Information for parents

Rookie Parents Tournament Survival Guide 2017 v5

Introduction

Turning up to training every Saturday is just part of the story.   All that training must lead somewhere and that somewhere is competitive football.  Unlike the local soccer leagues where there are matches every Saturday and the travel is usually within the local borough or maybe into neighboring boroughs, the teams the Chorley Bucs will be playing are scattered throughout the country.  This will make regular Saturday matches impossible so instead there is a series of tournaments – or ‘tournies’ as they are sometimes called.  These tournaments are organized very differently depending upon whether your Buc is playing Flag or Kitted Football so I will deal with them separately.

Providing the Correct Equipment

Whether your Buc is small, medium or large sized there are rules that apply for both legality and safety and failure to comply with these rules may prevent your Buc from being able to take to the field at an official event.

All teams are provided with club shirts and it is up to each player to ensure that their shirt is cleaned between tournies to ensure a smart turn out next time around.

Gum Shields are vital even in flag football.  Collisions do happen even though the sport is non contact and we will not allow any player to take to the field without an appropriate gum shield.

No pockets are allowed in sports shorts or leggings – this is to prevent fingers and thumbs accidentally being caught and bent backwards or even broken.  Due to these dangers joggers or leggings with pockets are not permitted unless the pockets are sewn up.  Several Bucs wear normal sports shorts over joggers as that is equally valid.  If you want to buy official Flag Football shorts you can purchase through the online club store at http://www.nuola.co.uk/shop/chorley-buccaneers/ . This pertains to Flag Football kit only – the Kitted Guys wear specialist padded shorts which the club will provide.

There is no need to wear American Football cleats – these are expensive and actually no better than normal football boots.  Please note however that metal or metal tipped studs are NOT permitted in competitive matches.  Only plastic or rubber studs are allowed and this is something that is likely to be enforced by the match officials.  Some locations may have artificial turf so appropriate footwear is strongly advised as normal trainers will not usually have the right amount of grip and could result in an injury for your Buccaneer.  Given that we train at Brown Edge for several weeks we should be used to that surface anyway.

Kitted players will be provided with all the necessary equipment including pads and helmets but not gum shields (for reasons of good hygiene) and they will be expected to look after that equipment subject to fair wear and tear.  I’ve witnessed multiple shirts being ripped during matches.  This is the nature of the sport so don’t worry about this, plus we have several mums (any dads out there?) who are whizzes with sewing machines so we can probably repair most damage of this nature.

All kit is recalled after the last competitive match of the year so that we can assess what needs to be replaced in time for next year.

Flag Football Tournaments

The set up has changed from year to year so we do need to be ready for anything, but what follows is what has emerged from the previous few years.

Typically the Under 17 (Junior) Flag and Under 12 (Cadet) Flag tournaments take place in the same location and the same dates as each other.  There are usually 5 or 6 league tournaments each summer running between late May and mid July. Normally they are on alternative weekends but sometimes back to back weekends.  The fixture list is often bolstered by a pre season or other friendly tournament.  In 2017 we will be attending the pre season tournament in Leicester on Sat 18th March.

In terms of locations some years there was a sinlge location for all five tournaments, sometimes in Doncaster and sometimes Birmingham.  In 2015 each of the clubs in the league hosted a tournament, so we were able to host a tournament at home, and also travelled around the country to Coventry, Studley and Leicester.  In 2017 a new Northern conference was set up and we played teams from Burnley and Leeds in Burnley Leeds and of course Chorley.  There are also friendly tournaments hosted by individual clubs, so these could be anywhere. 

Location(s) and teams for 2017 have not yet been decided so watch this space, as soon as we have news we will post them here on the website.

Getting there…

What usually happens is people make there own way in their own cars.  Coaches have been run in the past to venues further away but the club cannot afford to put them on for free.  The fee for the coach is divided between the number of people on the coach with a subsidy from the club, so the more people on the coach the cheaper it is.  In recent years we have also had a family rate to make it affordable for those with big families to travel via the coach.  Being the great club we are we will always find space to take any Buc (on a coach or in cars) who for whatever reason cannot be taken by a parent and they will be very well looked after.

