First Practice Speaking Points 2015
Have all the coaches introduce themselves after you assemble the kids and parents.
Explain (in under 15 minutes):
Lacrosse is starting so spring must be upon us. First let me welcome you all to our program. NSYLA was founded in 1999, and this will be our 16th season of play. Our philosophy is wrapped around the simple premise of the kids having fun. In the process we will endeavor to teach them about the sport of lacrosse, with an emphasis on sportsmanship. We expect and encourage the Players, Parents and Coaches to work together to abide by the Positive Coaching Association principles and to Honor the Game. We follow the Mass Bay Youth Lacrosse League philosophy (www.mbyll.org) of teaching the game, equal playing time for all boys and no standings kept. This does not mean we are not competitive, as this is a Travel program, but it is foremost about the kids having fun. The MBYLL model is being copied around the country for its success and sound principles. In 2015 our league was one of the first recipients of the USLacrosse Gold Stick Standards of Excellence Award!
Our philosophy (everybody plays, no standings yet still competitive) Member of Mass Bay, 160 towns and 19,000 kids. NSYLA maintains a high standard of sportsmanship, ethics and integrity. Goals include Skill Development; Learn the Game; Prepare players for advanced play; and most importantly Have FUN!
We do feel that lacrosse is a difficult game to learn and master, which means that attendance is important. We do take attendance and that is the only factor that would affect playing time. Acknowledge that MANY players are new and the game is complex, but with effort and listening you WILL learn it).
The March Schedule
Use the March schedule until the teams are set and the outside fields open.
Dress warmly and in layers as the cage is sometimes not heated. Also, there is no restroom open at St. Mark's while they are on break, so plan accordingly. Please drive carefully and observe speed limits, especially on the St. Mark’s campus as we are guests and want to be invited back!
The March schedule is completely at the mercy of the weather, so please check the website (www.nsyla.org) often for updates. While we will post practices at 911 Field, McAfee Ellsworth Field and ARHS, we cannot start practicing on them until the two towns actually open the fields. We work hard to get Cage time and pay for time at indoor facilities such as ForeKicks and HitQuarters to get the sticks in the boy’s hands so we are ready when we hit the fields.
The cage schedule is at the discretion of St. Mark’s, so you will see that for the first three weeks we do have practices for all age groups at various and irregular times. As soon as the fields open up we will go to our regular practice schedule.
Since nobody is on a specific team for the first three weeks, we all follow the March Schedule which is on the website. Once the boys are assigned to teams you will be able to view, download and be reminded automatically of practices and games.
The U9 (second graders) first practice will be Sunday March 29th at the Cage, more details about that will come out from us in about two weeks.
Come dressed and ready to play or be early!
Don’t forget your water bottle.
Please arrive at practice about 10 minutes early so that you can have your equipment on and be ready to start on-time.
You need ALL of your protective equipment for the first practice. We wear sneakers if we are in gym's until we get outdoors. You must wear a protective cup, and you must wear a mouthguard. We are very strict on equipment, if a boy shows up and does not have ALL his protective gear on he will sit out the entire time, no exceptions.
We will be doing helmet names again this year. As a reminder our boys wear Maroon helmets which are carried by Brine Sporting Goods and also ComLax.
Another question we hear is can the boys wear equipment from other sports, such as a hockey helmet? The answer is no, you must wear lacrosse equipment.
For all players, and especially new players, when you choose your stick there are lots to choose from. The most expensive stick is not necessarily the best choice. You should buy a stick with a hard mesh pocket. It will be a little more difficult to catch with at first but is better in the long run for the boys.
There is an Exchange on our website which is a swap shop. This is restricted to just people in our program. People can buy or sell used equipment on this. NSYLA is not part of any transaction, it is peer to peer.
How and When are Teams split
The big questions we always get are when and how do we split or choose the teams?
Teams are split evenly, not A, B and C levels, when we split into Gold, Maroon, and White teams. Teams are balanced by Town, by grade, by handedness, and by skill. Teams are split in the third week of the spring.
The coaches will spend about two weeks evaluating the boys so that we can split the teams fairly.
The truth is in the execution, we value this exercise because if we do it correctly we teach the boys to trust us. Towns that stack teams are sending the message that you will say one thing and do another.
The teams in each age group will practice together all season, so there is no need to request specific teammates or coaches, as those requests will not be granted.
We have 12 teams this year. We will be fielding three teams at the U15 level, three teams at U13 and three teams at U11, plus one team at U9. We also participate in the statewide Select League with one team at U15 and one team at U13. This is for boys who wish to try and play lacrosse 5 days each week instead of the three days weekly that our Classic teams play. Siblings will be placed on the same color team as they typically travel together.
