Inside Pop Warner Magazine (Summer 2018)

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Summer 2018





4 Letter from Jon Butler 7 Celebrating 90 Seasons 15 Increase Presence of Athletic Trainers Go4Ellis

16 Six Ways for Exciting Fundraisers Dynamic Drinkware

34 Safely Stretch into Fun Pastry - Dance Sneakers

38 Q&A: Denise Delorenzo Head Coach of the Santee Ravens

42 In Defense of Football 44 Shoulder Tackling Fundamentals

18 All-American Scholar Weekend 46 Raising the Flag 58th Annual Banquet in Orlando 48 The Key to Hydration Gatorade 29 Medical Adisory Committee Working to Enhance Safety 50 Improving Brain Health Brain Armor 30 Q&A: Jason and Devin McCourty 32 #RebelAgainstBullying Spirit Rebel Athletic


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No one likes to see the summer go, but we’re excited to have kicked off something special this month: THE 90TH SEASON OF POP WARNER FOOTBALL The program started in 1929 when business owners in Northeast Philadelphia asked respected local athlete Joseph Tomlin to help them stop bored and mischievous teens from throwing rocks and breaking windows in buildings throughout the neighborhood. The solution? He put a football in their hands and got them on to a field to play this great game. What Mr. Tomlin started those many years ago continues to flourish today as the nation’s oldest youth football organization. Since that time, the Pop Warner Little Scholars organization has grown nationally and in how we benefit young people. We added

cheer and dance, strengthened our emphasis on academics and have helped evolve the sport with a number of rule changes aimed at enhancing player safety. In this issue of our new digital magazine you will read about lots of exciting news from across the country. While football has certainly taken its share of hits, Pop Warner participation rates have remained steady for the past five years. We think our impassioned approach to making the game safer and better for young people is part of the reason.

Some of our recent highlights include: xpanded USA Football’s Rookie Tackle this year by offering it to any association interested E in adding the bridge approach between flag and 11v11 tackle. ndorsed USA Football’s American Development Model (ADM), the new framework for E player development originally introduced by the US Olympic Committee and USA Hockey. Honored more All-American Scholars to our program as 5,500 boys and girls were recognized for their academic accomplishments. You can read more about the Scholars Weekend in the magazine.

We think the best is yet to come and we will continue to work with you to make the entire Pop Warner experience as good as it can be.

Jon Butler

Executive Director Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. 4 / INSIDE Pop Warner



When your family is protected, we all win. At Nationwide®, our number one goal is being there for our members. That’s why we have your back when it comes to protecting what’s most important, like: The car you drive your athletes in to every practice The RV you use for that weekend tournament Join us as we team up with Pop Warner to promote youth safety, especially the importance of concussion awareness and teen driving.

To learn more about a special discount for Pop Warner members and to get information about youth safety, visit or call 1-888-231-3614.

Nationwide Insurance has made a financial contribution to this organization in return for the opportunity to market products and services to its members or customers.


Products underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Affiliated Companies. Home Office: Columbus, OH 43215. Subject to underwriting guidelines, review, and approval. Products and discounts not available to all persons in all states. Nationwide and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2018 NationwidePop AFR-0261AO.2 (02/16) 7143287 INSIDE Warner



90 YEARS THIS SEASON! Click to learn more and watch the video

Pop Warner will be kicking off its 90th football season this September. To mark the milestone, the organization is partnering with a number of NFL franchises to honor youth football in stadiums across the country. Several NFL teams will host Pop Warner scrimmages during halftime, share a video tribute, conduct pre-game recognitions and celebrate Pop Warner on social media. “Like the game itself, Pop Warner embodies a spirit of innovation,” said Scott Hallenbeck, CEO of USA Football. “Its forward thinking encompasses USA Football coach certification, smarter practice guidelines and embracing our American Development Model for greater physical literacy and skill development. We’re inspired to stand with Pop Warner’s leadership and will continue to serve the players and families of Pop Warner programs for another 90 years.” Amid the sport’s evolution over the past 90 years, Pop Warner’s mission has remained the same: to shape well-rounded student athletes who excel on the field and in the classroom. “Pop Warner football has been a staple for millions of young people from inner-city neighborhoods, suburban towns and rural communities across the country for 90 years,” said Jon Butler, Pop Warner Little Scholars’ executive director. “Thanks to the commitment of thousands of volunteers, young people have not only developed athletic skills and competed in a great sport, but they learned important life lessons and that’s what we’re most proud of. We look forward to continuing our mission to en able young people to benefit from participating in team sports and activities in a structured environment.” Pop Warner has worked with millions of young athletes over the past 90 years and has always invested in their success during Pop Warner and beyond. As part of its dedication to academic performance, Pop Warner recognizes a group of AllAmerican Scholars – the most academically accomplished student-athletes – who earn a 96% GPA or higher. The organization also gives out approximately $100,000 per year in scholarships. INSIDE Pop Warner / 7

