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Spokane Youth Lacrosse  -  Player Development Philosophy
 

SYL was established, and continues to exist as a developmental league. We are developing lacrosse players, athletes, and young men and women. The board has continued to maintain this as our mission.

The primary place that this philosophy is implemented is in the playing time each player receives. Generally speaking, the league believes in equal playing time for all players. We hope to develop skills and a passion for the game that can be lost when players aren't given opportunities in game situations and in practice.

If a coach has determined his best 10 players, there may be a tendency to focus on those 10 in practice. All of the other players suffer as a result. Our young players develop at their own pace, some much slower than others.  We ask our coaches not to be the judge of talent, but to consider the effort a player puts in to the game of lacrosse.

The league wants our coaches to evaluate the time and energy put forth by every kid. First of all, expectations should be laid out clearly by the coach. If a player falls into the category of lack of effort with the answers below, has the coach ensured he understands what is expected of him?  We are the adults and must teach players not just how to play, but how to practice, and how to compete. Every player comes from a different background. Both from a skills and a maturity standpoint.

Ideally, coaches would take attendance at every practice. Do your players play other sports?  Do they show up tired?  Do they sit on the sideline with their helmet off or are they ready to play with their chinstrap buckled?  Are they excited, energetic, and ready to have fun or do they complain?  These are the things a coach must evaluate to determine playing time. Not the skill of the player. 

Each level of play has a different set of circumstances for determining how much kids play. Some guidelines are provided below.
 

7/8

Some of our 8th graders have been playing the game for 6 to 7 years. Others are brand new to the game. They pay the same amount for registration. The long time player may/will have more skill, but the new kid might be your future All-American.  Using the guidelines above the coach must determine if he will take playing time away from a player. The players know who is putting in the effort and who is not. You will build a more cohesive team if you reward the players putting the effort in and not just the ones with the skills.

From US Lacrosse LADM:

Primary Objective of Practice:

To refine technical skills and develop tactical proficiency. Practices

include regular competitive situations in progressions.  Include

competitive games that reinforce understanding, and high-repetition

game-like drills. Include free play.

 

Max Recommended Ratio (player:coach) 15:1 

Length of Sessions 90 minutes

Frequency* Up to 3x a week during an 8-14 week season

 

5/6

A 5/6 team can look a lot like a 7/8 team regarding skills on a team and individual level. Some years a 5/6 coach is working on offensive sets. Other years, however, the concentration is on basic skills, without a lot of focus on team play. The skill gap can be significant. Looking at both 7/8 philosophy and 4 and below might be necessary.

From US Lacrosse LADM:

Primary Objective of Practice:

To reinforce basic technical skills and introduce tactical

components of the game through progressions and small-

sided play  practice/ teaching games for understanding.

Include free play.

 

Max Recommended Ratio (player:coach) 12:1

Length of Sessions 60-75 minutes

Frequency* Up to 3x a week during an  8-12 week season

 

3/4

At this age the focus must be on teaching kids how to focus in practice and in games. You will have special kids that just get it. They understand how to practice and compete at an early age. Most others will take some time. Patience is a must. Teaching the kids to be ready with equipment on is vital. The skill of how to put effort forth on a playing field is as important as passing and catching. As long as kids show for practice and are not a behavioral problem, they should see as close to equal play time as possible.

From US Lacrosse LADM:

Primary Objective of Practice:

To develop a lacrosse-confident athlete with solid fundamental skills and a general understanding of basic game play and strategy.  Best delivered through small sided play, including free-play

 

Max Recommended Ratio (player:coach) 12:1

Length of Sessions 60 minutes

Frequency* Up to 3x a week, 8-12 week season

 

K/2

At this age the focus must be on teaching kids how to focus in practice and in games. You will have special kids that just get it. They understand how to practice and compete at an early age. Most others will take some time. Patience is a must. Teaching the kids to be ready with equipment on is vital. The skill of how to put effort forth on a playing field is as important as passing and catching. As long as kids show for practice and are not a behavioral problem, they should see as close to equal play time as possible.

From US Lacrosse LADM:

Primary Objective of Practice:

To develop physical literacy and introduce fundamental sport and lacrosse skills.  Achieved through stations, games, and activities.  1:1 player to ball ratio with 2:1 activities also blended in.  Include periods of free play

Max Recommended Ratio (player:coach) 10:1

Length of Sessions 45-60 minutes

Frequency* 2x a week, 8-12 week season

 

As a coach, the league asks a lot of you. The time and energy required to coach a youth team is significant.  More than any other thing, we ask that you to teach skills, reward effort, and nurture a passion for the game of lacrosse.

Remember - Honor The Game.