USA Football
Mission Statement, General Guidelines, and Parent Expectations

Livingston Jr. Lancer Football Program of New Jersey, Inc.

Mission Statement, General Guidelines, and Parent Expectations

The mission of the Livingston Junior Lancers Football Program is to:

  1. Promote a love of football so players desire to return to the Program each year;
  2. Teach our players the skills they will need to play their best;
  3. Foster the self-esteem, teamwork, dedication, and discipline necessary to succeed in football and in life;
  4. Prepare those players with the desire to play in high school to do so by acting as a feeder program for Livingston High School; and
  5. Encourage the increased participation of parents in their child's life by providing them with opportunities to get involved in our community.

Overall Program Development

The Program should have formations, schemes, and plays similar to those run by Livingston High School, modified where appropriate for the age level of the Program's teams. Defensive schemes should be sound and simple, stressing alignment, reads, and responsibility. Offensive schemes should be based on fundamentally sound base blocking schemes (including pulling and trapping where it is appropriate and possible), and should incorporate fundamentally sound passing and running plays.

Overall Football Guidelines

  1. The primary objective of the Coaches, Board, and Director of Football Operations will be to try to build a program founded on continuity throughout the Program.
  2. No player, coach, parent, or team within the Program is more important than the Program or its objectives.
  3. Coaches throughout the program shall cooperate with one another across all levels by sharing ideas, playbooks, and coaching techniques.
  4. On each level, the A, B, and C team shall be the Varsity Squad. Each level shall have one Varsity Squad composed of approximately twenty players chosen from the A and AA, B and BB, and C and CC levels respectively. The goal of the Varsity Squad is to win games with the most competitive team. As discussed below, the goal of the Junior Varsity squad is to supplement instruction received during practice and enhance player development.
  5. No player is guaranteed a spot on the Varsity Squad. Players must earn a spot the Varsity Squad on a week-to-week basis. The Coaches at each level shall evaluate and identify what players will constitute the Varsity Squad. Coaches may consider such factors as (by way of example and not limitation): a player's skill; a player's knowledge of the playbook; and a player's attitude and leadership qualities; and the performance of a player on the Junior Varsity level. Coaches shall use a uniform system to aid in the evaluation process.
  6. The goal of the Junior Varsity Squad (AA, BB, and CC) is to supplement the instruction received during practice and enhance player development. Coaches' decisions during Junior Varsity games shall be guided more by instruction, playing time, and opportunity for all players to play, even if it means that the best "team" is not on the field.
  7. The Board and the Director of Football Operations shall try to create multiple Junior Varsity teams on that level and find alternative leagues when they determine that the number of players at the Junior Varsity level warrants more than one team. Players on the Junior Varsity team shall play at least eight plays per game.
  8. If a player is, by terms of his age, on the Varsity level, but in terms of his skill, knowledge of the playbook, or attitude, not ready to play on the Varsity level, he may be asked to play on the Junior Varsity level. Junior Varsity coaches should try to give priority in playing time to these players.
  9. Coaches shall impose consequences on Players who have Unexcused Absences from practices or games (defined below). Those consequences shall include: (1) a discussion between the coach and the Player emphasizing how the Player is affecting his team; and (2) missing time from a game; or (3) in the case of a player on the Varsity Squad, playing on the Junior Varsity Squad for a week; or (4) any other discipline the coach believes is necessary and proper.

