Hanson Youth Football
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Old Colony Youth Football League (OCYFL)?
The Old Colony Youth Football League is an independent youth football organization that prides itself on being a local league and not being affiliated with any national organization.
The OCYFL is local league that has grown from modest beginnings. The league began in 1965 with just 6 teams from around the South Shore of Massachusetts. The OCYFL now includes 26 teams from Southeastern Massachusetts. Teams are split up into 5 divisions based primarily on their K-8 school population. For some of the larger towns the OCYFL added an additional division 6 that allows these towns to play age and grade appropriate football.
The OCYFL is now the largest independent youth football league in Massachusetts. The League is well run and closely governed by an Executive Board and five vice presidents who are all voted in by the member towns. The organization is closely bound by their own By Laws which are updated annually as voted by all member towns.
You can learn more about the OCYFL at: http://www.ocyfl.com
What are the playing levels, age and weight requirements?
It is important to note that HYF plays against age, grade and weight based competition. It is mandatory that each player appear for the official weigh-in at the time and date decided by the OCYFL (usually the Saturday after Labor Day) to be eligible to compete during the season. If a player’s weight exceeds the maximum during official weigh-in, the player will be provided the option to move up to the next weight level. After the player makes the weight at the official weigh-in, 1 pound growth allowance is added to the limit each week of the season. Maintenance of weight during the season is monitored prior to each game.
Age - No Division 1 Mite player shall attain the age of ten (10) prior to July 1st.
Grade – A player must be in the 4th grade to be eligible to participate as a D1 Mite.
Weight - At the official, scheduled weigh-in, the maximum weight will not exceed 105 pounds. If the player misses the weight but weighs under the season ending weight of 115 pounds they will be allowed to stay on the roster and work their way into eligibility as the season progresses.
Age - No Division 1 Pee Wee player shall attain the age of twelve (12) prior to July 1st.
Grade – A player must be in the 6th grade to be eligible to participate as a D1 Pee Wee.
Weight - At the official, scheduled weigh-in, the maximum weight will not exceed 130 pounds. If the player misses the weight but weighs under the season ending weight of 140 pounds they will be allowed to stay on the roster and work their way into eligibility as the season progresses.
Age - No Division 1 Midget player shall attain the age of fifteen (15) prior to November 15th. However, no player, regardless of the aforementioned requirements, shall participate in the league if he or she is in the ninth grade of school.
Grade – A player must be in the 8th grade to be eligible to participate as a D1 Midget.
Weight - At the official, scheduled weigh-in, the maximum weight will not exceed 165 pounds. If the player misses the weight but weighs under the season ending weight of 175 pounds they will be allowed to stay on the roster and work their way into eligibility as the season progresses. Note: If a player exceeds 175 pounds, he/she will be dropped from the roster as there is no higher weight level to advance.
What about equipment?
HYF provides each player a helmet, shoulder pads, practice shirt, game shirt and game pants.
Player is responsible for his own cleats (molded rubber bottom), Integrated Football Pants, athletic supporter/cup, mouth guard with attached tether and any other optional equipment (rib protector, forearm pads, gloves, etc.).
HYF equipment distribution days are scheduled prior to the start of the season. Equipment distribution will take place at Boteri Baseball Field Shed. There is a refundable deposit check required to receive equipment. The deposit check is held and returned/destroyed upon receipt of the equipment at the end of the season. The HYF website will provide more specific information regarding equipment distribution as the season approaches.
Equipment Fitting: It is essential that every player has a properly fitted helmet and shoulder pads. League administrators, coaches and parents should be able to recognize equipment that fits properly and check the fit of equipment throughout the season. Improperly fitted equipment can place an athlete at greater risk for injury. Learn the proper equipment fitting techniques to ensure optimal protection at: http://usafootball.com/health-safety/equipment-fitting
When does the season start?
