Cheerleading association.

[toggle_item title=”What is American Youth Football?” active=”False”] American Youth Football (AYF) / American Youth Cheerleading (AYC), established in 1996, is an international youth football and cheerleading organization established to promote the wholesome development of youth through their association with adult leaders in the sport of American football. Rules and regulations are established to ensure that players play in an atmosphere of safety with a competitive balance between teams. 

American Youth Football is on a mission to give back to the community. AYF is one of the largest membership organizations dedicated to teaching youth through positive role models. Emphasis is on learning, playing, and enjoying the sport while instilling high moral standards by stressing the importance of academic achievement and community involvement. Helping kids become leaders and teammates, AYF players will learn to both foster confidence and a sense of self-worth that extend beyond the gridiron and into the school, family and community. Sportsmanship, teamwork, honesty, responsibility and self-discipline are among the traits needed by youngsters to face the future with positive aspirations and confidence. If we teach them positive lessons, such as playing by the rules, our young athletes will learn to live by the rules

[toggle_item title=”Are the Knights part of the school system?” active=”false”]No, the Norton Black Knights is a privately operated, non-profit, all volunteer program. The Board of Trustees are elected each January, and consists of parents and others who are dedicated to the core mission of this organization to the benefit of the youth of the Norton.[/toggle_item]

[toggle_item title=”What does CAL stand for?” active=”False”] CAL is an abbreviation for the Black Knights “Character, Academics & Leadership” program.  Knights’ Coaches strive to bring out the best in each participant, both on and off of the field.  It is our mission to reinforce the positive values and lessons that will allow participants to be successful in life.

[toggle_item title=”Do the Knights hold try-outs?” active=”False”] No. There are no tryouts for football or cheerleading and there are mandatory play requirements, meaning every child is guaranteed to play. All interested participants may register for an age and grade appropriate squad. Registration begins in early February each year. Squad sizes are limited and therefore, interested participants are encouraged to register at a young age as returning participants are guaranteed a roster position each year.[/toggle_item]

[toggle_item title=”How safe is youth football?” active=”false”]Statistically, youth Football is safer than organized soccer, with 12% fewer injuries per capita among 5-15 year olds. American Youth Football uses a grade/age schematic. This means that your child will be playing against children that are around their same age and grade level. The Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma in New York completed a youth football 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 50-150 lbs.) shows an injury rate of roughly 1.33 injury per team per year with no catastrophic injuries occuring.[/toggle_item]

[toggle_item title=”What about concussions?” active=”false”]Concussions are an important topic in all levels of football recently. Many studies conducted have found that concussions occur more frequently in practice than in games, this is most likely attributed to poor coaching and the selection of drills. To address the deficiency of coaches, all coaches are now required to complete multiple certification courses which emphasize safety and concussion awareness. The Norton Black Knights have enrolled in USA Football’s “Heads Up Football” program in order to guarantee the highest degree of safety for all participants.  To learn more, go to http://www.usafootball.com/headsup.

[toggle_item title=”When is registration?” active=”false”]Registration for the 2016 season is FREE until June 30.  Please visit our registration page for details. [/toggle_item]

[toggle_item title=”What will my child need for the first day of practice?” active=”False”] Boys and Girls will need to have a completed physical turned in prior to the first day of practice. An AYF physical form was provided in the registration information packet, however, a physician may document on any form he/she desires. Equipment Handout will be conducted on the first day of practice. Boys will come to the equipment shed to check-in and receive helmets. The rest of the equipment will be issued during practice at a later date. All players need to wear helmets, althletic shorts and football cleats for the first day of practice. Boys should bring water to all practices, but NOT to games. Do NOT bring juice or sports beverages. Please note, that NO jewelry is to be worn. This includes bracelets, earrings, necklaces or watches.[/toggle_item]