Practice and Preparation

10. Coaches

a. Each Division shall have one Head Coach and as many qualified Assistant Coaches as he, the Executive Board, and the Director deem necessary to run the Program.

b. The Director of Football Operations, shall choose all Head Coaches and Assistant Coaches with approval from the Executive Board. All coaches will serve at the pleasure of both the Director and the Executive Board.
c. Head Coaches will be chosen based on factors such as:

i. The candidate's acceptance of the terms in this document;

ii. The respect that the candidate has from his team and their parents;

iii. If a returning coach, the progress his teams have made under his guidance in previous years;

iv. The length of service that the coach has rendered to the Program.

d. In respect of younger coaches, more experienced coaches shall act as a mentor to develop the coaching skills, maturity level, and knowledge of the game of the younger coaches.
e. Coaches may have a written practice plan that is based on time per task.
f. To ensure continuity and quality, Coaches shall teach uniform methods of blocking, tackling, and ball handling throughout the Program. They may devise such teaching techniques to teach these skills based on the ages and skill levels of the teams they coach.
g. Coaches shall at all times be positive role models for their players. Obscene language, gestures, threats, and other negative techniques will not be used or be tolerated. Coaches shall use positive reinforcement, encouragement, competition, repetition, and other motivational techniques to inspire their players to play their best.
h. To ensure players receive the minimum number of plays on the Junior Varsity level, each team shall have a person keep track of the number of plays that each player has accumulated.

11. Off-season Preparation and Practice

a. The Coaches shall attend the coaching clinics run by the Livingston High School Head Coach, barring sickness, exigent circumstance, or significant family event.

b. The Coaches will work with the Board, the Director, and the Livingston High School coaching staff to develop an optional off-season training program for returning players when possible.

Summer Clinics

a. When possible, on periodic evenings throughout the summer, the coaches may work with the Board and the Director to develop a fun but educational clinic, which is non-contact, to enhance the football skills of the players at each level.

Pre-Season Practice

a. The Junior Lancer Pre-Season Practices shall start no earlier than thirty days before the first football game, with the intent to begin practicing on or about August 15.
b. The Board and the director shall hold a mandatory pre-season meeting for all parents.

c. As close to the start of pre-season practice as possible, the Head Coach of every level shall meet with the parents to explain and identify:

i. The Program's overall goals

ii. The overall team goals, including practice times, the overall modules of practice (warm-ups, drills, plays, classroom time), playing time, the difference between the Varsity versus the Junior Varsity levels, etc.

iii. The Program's expectations of players and parents

iv. How to make complaints/suggestions and the twenty-four hour rule

v. Volunteer opportunities for parents, including service on a committee

d. Per the West Essex League rules, pre-season practice for the C and D level teams shall be up to five days per week, including classroom time if the coaches deem it appropriate. Unless the Director approves otherwise, the A and B level teams shall practice five days per week in the pre-season, including classroom time, if the coaches deem it appropriate.
e. The primary focus of practice for (at least) the first week shall stress basic football skills, including (but not limited to): blocking; tackling; pursuit angles; ball handling; and throwing.
f. Per the West Essex League rules, once the first football game is played, teams may practice no more than four times per week, including team meetings, and including any bye week.
g. Coaches at the A and B levels shall incorporate special teams play into their practice after the first week. That includes place kicking and punting (where applicable), as well as kick coverage, as one goal of the A level is to place kick field goals and point after attempts.
h. Equipment and Fields: Coaches and players shall treat the Association's equipment with respect, and fields shall be left in the same condition in which the teams found them.
i. Coaches shall promote team unity as the primary motivating factor in all drills.

14. Parent Expectations

a. No parent shall enroll a child in this program without first reading this form. Not reading this form before enrolling your child is no excuse for not understanding it at any subsequent point.
b. Players who do not register by the final date that the Board establishes may be placed on a waiting list, and enrollment into the Program will depend on a number of factors, including whether the player is a returning player, how much of the pre-season or season has passed, and the player's ability to absorb the techniques and plays previously taught. Furthermore, late enrollees may be asked to sit out games, or may play in fewer plays, if the player has been unable to learn the techniques and plays that the Program expects all of its players to learn.
c. Collectively, the Coaches and the Board devote thousands of hours to the Program. If a Coach is working with the Program, he is doing so in pursuit of the goals in this Mission and Guideline statement. He always has the best interest of his team and his players at heart.
d. Football requires heavy physical exertion. To play their best, players must be in their best physical condition. This means parents must foster good nutrition, exercise, and rest, particularly in the off season. All levels are subject to strict weight restrictions that the league imposes. Any player above the weight limit of their respective level cannot play in games. We cannot overemphasize this point: ensure your children eat healthy and exercise throughout the year. Dieting and exercising in the few weeks before the pre-season is not sufficient to promote healthy weight control and physical conditioning, especially for players who are close to or who exceed the weight limit. In addition, for life beyond football, habits that foster good nutrition and physical fitness will reap substantial benefits for our players as they mature.

