February 2015 Huddle
Official Sponsors

Sadler Insurance



Lifetouch Sports and PlayAYF team up for a fantastic promotion!

Use Lifetouch Sports as your team photographer and PlayAYF

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and receive a reimbursement of, or towards your annual PlayAYF plan

subscription fee. Visit Lifetouch/PlayAYF FAQ for more info!

See you at the fields!


2014 AYF/AYC National Championships Highlights

Previously aired on NBC Sports watch the complete video now on youtube.

PlayAYF and Lifetouch Sports - use both and save!

Introducing a great new promotion for Associations using PlayAYF for online registration and Lifetouch Sports for team photographs - use both this upcoming season and you could be eligible to receive a full or partial reimbursement of your PlayAYF annual subscription fee.  Learn more about the promotionLearn more about PlayAYF.


It's AAA Nomination Time! DEADLINE EXTENDED!


To be eligible for the AAA award, applications must be submitted by Mar 31st, 2015 by logging in to MYAYF.com and navigating to the awards section.


Good luck to all potential award winners.

The 2015 leadership meeting was a success!


TheAYC regional leaders had a very productive meeting where we worked together as a team to update the divisions for cheer, dance, and step to give both large and small associations the ability to provide all athletes an opportunity to participate in AYC.


The same thought process, the inclusion of all athletes from all regions, was used to update skill levels and to make other AYC rule changes.  These changes will be released on March 1st at myayf.com.


Any questions contact
Tammy Gagne

AYF Welcomes: 
  • High Desert Youth Football and Cheer
  • Beacon House
  • Marshall Heights
  • St Charles bears
  • Watkins hornets
  • Northwest Bulldogs
  • South county ducks
  • Hyde Park Presidents
XP, UnderArmour and 
Xtreme Procision
AYF has partnered up with XP & UA to help address the current issues surrounding youth football. 
We have to commit to teaching the fundamentals if we want to save and grow youth football.
All of our associations should invest in  these products to use as a teaching method in practice. With a new emphasis on not using pads in practice as much, these products will insure a high quality of practice even without pads and full contact. 
The products are marked down 35% for AYF league members you can purchase now at www.ayfxp.com.

To watch the XP training system at work click here 
Academy Sports

Thank you to Academy Sports for the 100-Yard Classroom Banners!

Academy Sports Sponsors the Student Athlete Scholarship Program where students become eligible by taking a picture in front of their Academy Banner.
2014 Winners were:
 Oviedo Knights - $1000,00
        Dunbar Rattlers -  $500

I was watching a video clip on YouTube of NBA coach Stan Van Gundy. He was speaking at a clinic explaining why European basketball players have surpassed American basketball players. He traced it back to youth skill development. He said in America we put too much emphasis on games. We think the more games our kids play, the better they will get.  The problem with the American system, he said, was that at a very young age we place children in their "positions".  For example, the tallest kid plays center.  If a kid is made a center at seven years old, and he's playing a bunch of games, how is he supposed to develop skills like dribbling and outside shooting?


In Europe, the philosophy of youth basketball is much different.  Coach Van Gundy said that overseas, emphasis is placed on a player developing all the skills on the basketball court. They don't focus on positions. He said this is a primary reason why European players are more fundamentally sound than their American counterparts.


Logically, I can't disagree with that. Personally, I can relate. When I went out for intramural football in the fourth grade, I wanted to play quarterback, or running back, or receiver.  Well, because I was shaped like a pear, the first day of practice the coach put me on the offensive line without giving it a second thought.  That whole season all I played was offensive line.  I didn't have a whole lot of fun.  After a few practices the next season, I stopped playing football and started playing soccer.


My point is kids need to have fun when they're practicing AND playing sports.  Doing the same thing over and over gets boring for adults. Imagine what it must be like for a 10-year-old?  We have two jobs as coaches- to make sure our kids are enjoying themselves, and to make sure they develop their skills.  We should let all of the kids play all of the positions at some point and practice.  This will not slow down their development of their "natural position". It will only help them come to love the game of football even more, which will inspire them to work that much harder when it's appropriate to start taking the sport seriously.  They will develop an appreciation for their teammates.  And your job will become a lot easier, because the kids will be having more fun.


Maybe that pear shaped kid will become a lineman someday. But today, let him pretend he's a quarterback. 




Why the birth date cutoff change in the All-American Division was made?

AYF listened to its membership and its leaders, which is the purpose of the annual leadership meeting.  As with our community offerings, requirements are periodically evaluated and updated.  This topic has been touched on for some time now over the past few years. 