A 90-Year Journey “Pop Warner has demonstrated a genuine passion for helping young people grow through the game of football,” said National Council of Youth Sports Executive Director Wayne B. Moss. “The organization has been in the forefront of providing best practices and policies that help lead to the success of young athletes both on and off the playing field.” It’s incredible to see how far the organization has come since its inception. It has grown from a small, four-team Conference to an organization with over 325,000 participants. Here’s a look at Pop Warner’s incredible journey over the past 90 years.

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1929 Plagued by teenagers hurling rocks through their windows, building owners in Northeast Philadelphia called on Joseph J. Tomlin to help solve the problem. Tomlin, an athlete who had excelled in sports in high school and college, suggested the building owners fund an athletic program designed to keep the teens occupied and out of trouble. The owners agreed and Tomlin set up a fourteam Junior Football Conference in the fall.

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1934 Glenn Scobie “Pop” Warner spoke at the spring clinic for JFC teams and by popular acclaim, the fledgling youth program was renamed the Pop Warner Conference.

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1959 Tomlin’s dream became a reality when Pop Warner Little Scholars was officially incorporated as a national non-profit organization. The name was selected to underscore the basic concept of Pop Warner - that the classroom is just as important as the playing field.

197 Pop Warner introduced cheerleading. The girls loved it and this new branch of Pop Warner grew rapidly.


1983 In response to many requests, a flag football program was initiated. Originally designed for teams on a tight budget, this sport has become an excellent training ground for tackle leagues.

2012 As part of continued efforts to provide the safest playing environment for young athletes, Pop Warner becomes the first youth football organization to limit contact during practices.

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2018 Pop Warner and USA Football join forces to pilot a Rookie Tackle program. Rookie Tackle is a transitional program between Flag Football and Mitey Mites that has modified rules of based on player development.

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Present Day There are over 325,000 boys and girls, ages 5-16, participating in Pop Warner programs in the United States. Teams in Mexico, Japan and other countries have also joined the “Pop Warner family.�

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40 Locations Nationwide • Visit to learn more. 14 / INSIDE Pop Warner

*Where available

Pop Warner Little Scholars and Go4Ellis Launch Pilot Program To


Pop Warner Little Scholars, the nation’s oldest youth football, cheer and dance organization, and Go4Ellis, an online platform that connects athletic trainers with sports event operators, announced a partnership for the 2018 season. Kicking off with a pilot program in Pennsylvania and Florida, the partnership is designed to increase the percentage of Pop Warner practices and games that have certified athletic trainers on-site to tend to young athletes.

Association (NATA) and committed to ensuring all athletic events are covered by a licensed athletic trainer. “We’re looking forward to launching the pilot program in partnership with an organization that’s as established and influential as Pop Warner,” said Andrew Hayes, CEO of Go4Ellis. “This is an exciting opportunity for us to contribute to Pop Warner’s mission of increasing player safety and emphasizing competition in a fun, structured environment.”

“Because we are so focused on looking for every opportunity to enhance safety, we are extremely excited about this important partnership,” said Jon Butler, executive director of Pop Warner Little Scholars. “Go4Ellis is a leader in player safety and that was very important to us as we looked to work with an organization that shares our mission, values and commitment to athletes.” Pop Warner has led the way when it comes to instituting player safety measures for young athletes, and partnering with Go4Ellis is another step towards making youth sports safer than ever before. Go4Ellis is the official per diem application of the National Athletic Trainers’

About Go4Ellis The mission of Go4Ellis is to protect athletes everywhere by making it possible to get Athletic Trainers on sidelines everywhere. The Go4Ellis platform connects Athletic Trainers with teams and organizations that need Athletic Trainers for games, practices, camps and tournaments. Athletic Trainers set up a profile; including licensure, credentials and proof of liability insurance. Event operators post work opportunities, set their own pay rates and the platform handles all the paperwork. Go4Ellis is the official per diem platform of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. For more information visit INSIDE Pop Warner / 15

Six Easy Ways to Excite Fans with your Next Pop Warner Fundraiser Fundraising can be a chore. Like laundry, you don’t really want to do it, but you have to before every season. So how do you keep players and their families excited about participating and fans in your community committed to supporting your team year-after-year? Here are six super easy ways:







Start with Motivating Your Players Incentives likes gift cards and gadgets can generate enthusiasm to sell on the individual level, but also consider low cost team-based incentives like getting to “slime the coach” if your team reaches their fundraising goal. Extend Your Reach with Social Media - You are on Facebook pretty much every day, right? So is everyone else. So be sure your promoting your fundraisers on social media and include your fundraising goal and what you are raising money for to have the most impact on your followers. And if possible, link friends and family to an online store where they can show their support no matter where they live.

