Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby PDJ » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:45 am

Rather than fully hijack another thread, I decided to open a new thread to post a few thoughts and to invite comment / reaction:

1. I have heard several stories of recruiting by the Firehawks. I do not know what the NCJLA rules on recruiting are but as a general matter I do not believe that recruiting is helpful to the development of the game and is rarely in the best interest of the individual players. I wonder if the Firehawks invited all players from the Monterrey Peninsula to play or only those who had made one of the NorCal Select Teams. I suspect that there is more to the story that player simply wanting to play A level. As noted before, the family would drive past several (four?) other U15A teams on the way to Redwood City.

2. Note that a couple of years ago, NCJLA imposed / agreed a ban on players from San Francisco playing on Marin teams so that the SF clubs could grow. I am not sure that is the right answer, either.

3. I have heard that the NCJLA has adopted a rule or is discussing adoption of a rule to ban on players leaving one club to move to another where a coach changes clubs. While such a restriction could make sense where a coach leaves established Club A for established Club B and takes a large number of players. If a coach leaves Club A to go to a newly established club, it may be appropriate for players if the objective to play and practice nearer their homes. Blanket rules are difficult to craft to fully meet the development and sportsmanship objective.

4. The success of the Scorpian program in attracting players to the game, developing players, hosting games, and winning championships has been second to none. And maybe the most impressive of any youth sports program I have even seen. At what point, does a club become "too big" to function well a single club within the NCJLA league and to serve all of the kids vs. becoming a league unto itself? I have seen soccer clubs (in other states) with >1000 players across all age groups and genders. Their goal is to create the best "select" team in a region. What is lost is that the club sends forth only 1 team (with 18 players) rather than several clubs each have a top level ""select" that compete for the regional and / or state championship. Is it not better for a larger number of players (20 players on 4 or 5 teams) to have the opportunity to train and compete for the championship than a very large club selecting its top 20 players to play for a championship and relegating 60 or 80 other quality players to a lower level of development and competition?
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Re: Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby WestCoastLax » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:13 pm

PDJ,
Thanks for starting the additional thread....good points across the board...
1) Of course they didn't invite all the players from the Monterey area to make the drive and try out for their club. He's one of the better players in the entire region and fills a void they had last year. He drove past the other teams because the Firehawks are by far the better team down there and the player in question plays for the Firehawks coaches on some traveling teams. Don't try to read to much into this than is actually going on. He's seeking out the closest high level team to play with that's not Monterey. Had the Scorpions, So. Marin, Pleasanton, etc., been closer than the Firehawks, he very well have played there. I think what it does do, is open the door for kids to play all over Northern California. If you're not happy with one club, then pack up and move to another. Glad my son's in 8th grade this year so I won't have to see this happen over the next 10 years. The sense of community, which someone like Danville for the most part has built, is going away quick. Instead of maybe seven good teams in NorCal, there's going to be 2-3 super teams and a bunch of also rans. All this being said, it's tough to tell the Monterey player you're stuck playing B lacrosse because of where you live.
2) Not sure if that's right or not...understand in theory, but perhas not practically.
3) Interesting point -- sounds like you may be drawing reference to the new Central Marin which has taken some players from Novato to the new club. I guess I would say, are the players actually living closer to the new club?? If so, seems to make sense to let them go if they want. On the flip side, they should be able to stay as well.
4. I think the goal for every club would be to develope a club the size where you have the option of playing in house leagues at the younger ages, with 1-2 comp teams, then as they get older, as you naturally lose players to attrition, have 3-4 teams which play in the traveling leagues. Build from within, promote from within...

Thanks again
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Re: Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby P Faulkners Spirit » Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:40 pm

There are two issues here and a distinction is warranted. First, the issue of recruiting kids. That’s a thorny one that I’ll leave for others. The second is the issue of an “A” level player who lives in an area where there is only a “B” level opportunity. Should a player have the freedom to travel out of area in pursuit of a more challenging and competitive setting? I believe so.

The circumstances which might lead to this occurrence are several. This point first, given a preference most players and parents would prefer to stay in area. Leaving friends and the demands of traveling to participate with a team out of area are obvious. Still there comes a time, an inflection point, when a player must decide how far they want to try their game… pursue their dream, their passion; and yes, rightly or not, their parent’s hopes for their child. U15 is that inflection point. By the mere existence of a U15 National Championship, US Lacrosse has made that self evident.

The decision is not made in a vacuum. It becomes apparent on a local level when the player outgrows the players around him, often profoundly. At the U15B level, an “A” player, let’s call him Jimmy, finds himself in just this situation; he has been playing for 5 years and plays beyond the skill level of most of the players around him. There is no A team in the area. Maybe his dad or mom transferred to the area for career reasons. Maybe he has teammates who at age 13-14 are coming out for the first time. Maybe it’s a new program. Maybe it’s just a cyclical arrangement of the astrological signs of the kids on the team. It really doesn’t matter. They can’t cradle or catch. They can’t pass. The sport may just be hobby for them, but not for Jimmy. He is out practicing every day on the wall. He’s going to camps. He plays fall ball. He excelled at the B level, getting a lot of positive feedback, and is recognized around the circuit as an “A” player. Other coaches start to acknowledge him personally for his play. He and his parents collect all these data points and collectively agree that Jimmy needs the best platform possible to develop his game.

Maybe someday Monterey will have the enrollment of Diablo Valley and will field multiple teams at every different level. In the meantime, should we impose aspirational limitations on a player because he lives in a region that can only support his development so far? I’d welcome an argument in the alternative.
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Re: Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby chmdave » Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:43 am

Diablo has done an exceptional job in creating an environment for youth lacrosse development and participation...Firehawks are on an equally exceptional path to enhance participation and opportunities for training...I have nothing but respect for the hard work that all of these people have put in...and for the results they have achieved.