 A majority of our major Tournament Conference and Association members were in attendance at our National Leadership meeting and after much discussion, the Regions voted 8 - 1 to adjust the date to be the same across all AYF Divisions, moving the All American division date 5 months earlier.  

There were many benefits and positive outcomes presented by a great sampling of our tournament leadership, as well as suggestions for no change.  Ultimately, as a result of this vote by the regions, we think the overall benefits of the decision will lead to growth, inclusion, and consistency across the 2 AYF Divisions of play for our current and future members.  AYF is committed to holding to this date. 

AYF Competitive Divisions 

AYC has also made changes to the AYC Age Divisions. :

8 and Under (L/S) (R/W)
10 and Under (L/S) (R/W/B)
12 and Under (L/S) (R/W/B)
14 and Under (L/S) (R/W/B)
18 and Under (L/S) (R/W/B)
14 and Under Elite (S) (R/B)

Step Divisions

  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me anytime craig@americanyouthfootball.com.

 Intelligence or Wisdom.

One of my favorite stories is told on the first day of class by a Yale Professor I knew while coaching at the esteemed Ivy League school. It goes like this. "A Yale student was driving through an inner city street when his Porsche's tire went flat. He pulled over to the side of the street and called AAA for road side assistance. After an hour, when no one responded, he decided to change the tire himself. He struggled with the jack and finally got the car lifted so that he could remove the wheel. He removed the lug nuts and sat them on the ground. When he placed the spare tire on and reached for the lug nuts, he realized he accidentally had kicked them down the curb drain. He began to loudly curse his bad luck. An old timer who was busy collecting bottles and cans stopped to ask him why he was upset. When he explained his dilemma, the old guy said "The solution is easy. You just need to remove one lug nut off each of the other wheels and put them on the empty one and drive home." The student said, "I don't understand.  I have a perfect SAT score and you're a street guy. How did you figure that out?" The old fellow said, "well I may not be a Yalie, but I am not stupid!"  The Professor sent a message loud and clear.  "It is everyday simple; intelligence is different from wisdom. Your intelligence will not get you any further than your wisdom in my class!" 


We don't want you to think we do not respect those who better themselves with an education. I personally continually strive to grow the Academic Achievement Alliance Scholarship fund. Our youth must become educated to compete in today's world. We also need to teach our children well. In my youth, when I would return home with a wild tale I had heard from a politician or fast talking con artist, my father always asked me,  "Who said that? Why do you think they said that?" It always made me stop back and THINK. When I mentioned going out at night, my father would ask the three key questions:  Who are you going to be with? Where are you going? When will you be home? Later in my coaching career, I remember the most often repeated quote from my Coach Bo Schembechler "nothing good happens after midnight!" 

Raising children is very difficult and we are all doing that in American Youth Football and Cheer. What does AYF and AYC National staff know about children? Well, let's count 'em up; Joe has five and eleven grandchildren. Craig has five, Elizabeth has two, Dee has three, Tammy has six and three grandchildren, Shannon has three. I assure you we ask those three key questions often. Please ask these questions to your organization's youth. 


All of us at AYF and AYC owe each child's family our help and wisdom. AYF and AYC are obligated to share that gift of wisdom to their most precious possession - their children. We do not teach a sport - we teach children.  If we teach children to stop and think, we will save them and nurture their potential to succeed.  We are at war for the minds of our children. We can stop the violence. We can stop the hate. We can stop the cheating. But it will take wisdom.




Brain Injury Risk Management Major Topic At 2015 Leadership Conference


Sadler Sports Insurance introduced its new Concussion / Brain Injury Risk Management Program template for local AYF/AYC organizations to adopt to reduce the risk of litigation arising from concussion and brain injury allegations. A copy of the document can be found at www.sadlersports.com/riskmanagement under the concussion resources section.


The important elements of this written program include:


Coach training through a basic online concussion education course through NAYS or CDC (free and 15 minute completion time) and a tackle training course through AYF TackleSure ($5.00). Completion of both required with retention of completion certificate.


Annual distribution of the CDC Concussion Information Fact sheet to all staff, players, and parents for review, signature, return, and retention.


Baseline neurocognitive testing is recommended.


Written policies and procedures on concussion recognition, removal from play, treatment by MD or DO, gradual return to play protocol, and medical clearance form signed by an MD or DO.


Limitations on contact at proactive is recommended in terms of days per week and hours per day.


Coach education on proper fitting of helmets.


In addition, all organizations should comply with their state's version of NFHS concussion brain injury recommendations and applicable state laws.


The adoption and implementation of an adequate, written concussion / brain injury risk management program is essential for reducing the risk of litigation.


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