Our policy is that missing a practice (and notifying the coach) for school or sickness is excused, however missing a practice for another sport will cost one line shift (not a quarter) at the next game. Coaches need to be consistent about this.
Now in its fourth year there is a Massachusetts Select program for the U13 and U15 levels. Once we close registration for Classic in November, we notify all U13 and u15 boys who then wish to sign up for the select program. We open up the registration for those witsing to tryout for one of these Select teams in December. There will not be a separate tryout, we will use the grading sheets that we use to split the teams to also select the players who will be on the Select team. We have some independent evaluators to assist us to eliminate bias or politics in the selection process. We will also have taxi squad players selected for those teams.
It is a privilege, not a right, to be on the Select squad. We expect those players to exemplify the spirit of the game and team play. An attitude of entitlement will be cause to not be selected or if selected to be dismissed from the select team. To be eligible to play each week a select player must make 2 of the town practices plus the Sunday game. Any player who does not meet that commitment will be replaced on the roster by a taxi squad player for that week.
Remember that when you signed up you all agreed to abide by the Positive Coaching philosophy, which means no screaming at coaches, officials or other players. Always be a Gentleman (or Good Sport Parent).
The Regular Season Schedule
We play 8 regular season games, plus we play 3 games at the Jamboree.
The season begins with our first games April 12th, and will conclude at the Jamboree on June 14. The lacrosse Jamboree is the single largest youth sporting event in the world, with over 10,000 boys participating over the four days. We expect all of our teams will play all our Jamboree games (36 games) on the same day. Our final day is the week after the Jamboree when we have our Pizza party for all the families.
The uniforms you ordered in December will be in for pickup at the beginning of March. The boys are expected to wear the pinney’s at every practice. The game uniform tops should not be worn to practice, except for the first few practices while we are doing evaluations.
For games, you are expected to wear the uniform shorts. We had an issue with this last season, so for the record you should come to games in your game uniform top and bottom or not expect to play.
Rosters will be created, so that is another reason we wear the numbered tops at the very beginning practices. If you do not have a uniform top see Coach Flynn.
Other spirit wear (t-shirts, sweatshirts etc.) will be available for sale on our website. www.nsyla.org– stuff is on sale today. All the profits from spirit wear also go directly into the program.
Coach Axline generously donates 100% of the price of bag tags back to the program. They sell for $5 each and 100% of that goes directly to the program.
All weather related changes to the schedule will be on the website. We make the call by 4 PM on weekdays and by 7 AM on Saturdays.
Our most important asset! Like other sports, we rely on volunteers to help make our program run smoothly. There is no mandatory requirement to volunteer, however we do hope that you will step up and volunteer to do something, such as run the clocks or the horn or supply bananas or oranges or be a team parent, as we think you will have fun helping in any capacity.
We need a lead coordinator who will communicate with you, especially the people who already checked “interested” on the registration form. Some jobs are on-going, such as team parents and fundraising, while most jobs are short time commitments. Some short jobs include organizing the Cannons Night trip, team picture day and the pizza party. Single task jobs are also needed and include applying helmet decals or clock and horn on home game days. If you have not already volunteered please consider it, the jobs are fun!
College game and TV schedule on our website; Memorial Day Weekend is the Final Four for college.
Tickets are on sale on our website. We have upgraded our seats this year from feedback you gave us.
May 30th is the date for our 12th annual Northborough-Southborough Night at the Cannons. Last year we had 325 people from our program at the game! This is a very family friendly event held this year at Gillette Stadium, and the good news is that all of our U11 players will play a game inside Gillette Stadium prior to the Cannons game, and they will get to form the tunnel that the pro’s run through as they get introduced before the game starts. Our program will do a huge tailgate before the game. Parking is FREE.
Cannons have a new season ticket goal program, and if 44 season tickets are purchased by NS people we reach the goal and qualify for a $500 rebate to the program, plus a Cannons Player clinic here, plus signed Cannons stuff for our raffle. They are a great value, and even better if you can expense it at work and take clients. This year they have a ticket exchange program making a work event even easier.
We will run a Lax101 session on Date here for any parents and kids who want a lesson in the game and the language.
Any questions or concerns please contact your team coaches or me.
Use the website, and give us feedback if you have suggestions.
If you need to speak to a coach please do so after practice, not before.
Trilogy Lacrosse is running a camp at 135 Field in August, run by All-Americans from Princeton and Cornell. Check out their website under Camps.
Parent-Child U13 and U11 games has become tradition, as has the U15 BBQ game in front of the High School lacrosse team.
Most Important, Have Fun and Learn
Now let’s get started!
At the end - COLLECT the balls and announce when next practice is and where.