[toggle_item title=”How are your coaches selected?” active=”False”]Coaches for all football / cheer levels are volunteers with coaching experience who are able to commit to implementing the Black Knights’ Character, Academics and Leadership program with the team they are coaching. Many of our coaches have played at all levels of the sport including on military and college teams. Our coaches attend annual training sessions including youth football / cheer coaching techniques. Tackle football coaches are certified through USA Football in partnership with the NFL and the CDC to learn “heads up tackling” to ensure that all players are using correct and safe form.  Coaches are nationally accredited through NCACE (National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education. NYFC coaches are selected each year based on their previous experience, and coaching performance. Each coach must submit an annual criminal records background application as well as pass multiple certification exams.[/toggle_item]

[toggle_item title=”How much will my child’s participation cost me?” active=”False”] The registration rates are determined annually by the Board of Trustees. Registration for the 2016 season is FREE until June 30. Please see our registration page.[/toggle_item]

[toggle_item title=”Do I need to buy a uniform? Are there other items I need to purchase?” active=”False”] For football players, uniforms, helmets and pads are provided by NYFC. Additional costs for football gear/clothing may be incurred. Additional items include: cleats, practice pants, game socks, athletic supporters and protective cup. Cheerleaders’ uniforms are provided with the cost of registration but you will also need to purchase items designated by the Cheer Director. Our goal is to have you pay once for everything that you will need for the upcoming season. Equipment Packages for Football Players and Cheerleader Packages for cheerleaders will be available to purchase at our registration nights and informational sessions. [/toggle_item]

[toggle_item title=”What team will my child be on?” active=”False”] In accordance with American Youth Football rules and regulations, team placement for the All American Division is based on grade and age. The significance of the All American Division is:

-Children who go to school together and play together both in school and out of school play competitive football together
-Children stay together as they advance through the grades – i.e. this year’s 5th grade team moves together to play as a 6th grade team next year
-Children at the same physical and developmental maturity level play together on the same team.
-The Norton Black Knights do not turn away players who previously could not participate in youth football programs because they weigh more than their classmates and friends.


[toggle_item title=”How are cheerleaders assigned to teams?” active=”False”]Cheerleaders are assigned based on age, experience and team structure considerations, such as the number of girls in a particular age group (if one team is oversized and the next level up is undersized, some of the older girls might be moved up to balance the squads), family considerations (keeping siblings at the same level to simplify travel arrangements), etc.[/toggle_item]

[toggle_item title=”What is the time frame of the season?” active=”False”]The first practice is scheduled for July 25. September marks the first games of the season. Playoffs are played in the beginning of November followed by our annual Black Knights’ Banquet.[/toggle_item]

[toggle_item title=”What is the practice schedule?” active=”False”]in August before the beginning of the school year, all tackle squads will practice 4 days, flag squads will practice 3 days.  When school is in session, practices will be reduced to 3 days a week for tackle squads and 2 days a week for flag squads.  The practice schedule has not yet been finalized, but practice is expected to run between the hours of 5:30-7:30PM for tackle football and cheer squads and 5:30-6:30PM for flag football and cheer squads.  [/toggle_item]

[toggle_item title=”Is there an attendance policy?” active=”false”]Yes, attendance at practice and games is mandatory. Please refer to our Standard Operating Policy NYFC-01 Attendance on our documents page for more information on excused and unexcused absences. [/toggle_item]

[toggle_item title=”Does the organization have any rules or guidelines that my child and I need to be aware of?” active=”false”]Yes. NYFC has a parent and player standard of conduct which can be downloaded Add. NYFC-00 Standard of Conduct. All of our policies and guidelines are available for download on our documents page. http://www.NortonYouthFootball.com/documents [/toggle_item]

[toggle_item title=”How will I stay updated on information?” active=”false”]The NYFC e-mails and posts a monthly newsletter during the off-season and weekly starting the first week of August. Updates can be found on our website under our Home page or our Norton Black Knights Facebook page. Any immediate updates are sent out via email by the NYFC Secretary or President. We also recommend that you become a member of the NYFC Facebook Page, at http://www.Facebook.com/NortonBlackKnights [/toggle_item]

[toggle_item title=”Who can I contact if I have questions?” active=”false”] You may contact any member of the Norton Youth Football & Cheer Board of Directors. [/toggle_item]