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Offer a Product that Stands Out – Candy bars and cookie dough are popular fundraisers, but that means your community has been there and done that. So call an audible and do something unique and meaningful like a product that can be customized with your team logo or photo. Skip the Department Store Catalogs - Offering a million different items through a catalog fundraiser may seem like a good idea, because variety, right? But what if your supporters want to see a sample before purchasing? Instead, choose a fundraiser featuring a defined, quality product that you can sample for your supporters. It’s much easier to show what makes a product great, than talk about it. And with fewer options to choose from, each sale will go by quicker!

Don’t Fundraise for the Entire Season - You may think that the longer you run your fundraiser, the more profit you’ll make. But this isn’t usually the case. Instead, if you set a short timeframe, like 2-3 weeks, and a fundraising goal, you’re creating a sense of urgency and purpose that encourages players to sell and supporters to buy before it’s too late. Sell Less. Make More. - Selling items with a low price point may appeal to supporters, but keep in mind, it will take more sales to reach your fundraising goal. So shoot for selling something of quality and value, like an item supporters can’t get at the local big-box retailer.

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In addition to honoring its scholars, Pop Warner also presented professional athletes and a leading neurosurgeon with awards for inspiring today’s generation of young athletes. The annual All-American Scholars Weekend is always one of the best events of the year – and this year was certainly no exception. The weekend celebrated Pop Warner student-athletes who earned All-American Scholar status by achieving a 96% GPA or higher. There were more than 5,000 student athletes who qualified as All American Scholars in 2018. INSIDE Pop Warner / 19

Fred Weary Former Offensive Line Houston Texans

The Houston Texans were presented with the NFL Team of the Year Award, given annually to the team that has demonstrated commitment and support of Pop Warner both locally and nationally. Texans ambassador and former OL Fred Weary accepted the award on their behalf.

“When it came time to choose our 2018 NFL Team of the Year, we couldn’t think of a more deserving team” said Butler. “Not only have the Texans created an outstanding youth football program that gives thousands of children the opportunity to play football, their philanthropic initiatives following Hurricane Harvey were truly incredible. It’s hard to imagine the devastation felt throughout Houston, but the way that the Texans came together to support their city in its time of need is something that should be recognized.” 20 / INSIDE Pop Warner

Throughout the weekend’s Scholar Tribute events, Pop Warner athletes heard from University of Central Florida student-athletes about the importance of balancing the demands of academics and athletics. Austin Camden and Bailey Granier from the undefeated UCF football team, Tolulope Omokore and Nyala Shuler from the women’s basketball team and Jordyn Young from the cheerleading squad told their stories and paid tribute to the Pop Warner’s young athletes. In addition to recognizing its scholars, awards were also presented to prominent leaders in professional sports that have demonstrated outstanding commitment to athletics, education, community and our nation’s youth.

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Gerald McCoy is Pop Warner’s first ever two-time Inspiration to Youth Award recipient. The award, which he also won in 2012, is presented to an individual who has inspired the youth of today to become great achievers of tomorrow.

After graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Human Relations, McCoy was drafted third overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2010 NFL Draft and has been a leader on the team ever since. The defensive tackle is a seven-time team captain and has been named to six consecutive Pro Bowls, earning the reputation as one of the most dominating defensive linemen in the game. McCoy and his family are also dedicated to making a positive impact on today’s youth – especially children from single-parent families. Annually, he and his wife donate hundreds of tickets to local charitable groups, surprise dozens of underprivileged families with holiday gifts, support fundraising efforts for the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, and sponsor children at youth football camps to teach the fundamentals, teamwork and discipline needed to succeed at the highest level of the sport.

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Mirai Nagasu accepted the Female Achieve-

ment Award, which is given to a woman who has demonstrated remarkable strength of character and leadership in attaining achievements in her life that inspire others. While competing in her second Winter Olympics in 2018, Nagasu became the first American female figure skater – and third from any country – to land a triple axel at the Olympics. That outstanding performance helped earn team USA the Bronze Medal in the team figure skating event. Continuing to expand her athletic horizons, Nagasu also competed on season 26 of Dancing with the Stars with partner Alan Bersten.