The question is...do their efforts enhance participation and opportunities for growth throughout the NCJLA or do they diminish it?

Are they creating a rising tide that is lifting all of our boats or are they choking off the development of other area clubs because they are able to attract the best and the brightest?

I don't believe either club has violated the spirit or letter of any of our rules nor do I believe they would if there were any rules to violate...

Truth is...we don't seem to have any rules in this area...the NCAA does...the high school leagues do...most other youth sports leagues do...we don't...

We set up a league to govern the 1500 or so participants who were playing at the time...now I've heard from Matt Ogelsby that our number of participants has grown to 18,000...

I believe we have come to a tipping point in our development as a league...we've done a wonderful job of going from 1500 to 18,000...now it's time to debate the structure to take us to 100,000...

We need to get on it now...or I fear the SUPER CLUBS will continue to grow and excell and the lesser clubs will wither and die...and participation will suffer...
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Re: Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby Domer » Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:37 am

Mistakenly posted this in the wrong thread...

chmdave, you summed up my way of thinking much more eloquently that I could have.


I think if more Jimmys stayed home we'd have more A teams and more parity in the league. The theory that this is about competition is false. This creates less competition as all the top players funnel to just a couple of power clubs. Will the Firehawks play the Scorpions every weekend?

While it may be true that Jimmy has to display some patience with teammates that aren't up to his level that is actually a very good life lesson and those teammates benefit tremendously. Jimmy still has travel teams and elite camps to get away from the newbies.

Sorry, I think this is a real issue and not one we should just say is done and we should forget about. It's not the end of the world but I think it is a real issue and one that those with authority should debate and consider.
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Re: Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby chmdave » Mon Feb 08, 2010 3:01 pm

Hi Pick...

Might want to merge the two strings somehow...

I don't believe that excellence and parity are oxymoronic...{hopefully that's a word}

I look at the NFL and MLB...

The NFL just completed it's most successful season yet with three of the final four coming from their smallest markets...

MLB begins every season knowing that 20 of 30 teams have no chance to compete and are subsidized by the other 10 just so they can stay afloat...

And I know that the NCAA D-1 championship has been won by only four teams in 30 years...

As a league...I think it's time to look at our development in NFL terms and not MLB terms...

Pursuit of excelence & parity should be a league goal...
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Re: Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby numbersman » Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:15 pm

This is starting to feel like a socialism v. capitalism argument.

In my opinion, the strength of the Scorpion program has had the effect of driving up the level of play in the NCJLA. Three years ago, the Scorpion "A" teams won the NCJLA championships at every level. Now they are definitely one of the stronger programs but no longer dominant. As good as those teams were three years ago, the level of play is even higher at the youth level now, across the board.

I keep hearing the argument that having a few very strong programs is bad for the league in total, yet youth lacrosse in NorCal continues to grow at a rapid pace, both in terms of number of clubs and number of players. All of this happened while the Scorpion club was dominating the scene. It seems one can more easily make the argument that having a few very strong teams actually encourages more kids to play......

One final thought - - When DeLaSalle's football team enterred the EBAL, everyone knew that the likelihood of Monte Vista, San Ramon, Amador, Cal High or Foothill winning an EBAL championship had dropped precipitously. What has resulted, however, is that these teams are training harder now - and getting better. DLS faced some of their toughest competition this year in league - something that has not happened for them in many years. I can pretty much guarantee that all of those high school teams now have the goal of beating DLS as front and center in their sights (a unifying force). At the same time, I have not heard of any kids dropping football (at least at our local high school), because DLS is in the league now - despite the fact that winning a championship just became more remote.
What if the hokey-pokey IS what its all about?
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Re: Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby chmdave » Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:29 pm

Socialism vs. Capitalism...this is getting good!!!

I would never denegrate the wonderful work being done at Diablo nor the example it has proferred for other clubs...

The problem with the arguement is that none of the other east bay clubs appear to be benefitting from the outstanding work that Diablo has done to grow the game...

And there in lies the problem...with Diablo scaling the heights, you'd think that Walnut Creek and La Morinda and even Skyline would be on the rise...with all respect to those programs I don't see it happening...

What I do see happening is families choosing to vote with their feet and wear orange no matter where they live in that section of the world...

Socialism???...ok...but I'd never imagine Jerry Jones and the rest of the NFL owners who believe in parity being called anything but brilliant capitalists!!! :P
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Re: Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby SkylineCoach » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:30 pm

chmdave, I can't speak for any club but my own... but I give Diablo credit for helping drive growth. I admire their success and the way they teach the game.

And I take issue with your "not on the rise" comment. 2007: there were 62 boys in Skyline lacrosse. 1 peewees team (only 10 games that year), 1 pups, 1 juniors. 2008: 135 boys, 6 boys teams (2 of each), 5 playoff appearances, 1 JuniorsB1 Championship - time to move it up a notch. 2009: 200 boys, 9 teams including 2 at U9 and a High School club, 3 playing A. 2010: 220+, 10 boys teams, sticking with A, and definitely not just 'for the experience'. How much faster do you want us to grow?

And the best stat of all: 3 orange helmets to repaint white before the first game. :wink: Plus a few experienced players we picked up who already replaced whatever gear they wore, wherever they played last year.
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Re: Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby hansel » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:45 pm

How may A championships did Diablo win last year? Or the other "super powers"? I am not sure that we haven't moved rapildy towards parity and I think this year at all 3 A team levels there will be 5+ teams that could win the whole thing. Compared to 5 years ago, we have made huge strides in the right direction. The next will be when a team from Sacto, one from Santa Cruz and only one from the Bay Area take the three A team championships. I don't think that time is so far off.
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