According to rules of the OCYFL, the first official practice can be held 30 days prior to the first scheduled game, usually in the middle of August. The first game is usually held on the first Saturday or Sunday after Labor Day. Practices are scheduled 4 to 5 times per week during preseason (before first scheduled game), and 3-4 times per week during the regular season. There is usually 2 scrimmages scheduled against other towns during preseason. Practices usually run approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours in duration during the evening hours. Coaches will provide you team specific information regarding practice schedules/times. Note: Although we don’t expect parents to make wholesale decisions regarding their vacations and conflicts with preseason youth football, it is important to remember that this is the time that coaches spend on conditioning, evaluating the skills of their players, installing offense, defense, and special teams.
What about the games?
HYF is part of the Old Colony Youth Football League which is a competitive league. HYF works hard to keep Varsity level teams competitive but we strive to make football fun for all our players. HYF has never used tryouts or roster cuts as a tool for managing team/roster size. As a way to provide the most playing time possible for each child in our program, HYF has committed to participate in Junior Varsity (JV) games. JV games allow less experienced and/or less developed players to gain game experience to improve their skills and realize the benefits of their participation in practice. This developmental approach is particularly important with the younger players as they are still learning about playing full contact football and can gain valuable experience playing in these games. A player may move between Varsity and JV throughout the season depending on the needs of the team and the abilities of the player. This format gives our players the most opportunity to get playing time and to develop as football players against age and weight matched competition.
Game schedules are determined by the OCYFL. HYF fields teams in the OCYFL Division 4. HYF has 3 teams participating at this Level Mite, Pee Wee and Midget. The 1st game of the season is usually scheduled the first weekend after Labor Day. Each team plays 8 regular season games and potentially a playoff and championship game. The season is usually completed by the 2nd weekend of November.
JV games are usually played on Saturday’s during the regular season. Mites - 8:30am: Midgets – 9:30am: Pee Wees – 10:30am.
Varsity games are usually played on Sunday’s during the regular season. Mites – 11:30am: Midgets – 1:00pm: Pee Wees – 2:30pm.
Note: HYF plays home games at Whitman Hanson Regional High School.
What is USA Football's Heads Up program?
The Heads Up program is USA Football’s national initiative to help make the sport of football better and safer. Introduced in 2012 by the NFL's youth development arm, USA Football, and funded entirely by the NFL, Heads Up is now employed by over 5,500 youth organizations. The program teaches concussion recognition and response, heat and hydration protocols, proper equipment fitting instructions, but its central tenet is the Heads Up Tackling program. When executed properly, Heads Up Tackling literally takes the head out of the game. Players are taught to keep their heads up and lead with their shoulders when tackling.
USA Football’s Heads Up Tackling is a step-by-step protocol to teach the core principles of the skill and sets a new standard in player safety. The program utilizes five fundamentals through a series of drills to reinforce proper tackling mechanics and teach players how to properly tackle with a focus on reducing helmet contacts.
You can learn more about USA Football's Heads Up program at: http://usafootball.com/headsup.
USA Football, the sport’s national governing body, commissioned its Youth Football Player Safety Surveillance Study in February 2012 with Indianapolis-based Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention - http://datalyscenter.org/. The independent scientific study monitored leagues in six states (Arizona, Indiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, South Carolina and West Virginia) and is believed to be the first of its scope in youth football’s 80-plus year history. The study, which encompassed more than 4,000 players ages 5-14, documented player health and any sustained injuries during the course of the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
Nearly 90 percent of youth players did not sustain an injury that resulted in missing a game or practice.
Of the 22.4 percent of players who reported an injury, 70 percent returned to play the same day.
Of the 11.9 percent of players who missed a game or practice because of injury, 60 percent returned to play within seven days.
Bruises were the most common injuries (34 percent), followed by ligament sprains (16 percent).
4.3 percent of players in the study sustained a concussion.
Players were more likely to sustain an injury during games than in practices.
No catastrophic head, neck or heat-related injuries were reported among the more than 4,000 players during the study’s two-year span.
Also according to the study, injury risk was lowest among the youngest players – and gradually increased with age. Players ages 5-7 reported three injuries restricting participation. No youth player age 7 or younger sustained a concussion during the two-year study.
You can learn more about the Datalys Center study at: http://usafootball.com/blogs/health-and-safety/post/8123