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Tommy Bohanon

Former Pop Warner athlete accepted the Humanitarian Award, given to individuals who set a positive example for today’s youth by accomplishing both outstanding athletic achievements and philanthropic initiatives. Shortly after graduating from Wake Forest with a degree in Communication, Bohanon was drafted to the New York Jets as a fullback where he spent four years of his career. After getting cut in 2016, Bohanon began working for his dad’s contracting business to make money, but spent most of his free time training in order to pursue his dreams of making it back into the NFL. His hard work paid off and Bohanon signed to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017. In his short time with the Jaguars, Bohanon has quickly proven himself to be a great team leader – both on and off the field. Through his organization, The Tommy Bohanon Foundation, he has awarded scholarships to deserving high school athletes and established a free youth football camp designed to grow the game of football by expanding the kids’ love and knowledge of the game.

Dr. Julian Bailes, M.D. accepted the Gold Football Award,

presented to an individual or group with a distinguished record of service to youth, community, and humanity. It was created to emulate the award given by the PALO Club for the most outstanding football player on the West Coast, which is named for “Pop” Warner. Dr. Bailes is a widely-heralded neurosurgeon who holds positions as Chairman of Neurosurgery at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Chicago and Co-Director of the NorthShore Neurological Institute. Additionally, he’s chair of the Pop Warner Medical Advisory Committee and a former NFL team physician. As a player, parent and physician, Dr. Bailes has demonstrated a passion for the game and an appreciation for its many benefits. Through his leadership in the fields of medicine and science, Dr. Bailes has made football a safer sport for today’s youth.

Dr. Julian Bailes teamed up with award-winning actor Alec Baldwin starred in a public service announcement to educate parents, players and coaches about consussion awareness and the advanced player safety measures Pop Warner Little Scholars has implemented.

Click to learn more and watch the video

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“Our mission is to instill lifelong values of teamwork, dedication and superior work ethic into our student-athletes, and we value hard work in the classroom just as much as on the field,” said Jon Butler, Pop Warner Little Scholars’ executive director. “To see over 5,000 of our athletes achieve All-American Scholar status is truly inspiring, and it’s why we have awarded more than $1.5 million to date in college scholarships.”

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Medical Advisory Committee Working to Enhance Player Safety When sports-related concussions emerged as an area of concern nearly ten years ago Pop Warner was one of the first youth sports organizations to implement an aggressive plan to make sports safer. One of the first steps of that plan was to form an

independent Medical Advisory Committee that would advise Pop Warner on ways to enhance player safety and wellness. The committee of leading neurosurgeons, pediatricians, sports medicine professionals and researchers meets annually to discuss the latest medical research, health policy and rule changes, and to provide expert medical advice to Pop Warner leadership. At its recent meeting in Chicago in June, the committee discussed the need for more advanced, statistically sound research of CTE that appears to be lacking. The media often cites studies that come out of Boston University that elicit alarming headlines but offer a woefully incomplete and misleading analysis of the connection between concussions, CTE and youth football. The committee also discussed initiatives aimed at continuing to advance player safety.

“There are so many benefits to participating in organized sports like football,” said Julian Bailes, MD, chairman of the committee. “I played the sport my whole life and two of my children played, and I think

“I played the sport my whole life and two of my children played, and I think the game is safer than it’s ever been.” the game is safer than it’s ever been. The mission of our committee is to study the research to make sure our approach to the sport is keeping up with the science. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of it to this point but we’ll keep at it because we want to make sure the game is as safe as possible.” INSIDE Pop Warner / 29

How did you get involved with Pop Warner? We always loved football and grew up playing it outside - even in the snow during the winter. All of our friends had started playing around seven years old. Our first time attempting to sign up we were too late so my brother and I were put on the waiting list. The following year we were able to sign up in time and start with the Junior Pee Wee division.

What was the best part of playing Pop Warner with your brother?

JASON: The best part about playing Pop Warner with my brother was the fun we had while competing. I remember one year we won the state championship and Dev and I would tally every touchdown we scored. We had the schedule of games at home and after every game we would mark down who scored more. I don’t remember the exact number, but at the end of the season we had the exact same amount of touchdowns. DEVIN: The best part about playing Pop Warner with Jay was practicing before every game. We would go out in the street and go over our plays and throw the ball to each other pretending to score touchdowns.

Are either of you still in touch with any of your Pop Warner teammates? Yes, we still have some friends from our Pop Warner days. We recently hosted our 7th annual football camp in our hometown and a bunch of our former teammates and coaches from Pop Warner came out to volunteer.

How does it feel to come full circle - from playing Pop Warner to playing together on the Patriots?

JASON: It’s truly a dream come true. On the mornings of our Pop Warner games we would wake up really early and go outside and practice all of our plays and envision ourselves scoring touchdowns. At that age we talked about doing it from Pop Warner all the way up to the pros. To be doing it now is surreal and such a blessing. DEVIN: It’s surreal thinking that two kids growing up playing catch before Pop Warner games will now do the same thing for the Patriots this year. It’s been an awesome ride and I can’t wait for how much fun our family will have watching us.