In the event a coach isn't run meet times will be circulated prior to the tournament with full address and details of facilities at the tournament site.  For families unsure on directions a convoy is often arranged from a nearby  motorway services.

Surviving the Day

Typically we need to be at whatever venue we’re playing at by around 10:00am.  This gives time for people to stretch legs and the players to warm up before the first matches commence at around 11:00am.

There are often no catering facilities nearby, so this means that you need to come armed with food and drink to last the day.  You can never bring too much water because the Bucs get through an enormous quantity of it.    Water is far healthier than the fizzy sports drinks for which you pay lots of money so please think about this before splurging on large bottles of Lucozade en route to a tournie…

Most venues do not have much in the way of shelter and the English summer being what it is I’d advise carefully checking the weather forecast before deciding what to wear.  These locations are fields, frequently muddy so not a place for Jimmy Choos… as Billy Connolly famously said ”there’s no such thing as bad weather, there’s only bad clothes…”

Seriously you should bring along a change of clothes for the players regardless of the weather.

We do seem to have developed ‘Camp Buccaneers’ in the last couple of years where several parents bring along portable gazebos and the like and these are equally useful in Sunshine and Rain.

Please don’t feel the need to go running out and buying a gazebo but of much more use is a folding chair – it can be a long chair and a seat is always useful!

We are known as the best supported club in the country and although we often have to travel long miles, players and supporters always have a great day out.  Mums or Dads are not our only supporters.  

Sun Tan Lotion and lots of it… is required even when the weather is overcast.  The players are out in full sun/weather and will burn even when you don’t expect it so please lather them up thoroughly.  Equally make sure your player has warm clothes - hat, coat, tracksuit, event blankets!  The weather can go cold or the wind can pick up and players have got really cold inbetween games as they naturally cool down.

Cold Weather at Leicester Pre Season in 2015

cold t

Sunshine in 2016

sunshine

Junior and Youth Kitted Tournies and Matches

By the time your Buc is playing kitted they will be older and more independent.  Whilst they may not want you there actually our support is legendary and secretly they’ll be glad.

The U19 (Junior) Kitted team is in it's third year at the club and is the only team which plays standard matches – playing a single game either home or away.  Fixture lists have not yet been announced but when they are they will be listed on the website.

The U17 (Youth) Kitted team plays in a number of tournaments, one of which will be at home and the remainder on the road.  In previous years there have been a couple of trips to the North East of England as well as other places and usually we end up playing the likes of Chester, Burnley and Manchester.

U17 Kitted tournies are usually made up 4 teams so there’ll be 3 matches to play in a day.  So again lots and lots of water is required and you can at least ask your Buc to put sun tan lotion on even if they completely ignore you…

Most venues have changing and toilet facilities but again only a select few have any catering (we don’t for example – any volunteers to set something up and make some money for the club?).  The bottom line here is make sure you send lots of food.  There are few things in this world that can consume more food than a hungry teenager/young adult especially when they’ve been in the heat of battle…

As said above there may or may not be shelter so make sure you are prepared for anything, not least a potentially very long but highly enjoyable day.

For those of you left at home…

You can keep in touch with the latest developments at all the tournies by watching our social media streams – either on Facebook or Twitter.  Multiple parents usually post latest scores or half time and full time scores so you don’t need to ask your Buc to call home to keep you updated.

Sorry but “No Dogs”…

Unfortunately most of the places we play have a strict ‘No Dogs’ policy so even you’re tempted to bring your pet along please refrain from doing so.  This isn’t a Chorley Bucs policy but we have to respect the rules of the venues at which we are playing.

…and finally

If you come up with any handy hints that we can add to this guide then please let me know and I’ll be sure to include it in future versions.  (I’m Andy Wyatt and my email address is tubazilla@gmail.com)

Thanks for reading

Go Bucs!

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