e. Parents and players are responsible for ensuring they know and meet the weight limits. The limits are:

A Level: 160 pounds/143 to carry

B Level: 133 pounds/121 to carry

C Level: 108 pounds/98 to carry

f. Before a parent brings a complaint to a coach, the Director, or the Board, the parent first should consider volunteering to help improve the Program.
g. Parents shall not, during a game or practice, or within twenty-four hours after a game or practice, attempt to discuss with any coach, or complaint about the team, the team's performance, a player, playing time, or a player's performance. After twenty-four hours, the parent may bring his or her concerns to the Director of Football Operations. The Director shall inform the President of the Board of Directors of the complaint, and they shall work with the parent, player, and coach to resolve the complaint.
h. Parents who do not abide the twenty-four hour rule may be suspended from attending the next home game.
i. The twenty-four hour rule applies to practices. Parents shall not bring a complaint to a coach immediately before, during, or immediately after any practice, or at any time when any player on the team is nearby.
j. All players are expected to attend all practices and all games, with the exception of an excused absence. Any absence from a practice or a game that is not cleared in advance with the coaching staff is an unexcused absence, regardless of the reason. Excused absences include: a significant family event (such as a wedding, baptism, funeral, the player's or the player's sibling's baptism, bar/bat mitzvah, etc.), injury, illness that would prevent a player from attending school, and participation in a school function that is part of the player's grade. Unexcused absences include parties, participation in games or practices for other sports, vacation, or participation in any extra-curricular school activity or club that is not being graded.
k. Persons, including parents and siblings of players, who are not on-field volunteers (coaches, chain gang, team photographer, safety committee, etc.) are not permitted on the field, on the sidelines, in the half-time meeting, or (during home games) anywhere inside the chain link fence that separates the seating section from the running track and field.
l. Spectators may not coach their children from the sideline, inasmuch as a spectator's instructions may be different from the instruction the player is receiving from his coaches or contrary to team objectives.
m. Spectators must remain off and away from the gymnastic, lacrosse, and soccer equipment located adjacent to the end zones; in addition, they may not enter on the field at any time during a game, halftime, or between games.
n. The Board shall post important dates and information on the Association's website, located at
o. Coaches, the Director of Football Operations, and the Board shall keep Parents informed of league and team activities by e-mail.

p. Parents shall return the Association's equipment at the end of the season, washed, and in the manner the Association requests. The purpose for returning the equipment is to help control replacement costs and to ensure that the helmets and pads can be inspected for wear. In respect of the helmets, their timely return is essential so that they can undergo reconditioning, inspection, and certification. Players will forfeit their security deposit if their equipment and uniforms are not returned at the place and time that the Board establishes.

q. No player, parent, or spectator with whom a player is associated shall use obscene, harsh, or derogatory language, or language that reflects poor sportsmanship, heckling, or mocking of any (those associated with the Program or an opposing team) coach, player, cheerleader, official, or league or Program volunteer, or any other person during pre-game, a game, or post-game activities. Parents or other spectators who do not abide this rule will be asked to leave the field. Players who violate this rule will face internal team discipline, including possible removal from the Program without refund. The parent of a player shall be responsible for any fines levied by the league due to the conduct of a player, a player's parent, or a spectator associated with a player; if the Program pays the fine, the parents of the player shall reimburse the Program for the amount of the fine.