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Is there anything you learned playing Pop Warner that you’ve carried with you through adulthood (and into your NFL careers)?

JASON: Work ethic and consistency are two things I learned in Pop Warner. My second year I almost quit but my mom wouldn’t let me. She told me once I started something I had to finish. I had second thoughts about playing that year because practices started August 1st and took place everyday for 2 hours. The work we had to put in every day at practice taught me what it took to be good at something. Going at it everyday showed me how consistent you have to be to get to where you want to go. DEVIN: I learned dedication in Pop Warner. I loved playing but I hated that we started in August because my birthday is August 13th. My mom told us we committed to playing and we needed to show up for our teammates and not worry about our birthday. I learned early on that when you dedicate yourself to something you have to follow through.


McCOURTY New England Patriots

Photos Courtesy of the New England Patriots/Eric J. Adler.

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Pop Warner and Rebel Athletic Challenge Teams to Showcase Their

#RebelAgainstBullying Spirit Through Social Media Video Campaign Rebel Athletic, the official uniform partner of Pop Warner, was founded on the #RebelAgainstBullying platform. Why, you might ask? The answer is simple. Many within Rebel Athletic have a personal connection to bullying and feel passionately about empowering today’s youth to lift one another up, teach them kindness and acceptance, help them celebrate the diversity of those around them, and empower them to hold themselves and their friends accountable to making a positive difference in the lives of others.

The Rebel Against Bullying Movement is making an impact around the globe through various events, testimonies, and documentaries. In partnership with Pop Warner, Rebel Athletic is expanding its reach by raising awareness on this issue through a video campaign where Pop Warner teams, cheer and football alike, are encouraged to create and submit a video promoting their team’s anti-bullying message.



The Rebel Against Bullying Movement was created with the goal to empower YOU to be a Rebel; giving it all you’ve got in the face of challenges, isolation, and adversity while helping others long the way. And your video just might be featured on the big screen at the Pop Warner Nationals Cheer & Dance Championships, as well as across Pop Warner and Rebel Athletic social media channels.

During the month of September, we want you and your team on video. Whether you’re in football or cheer and dance, we’d love to see you Rebel Against Bullying.

HERE’S WHAT TO DO: VIDEO Make a 30-second video showcasing an activity, volunteer project, or drill showing how your team is a #RebelAgainstBullying. WHAT TO INCLUDE Creativity is welcomed and encouraged. Make sure to include your team saying the following at the end of the video, “We are (team name) and we are Rebels Against Bullying!” HOW TO SUBMIT Video submissions can be uploaded to Instagram using the #RebelAgainstBullying #PopWarnerRAB AND THE WINNER IS… Pop Warner and Rebel Athletic will identify some of the best videos, then put them to a fan vote in early October for a winning video in both football and cheer and dance. Click here to learn more about our #RebelAgainstBullying campaign





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When it comes to practice, we often hear the phrase “practice makes perfect.” However, it is not just practice that leads to perfection but stretching and taking care of one’s muscles, so their body can perform when it truly counts. Most athletes do not find stretching exciting despite its benefits. Pastry has found a few ways to not only help your Little Scholar stretch safely but ways to make it fun!

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SAFETY FIRST: KNOW THE DIFFERENCE The two most common types of stretching are dynamic stretching and static stretching. They should be used together to improve flexibility. Dynamic stretching occurs when moving repeatedly through comfortable yet challenging ranges of motion. This form of stretching is best during warmups. The active movement of dynamic stretching increases blood flow, activates the central nervous system and improves range of motion. Static stretching occurs by holding a stretch for ten to thirty seconds in a comfortable yet challenging position. The body responds best to static stretching during cool down. Static stretching works as a recovery for the body by relaxing muscles and reducing blood flow.

NEVER BOUNCE IN A STATIC STRETCH By bouncing you are interrupting your body’s flow. Bouncing forces your muscles to release and contract too quickly. Simply put, you are shortening the muscles you are trying to lengthen. More importantly, bouncing can lead to injury and immobility.

IF IT HURTS, STOP! When stretching it is important to listen to your body. If you are in major pain or feeling unusual sensations, come out of the stretch. Stretching, when done correctly, should be comfortable yet challenging but never painful.

DON’T FORGET TO BREATH Let it go, let it flow. Your body needs the oxygen when you are stretching. Do not hold your breath while stretching.

