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The Dukes Guide to Tackle Football Equipment
Below is a basic guideline to the equipment and gear your child will need to wear to provide him with the necessary protection he will need on the playing (and practice) field. This guide is to help you understand the equipment, what it does, and how it’s supposed to be worn.

Each Dukes tackle football player will be fitted and issued the following gear from the Dukes Equipment Manager:


  • Helmet with face mask (1)
  • Chin-strap(1)
  • Shoulder Pads (1)
  • Rib Pads (1)
  • Tailbone (1)
  • Thigh Pads (2)
  • Knee Pads(2)
  • Practice Jersey (1)
  • Practice Pants (1)
  • Game Jersey (2)
  • Game Pants (1)
  • Belt (1)


All these items are the property of the Dukes and must be maintained and return to the Equipment Manager at the end of the season to help qualify for the refund of your WorkBond.
Each player will need to provide the following personal items in order to be completely ready to take the field:
  • Football shoes with non-metallic cleats
  • Practice and game (red) socks
  • Football girdle
  • Athletic supporter
  • Protective Cup
  • Mouth guard
If any player is missing any piece of their gear come practice and game time, they will not be allowed to take the field out of regard for their own safety.


The athletic supporter (not shown) is worn to hold the protective cup in place over the groin, and to allow freedom of movement by minimizing the amount of layering around the player’s hips and buttocks. These are put on before the girdle.

The girdle looks like a pair of white shorts and has inside pockets for the hip and tailbone pads. Make sure the pockets face the inside when placing the pads and putting on the girdle. The hip and tailbone pads go in the pockets of the girdle. The girdle may also have another pocket in each leg, where the thigh pads can be placed; however, the thigh pads are more commonly placed in the pockets of the pants.  Always remove the pads prior to washing the girdle.

The hip pads are the two pads that have a very odd shape with what looks like a large round tab at one end. Place these in the side pockets of the girdle, with the round tab section going into the pocket first heading toward the bottom and the longer flatter section to the top. The top may stick out of the girdle pocket a few inches. 

The tailbone pad is the long rectangular pad. It is placed in the inside pocket in the rear of the girdle. The tailbone pad has a hard plastic section, which should be position at the top, facing outward, away from the body.

Each player is issued a pair of practice drill pants and a pair of game day pants. However, they are only issued one set of thigh pads and knee pads. The pads will need to switched back-and-forth from the practice pants to the game pants as required. Like the girdle, the pads must be removed from the pockets when you wash the pants.
Loop the belts through the belt pocket at the waistline. This process can be a little tricky. We recommend that once you get the belt threaded into the belt pocket, that you do not remove it for washing. Instead latch the belt so that it does not come out of the pants in the wash. Also when washing, tie the draw-string on the pants so they do not get tangled or come out in the wash.

The thigh pads are sort of rectangular shaped, but with rounded edges. Place these into the front pockets on the upper legs of the pants.

The knee pads are sort of egg-shaped. They go into the pocket at the bottom of the legs. Reach into the end of the leg, grab the pocket and push up the outer material. Squeeze the pad into a "C”-shape, end-to-end, to fit it into the pocket, which may have a small opening. Place the circular part of the pad down which will go over the knee-cap when the pants are worn.


The above pictures are of a pair of football pants turned inside out to show the pockets and how the pads are inserted into them.  Make sure the pants are turned right-side out when you actually insert the pads.  Once the pads are in the pockets, you can turn the pants inside-out.  The last picture shows the pants being worn over the football girdle and athletic supporter.  Note that the hip pads are supposed to come out over the top of the pants.

The player should always wear a t-shirt underneath the shoulder pads and rib-pads, even in warm weather. In cold weather, a long-sleeved t-shirt, an athletic shirt such as the ones made by Starter, Under-Armour, Nike, etc., a turtle-neck shirt, or even a snug sweatshirt (no hoodie) can be worn under the shoulder pads.

The rib pads are worn just like a vest that needs to be put on prior to putting on the shoulder pads. The player should p ut the rib pad vest over the t-shirt (before putting on the shoulder pads) and adjust the height of the vest with the straps the pads are in fact covering the player’s ribs. Use the Velcro straps in front to tighten and secure. Cross the straps in necessary. The rib pad vest should have a snug fit, but not to the point where it is too tight and uncomfortable and to the point where it interferes with breathing or movement.
The shoulder pads are put on after the rib pad vest has been put on. Until the player gets accustomed to how to put on the shoulder pads by himself, the parent will need to help out the first few times. First, pull the shoulder pads over the head onto the shoulders with the laces facing front. Then pull down the laces and secure with the sliding tightening device. Connect the straps from the back, under the arm-pits, and clip into the slots in the front.

Each player is issued one helmet. While these helmets meet all the safety requirements as mandated by Pop Warner and the State of New Jersey for safe play, these helmets are not indestructible. We ask that each player take care of his helmet and only use it for the purpose for which it was intended. The Dukes put a considerable amount of funding into providing these helmets and we want them to always be at their peak performance level and to last as long as possible.

Adjusting the chin-strap - while the player is wearing the helmet, the parent should adjust the chin-strap on  the helmet. It should be centered on the chin and pulled snug, but not to the point where it is too tight and uncomfortable. The chin-strap must be snapped at all four points for all practice drills and for all game plays.

Every new mouth-guard needs to be molded to the contours of the player’s mouth to provide proper protection for the teeth and jaw. You will need to follow these steps in your kitchen to modify the contour of the mouth-guard to match your child's mouth.ill a pan with water and heat until boiling
  • Fill a cup with cold water and have it nearby on the countertop
  • Dip the mouth-guard in boiling water, holding the strap end
  • Keep it in the boiling water for about 10 seconds, then pull it out
  • Quickly dip into the cup cold of water for no more than 3 seconds, then pull it out
  • Quickly place the mouth-guard in the player’s mouth. It will be warm, but should not burn
  • Have the player bite-down firmly on the mouth-guard and suck in the water for about 10 seconds
  • Place the mouth-guard back into the cold water to retain the new contour
  • The process can be repeated if a good comfortable fit is not achieved on the first try
Players with braces should use a mouth-guard provided by or recommended by their orthodontist that are specifically designed to accommodate the braces. These usually do not require additional molding.  The mouth-guard is secured to the helmet by looping the strap through the faceguard on the helmet. Mouth-guards are required for every play in all practice drills and games

Please follow the manufacturer's guidelines regarding the proper care and washing of uniforms:
  • Do not dry clean jerseys or pants
  • Do not use bleach
  • Do not use any fabric softener, this causes the screen printed numbers to separate from the fabric
  • Launder jerseys inside out, use high water level in machine, mild detergent, and cold or lukewarm water only.
  • Uniform may be presoaked using Biz or Whisk if needed but should be washed as soon as possible so stains don't set in.
  • It is best to hang uniform, but may be put in the dryer on "air only" setting. NO HEAT!  
    Your cooperation in the cleaning and care of the uniforms will make them last longer, and keep our teams looking GREAT!