What are the differences between JDL Football on other football programs such as Pop Warner?
JDL Football is an attractive alternative to other football programs because it offers
- full participation for every player--ie no minimum play players,
- balanced competition between teams and between opposing players,
- a program that focuses on fundamentals and skill development for every player,
- a program that allows every player to experience all aspects of the game,
- a program in which coaches are mentors and have no stake in the outcome of games,
- a program free of travel commitments,
- a program without demanding practice schedules.
JDL Football refers to a unique coaching assignment as a fundamental element of the program. Can you describe the role of the coach in JDL Football that makes it unique?
The coaches assigned to a JDL Football division work with all players in that division during practices and games. Coaches also play key roles in creating the two competing teams for each week of the season. Competing teams in JDL Football are formed by splitting the 32 players in the division into two 16-player teams in a manner that ensures competitive balance between the two teams. A computer application program is used to facilitate player assignments. During the game, there is an offensive coach on the field during play. That coach works with the offensive units of each competing team. Similarly there is a defensive coach on the field who works with the defensive units of each competing team. The two on-field coaches do not compete against each other. Instead they work together to provide instruction and ensure proper alignments. If necessary they make adjustments in position assignments to avoid gross mismatches between opposing players. As a result the coaches have no stake in the outcome of the game—an essential factor in the JDL Football concept.
Why do JDL Football divisions have 32-player limit?
JDL Football divisions are limited in size in order to maximize playing time for every player. On game day, the 32 players in a division are split into two 16-player teams. With 16 players on each team there are only 5 players waiting to play. JDL Football rules require that each player must start either on offense of defense in each half of the game. This implementation guarantees that every player will have the opportunity to play in at least two and often three of the four game segments (first half offense, first half defense, second half offense and second half defense.) Limiting the size of the division also ensures that players will have the opportunity to play two or more games at most of the football positions.
How do you ensure that players get a chance to play multiple positions?
Learning to play a variety of positions is a fundamental tenet of JDL Football and it is not something that is left to chance. A special computer application program (“Game Day Roster” software) is used to assign players to position for each week’s game. In addition to assigning players to teams and positions, the computer program keeps track of the positions played by each player during the season and provides that metric to the coaches and the league commissioner.
What is the purpose of the “Game Day Roster” software that JDL Football provides?
The special JDL Football “Game Day Roster” software serves several purposes. It is used to assign players to the two competing teams each week in a manner that produces two competitively balanced teams. Second it ensures that every player is having an opportunity to play multiple positions. Coaches evaluate each player in the division in the first two weeks of the season and feed those evaluations into the Game Day Roster software program. The coaches select competitively balanced offensive backfields and centers for the week’s game and feeds that into the software program. The program then assigns the remaining players to positions on the two teams, again striving for competitively balanced teams and competitively balanced match-ups by positions.
On what basis are players assigned to a particular division?
The league commissioner assigns players to divisions based on several considerations—the primary consideration is the player’s age/grade. A player’s weight may be a factor but is not nearly as compelling as age/grade. Heavier players are not forced to play in older divisions just because the may weigh more than players their own age. Experience, maturity, aggressiveness and skill level are considered in placing players whose weight is lighter or heavier than what is typical for the age. Mismatches in age and maturity levels are far more significant than weight mismatches within an age group and should be avoided. Ideally, to ensure a positive experience, players in a division should be within a year of the same age if at all possible. Age spreads of three years or more are discouraged. The main objective is that players be placed in a division such that all players have a safe and positive sports experience.
More Frequently Asked Questions
Are there hard and fast age and weight limits for JDL Football divisions?
No there are no inflexible age or weight limits applied in placing a player in a JDL Football division. Instead, JDL Football is structured as an age based program, meaning that players are grouped in divisions based primarily on approximate chronological age (although sometimes on grade) with weight a secondary consideration. Skill level and experience are also considered, as deemed appropriate by the league commissioner, in placing players in divisions. The league commissioner assigns players to divisions based on these several considerations.
Do JDL Football leagues compete against each other?
No JDL Football leagues do not play against each other. All games are intra-divisional match-ups within the local organization. However, if a local organization has multiple divisions in the same age/weight group, scrimmages and games between those divisions are permitted.
Are there any post-season playoffs in JDL Football?
No. There are no sanctioned JDL Football post-season playoffs—a concept that pits one team from one organization against a team from another organization. Since a single JDL team only exists for any given week of the season, it is not possible to identify individual JDL teams for post-season playoff consideration. Furthermore, roster control--the number of players in the division and player composition— is unique for a local division. In addition, in the context of JDL Football, playing time is predicated on a limited size roster—no more than 16 players per team. With 16 players on a team, all players experience abundant playing time. Competing one division against another would reduce playing time for all players significantly. In short, playoffs are not compatible with the JDL Football structure or JDL Football objectives.
How does JDL Football Inc. cover operating expenses?
JDL Football Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation. Licensing fees and donations are used to cover operating expenses. The primary expenses for JDL Football Inc. are website design, hosting and support, software support, documentation preparation and up-date.
Can girls play JDL Football?
Yes JDL Football welcomes girls who want to play football and several have played over the past few years, typically in the 8-year old age group. In some cases, girls have an advantage over boys in motor skills at the younger ages.
My son is 13-years old and weighs 248 pounds. Can he play JDL Football?
Yes he can--assuming your local JDL Football league has a middle school age division. He would be in a JDL Football middle school age division which has unlimited weight provisions.
What is the minimum age for players in JDL Football?
There are no firm minimum age requirements in JDL Football. However, experience has shown that very young players, i.e. five years old or younger may have difficulty dealing with the complexities and challenges organized football presents. It really depends on the individual player’s physical, mental and emotional maturity and if the local JDL Football league has a 5-year old division.
Does JDL Football Inc. provide equipment for players?
JDL Football Inc does not provide equipment for players. The local JDL Football leagues must outfit their players. All equipment must be NOCSAE approved.
If our local youth group signs up with JDL Football Inc. what do we get for the annual membership fee?
When You Register as a JDL Football League your organization is provided with all the tools and resources needed to run a successful JDL Football league including
- The JDL Football Operations Manual
- JDL Football Coaches Guide and Drill Manual
- JDL Football practice plan templates for the entire season
- JDL Football Coaches Tutorials
- JDL Football Proprietary Game Day Roster Software
- JDL Football Newsletter sample
- JDL Football Coaches’ Corner communiqué sample
- JDL Football Player Registration Forms
- NYSA Coaches and Parents Codes of Conduct
- On-line Support from JDL Football Inc.
In addition, all JDL Football organizations become affiliates of USA Football with access to USA Football resources at discounted rates