FREQUENCY LEADS TO FLEXIBILITY Muscles are like rubber bands. The more you stretch them, the more flexible they are. If you only stretch during practice your muscles will not retain the flexibility training. For optimal results, keep a consistent stretching schedule regardless of when practice occurs.

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Increasing flexibility leads to a lower chance of injury in addition to being a stronger athlete with increased agility. Practice may not always make perfect but flexibility will help you get you there!

WAYS TO MAKE STRETCHING FUN HAVE A STRETCHING ROUTINE Create a full body stretching routine that is done at each practice or during each stretching session. Having a set routine can make it easier for athletes to remember the stretches so they can do them when alone outside of practice.

STRETCH TO A BEAT Play fun and upbeat music while stretching. Music can improve the mood and allow athletes to have fun while stretching. Try incorporating the Little Scholars’ favorite songs into the playlist to really bring some fun to stretching.

HAVE FUN IN GROUPS Stretching is always fun in parties larger than one. Make stretching at home a family affair by having everyone join in.

BRING IN REINFORCEMENTS That is foam reinforcements. Adding a foam roller to the stretching routine is a good way to switch up stretching to keep it fun and fresh. Foam rollers help reduce injuries and exercise-related soreness. Try finding a foam roller in your athlete’s favorite color.

ENJOY THE PROCESS Take progress photos while stretching and after a few months, look at them to see how you have improved.

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Q&A DENISE DELORENZO Head Coach of the Santee Ravens

Denise DeLorenzo is a cheer mom and head coach of the Santee Ravens cheerleading squad in Santee, California. She sat down with us to talk about her experience as a Pop Warner coach and what it’s like to share these memories with her daughters.

Why did you get involved with Pop Warner? When my oldest daughter was in the 3rd grade, she was cheering for Young Champions but she had a friend who was cheering for Pop Warner and decided that she wanted to make the switch. I became a coach as a way to spend some quality time with her.

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What do you want to accomplish as a coach? More than anything, I want to be a positive role model for the girls on my team. These girls spend a lot of their time with me at practices, games and competitions, so it has always been important for me to give them helpful advice, lead them down the right path and inspire them to make good life choices. Also, I really want cheerleaders to be taken more seriously as athletes. Often underestimated is the the strength, stamina and flexibility that it takes to be a competitive cheerleader. I wanted to build up their confidence and help these girls recognize their incredible potential. Tell us what a cheer practice looks like. All of our practices start with a team meeting to go over the plan for that day’s practice. After that, I have the girls do some warm ups and conditioning in order to build up and maintain their strength and stamina. What we do during the bulk of practice depends on the time of the season. At the beginning of the season I’m usually teaching them the basics, but once we get into the swing of football season the girls are focused on learning stunts for their competition routines. I spend a lot of time perfecting the competition routines because with each girl comes a different skill set, so I like to asses the girls during practice and create routines that highlight each of them. Then at the end of each practice we have them do some stretching and conduct an end of practice meeting to go over anything that’s upcoming.

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What is the most rewarding part of coaching your team? There are a lot of things that I love about coaching for Pop Warner. I guess I would say that my favorite part is when I see the girls go on to cheer for their high school team and then come back to help out as student demonstrators or assistant coaches because it means they enjoyed their experience enough to come back and stay involved. I also love watching the girls have fun, learn and grow. As a coach I’m able to see how much they grow - both as athletes and as young women - in just a few short months. It’s really inspiring. What do you think your team members like the most about cheering for Pop Warner? My oldest daughter has said that her favorite part was having the high school girls there as student demonstrators. The younger girls like having role models that they can look up to. I would also say that in general, the girls love doing something new, hanging out with their friends and making new friends. Lastly, they really enjoy seeing success as part of a team. Practice can get really hard - especially as we get closer to competition season - but once they start competing and nail their routines, they all get excited and feel a sense of accomplishment. Seeing that will never get old.

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In 2009, the nation began to see an epidemic of reported concussions in contact sports and media reports of potential health impacts. Almost immediately, concern took hold and thousands of parents – consumed by fear – pulled their children from contact sports, including tackle football. The results were swift at the time. More kids began specializing in a single sport year round or forgoing sports altogether. The concussion scare led to a decline in participation in tackle football. But in response to the concussion fears Pop Warner introduced player safety measures and implemented major rule changes. Enrollment steadied and, most importantly, better protections were put in place for youth athletes.

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But today youth football is met with a fervent and coordinated effort to eliminate the sport. The movement is led by a core group of researchers and advocates who have spent significantly on aggressive PR efforts, lobbying and what many in the medical community describe as biased studies. The effort pushes politicians to propose legislation banning the game, supports plaintiffs’ law suits against governing bodies and most recently pushes doctors to refuse medical clearance for aspiring youth football players. Guided by the goal to give youth athletes as safe an environment as possible, Pop Warner has sought input from some of the nation’s leading medical researchers, through its medical advisory committee and beyond. The message has been clear:

the evidence simply does not match the rhetoric around issues like CTE. “Pop Warner will follow the science,” said executive director Jon Butler. “If clear evidence calls for more dramatic changes we will match that science with enhanced safety measures. The Pop Warner medical advisory committee tells us that the evidence just doesn’t exist, despite dramatic claims to the contrary.” The bottom line: Parents and kids should be free to choose the sport they want. Keep them active, engaged and part of a community. Look for facts, not fear. We don’t believe media and elected officials should limit opportunity. Playing or not playing is a personal decision made by the player and his or her family.

WHY GET CERTIFIED? USA Football empowers coaches at all levels to develop their coaching skills through easy-to-access certification opportunities and training resources. Heads Up Football gives youth league coaches access to the most comprehensive and widely endorsed player safety program in the nation.

1 FURTHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT All USA Football certifications are created with leading football and medical experts. Our courses are focused on providing the right content to make you a better coach and create a safer experience for your youth athletes.

2 RECEIVE INSTRUCTION FROM NFL EXPERTS In addition to important health and safety training, receive a solid foundation to better, safer contact techniques. The Heads Up Football program features instruction from Rocky Seto, former Seattle Seahawks assistant coach, and Scott Peters, former NFL offensive lineman and contact expert.

3 ACCESS ADVANCED TECHNIQUES Courses features advanced techniques and in-game and in-practice examples from NFL, college, and top high school teams across the nation – allowing you to learn from the best.

4 IT’S EASY-TO-ACCESS New for 2018, coaches are able to get certified in a way that is easiest for them. 1) Complete your entire certification online at OR 2) Attend an in-person clinic, where you will receive classroom and on-field instruction. After you complete the clinic, simply finish the certification quiz to become certified.

Lead the change in your organization – become certified today. Learn more at

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TACKLINGFUNDAMENTALS BREAKDOWN The foundational starting point for all movement and drills.

SWOOP Technique for coming to balance prior to contact.

NEAR FOOT Correct body posture at moment of impact for safer tackling. Head and eyes are up using the front of shoulder as point of contact.

UPPERCUTS With head to the side and out of contact, throw double uppercuts and grab cloth on the back of jersey to secure the tackle.

SHOOT Explode the hips to generate power and create an ascending tackle.

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RAISINGTHEFLAG When it comes to football, there are many ways to enjoy the game. As an organization committed to delivering safer and more structured approaches to playing football, Pop Warner has offered both Flag and Tackle since the early 1980s - and both programs are extremely popular among young athletes.

While Tackle has an element that can’t be replicated in Flag, so many of the great aspects remain the same: speed, teamwork, moving the ball upfield, digging in and making that goal line stand in the fourth quarter.

Some kids have a great experience sticking with Flag and never transitioning to Tackle, but for many, Flag is considered an entry point into the sport and serves as a great introduction to football. To that end, Pop Warner has embraced USA Football’s American Development Model (ADM), which helps with the development of both players and coaches by providing a pathway, moving from Flag to Rookie Tackle to 11-on-11 Tackle. The ADM teaches players the fundamentals and allows kids to experience football at their own pace.

Since its inception, Flag has been an amazing area of growth for Pop Warner and the response from both parents and young athletes has been overwhelmingly positive. The program continues to grow exponentially and there are nearly 200 programs running Flag and more than 8,400 players. The young players love learning about football, teamwork and dedication and their parents take comfort in the lack of psychical contact. So whether your child wants a contact-free introduction to football or knows they want to limit their football career to Flag, we encourage them to go for it!

But without tackling or blocking, people ask if Flag is really football. We say, absolutely.

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HYDRATION: THEAthlete’s ATHLETE’S KEY Hydration: The Key to TO Safety & Performance SAFETY & PERFORMANCE IF YOU FEEL WEAK, LIGHTHEADED, DIZZY OR NAUSEOUS – TELL YOUR COACH. YOU MAY BE DEHYDRATED AND NEED TO TAKE A BREAK TO DRINK AND COOL DOWN. Moving your Sweating keepswill youshut cooldown & Moving your muscles muscles produces heat! Overheating produces heat! Overheating safe. But you need to drink your muscles and your performance. Sweating keeps you cool to will shut down your muscles replace that sweat & perform and safe, but you need to drink to replace that sweat and perform & your performance. at your best! at your best! HOW TO STAY HYDRATED

• Drink fluids throughout the day and watch your urine color. Light color like lemonade(not clear) is your goal. • Try to limit drinks with high amounts of caffeine and sugar, like soda and energy drinks (a little is OK, a lot is not!)

Drink regularly throughout practices and games. Take advantage of all the breaks your coach gives you.

• If you are having trouble staying hydrated during practices or games, try this activity to estimate how much to drink: Your weight before practice ________


Muscle power


Mental function

Motor skills

Fluid absorption

Heat tolerance

Sip fluid often during exercise - don’t guzzle all at once. Sloshing fluid in your stomach doesn’t do you any good!

Your weight after practice _________ Subtract them = ________ Multiply by 16 oz. = ________ Next practice add this much fluid. For example, if you lost 2 lbs, add a 32 oz. bottle of Gatorade or G2.


Both will help you stay hydrated. A sports drink also has sodium, which helps the water in your drink stay in your blood. Notice your sweat tastes salty? That’s the sodium you are losing with water. Sports drinks also give you energy from carbohydrate.

At a certain point, dehydration can increase your risk of heat illness and decrease your performance by affecting muscle function and taking you off the field. Stay safe, stay in the game, stay hydrated. The information in this document is grounded in sports nutrition science, translated for athletes.

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IMPROVING BRAIN HEALTH IN THE CLASSROOM AND ON EVERY FIELD OF PLAY Brain health is an important issue. Awareness has amplified over the last decade leading to substantial research and big changes to youth and adult programs to better address player health and safety. All growing brains need proper nutrition to optimize cognitive growth and development. The brain grows and develops at its greatest rate at the beginning of life, reaching approximately 90% of adult volume by age 6. The human brain is made up of nearly 60% fat. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are obtained through diet, are particularly important for brain structure and maturity during both fetal development and throughout adolescence because they are the predominant fatty acids in the brain. Cognitive and behavioral research in children indicates supplementation with Omega-3 (particularly DHA) shows improvements in verbal learning and memory function, along with significant reductions in behavior problems. Evidence also highlights that those who have low levels of Omega-3s are at greater risk for eye disease and depression. Furthermore Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may improve ADHD symptoms in children, and may result in enhancement of brain remodeling after head injury. * 50 / INSIDE Pop Warner

A well-rounded diet can provide a majority of the vitamins and minerals needed for proper growth, yet, most people in America have been found to be deficient in Omega-3s. Studies have observed that 97.5% of American adults, 99% of NCAA student athletes, and majority of children worldwide are deficient in these brain supporting fatty acids. Omega-3s, particularly DHA and EPA, are found predominantly in fatty marine fish. This, along with a tendency for children to be picky eaters, leaves them more susceptible to nutrient deficiencies, which puts them at risk for underdevelopment and possible complications later in life. * As part of its commitment to enhancing player health and safety, Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc., has announced an innovative partnership with Brain Armor, a nutrition company dedicated to improving cognitive health and performance on every field of play. “This partnership is another exciting step in advancing our health and safety initiatives,” said Jon Butler, executive director of Pop Warner Little Scholars. “We are constantly working to identify and implement the most current, science-driven methods to improving overall player safety. Brain Armor is a great addition to that approach.”

Jeff Olson, former Pop Warner Little Scholar and professional American football player who experienced head injuries during his career as an offensive lineman said, “I wish I knew there was such a simple way to better protect my brain while I was playing football, everyone should know this information and know there are steps you can take to better protect yourself ”. Pop Warner Little Scholars, along with other collegiate and professional sports teams around the nation have heeded the scientific evidence around brain health and have begun to educate their players on targeted nutrition requirements to protect their health. Brain Armor Omega-3+ Youth Vegan Liquid Concentrate, the official brain health supplement of Pop Warner Little Scholars, provides clinically proven age appropriate concentrations of plant-based DHA and EPA to support brain health in a naturally flavored liquid supplement. You’re never too young to learn about cognitive health.*

SUPPORTS THE PROTECTION OF YOUR BRAIN* BRAIN ARMOR is on a mission to support cognitive health and wellness on every field of play. We believe in a nutrition first approach and the proven benefit of Omega-3 healthy fats.*

YOUTH Liquid Concentrate 4oz bottle. OMEGA-3 DHA : EPA VITAMIN D VITAMIN E MCT OIL


1833mg 1000 : 500mg 1200IU 30IU 1100mg

JEFF OLSON Former professional American football who played with Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys.

“I wish I knew there was such a simple way to

better protect my brain while I was playing football, everyone should know this information and know there are steps you can take to better protect yourself”.



TONY FURJANIC Former professional American football player who played linebacker for the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins.

“I’m shocked by how simple it was to make such significant improvement in my health”.

Official Brain Supplement of the Pro Football Legends, commercial marketing arm of the NFL Alumni



These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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