Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

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

Postby picknroll » Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:51 pm

chmdave wrote: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


Pleasanton is right down the road from Diablo. Like Diablo we are a feeder club to EBAL high schools (Foothill and Amador). We have no problem with our players "voting with their feet" to go play for the Scorpions. In fact Pleasanton went 5-0 at the A level against the Scorpions last year (U15A, U13A, and U11A) and there were Pleasanton teams in the Final Four at all three A divisions.

I absolutely credit the success of the Scorpion program with improving the Pleasanton program. Several years back I coached a 5th grade A team and we scheduled five games against the Scorpion 5A team. That's sort of like a college football team scheduling five games with Florida! In that situation you either get better or you get run over. Our record that year was 1-4 against the Scorpions, but let me tell you that one victory did more toward developing our team than a whole season of wins agaist B teams could have. The losses were hugely valuable too. We never wouold have had those 2009 wins without taking our lumps when our kids were young.

The best part is that I know that the Scorpions are over there reloading now. Our 2009 victories are ancient history and it probably just made them mad. Same thing with the Firehawks. We were fortunate enough to knock the Firehawks out in the U13A semifinal. I am certain that loss did not set well with them are ready to come rip us apart. Those are the things that keep us working in the offseason and keep us recruiting those oustanding athletes (in our own town). That's a good thing. It makes us all better. That's what I meant about the pursuit of excellence versus parity. We need to compettion to advance.

Am I happy that a Monterey guy is playing for the Firehawks? Who would be, but so what. I always thought that there were a few too many Lafayette and Walnut Creek guys (and coaches) in the Scorpion program and it seemed a bit odd when Skyline kids come all the way out to Danville. It certainly didn't make too much sense when a Lamorinda guy went all the away across the bridge over to So Marin. Now we've got Coyote and Monterey kids going to the Firehawks and we've got people blowing a gasket. It's not really that big of a deal in the big scheme of things and it's really kind of old news. I do think that the Firehawks (like the Scorpions) are very good for Nor Cal lacrosse and the South Bay in particular. There will be some South Bay program that rises to challenge them. That's just how it works. That's how we get better.

BTW, I spent some time on an NCJLA committee working on the standards to define an NCJLA club. We arrived at three basic criteria:

- Not for profit
- Community-based serving a defined geographic area
- Mostly volunteer

There was consideration of zip code requirements, but not for very long. No one really wanted to go down that route. The thought was that there were always individual exceptions to the geographic area requirements. If a club is operating in good faith and serving a defined area it's ok for a few kids to be crossing boundaries. The rules are kind of intentionally open ended now. I am not sure tightening those rules would make Nor Cal lacrosse better. I think probably not.
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Re: Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby picknroll » Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:20 pm

I think one thing that has not been discussed in this thread is the attitude of the clubs. Sometimes the talent difference between teams is not as big as the score difference would indicate. That occurs because some clubs are highly competitive while other clubs operate more like the NCJLA is a rec league. Our team had a blowout win last year where I am convinced that the talent difference between the teams was not that great. Before the game the opponent's players were laughing and socializing during their warmup instead running a focused warmup. While this should have been a very tight game I knew that the game was basically over at the coin toss. There was a complete lack of focus and intensity. You can't really write NCJLA rules to change the attitude of the club. Even if we were to achieve parity of talent I don't think it's possible to achieve parity in attitude.

I actually had a club president call me up last year asking to schedule their A team against our B1 because he wanted his club to have some success with their season. That kind of sums it all up right there about attitude. Success is not beating my B team.
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Re: Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby Domer » Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:44 pm

Laughing in lacrosse should be strictly forbidden. :-)
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Re: Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby picknroll » Tue Feb 09, 2010 8:40 am

My guys were the ones laughing and smiling after the game :)
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Re: Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby Domer » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:38 am

That's right, because it's only fun when you win at which point we can go home and scoff at the other team's unfocused 12 year olds with their B championship aspirations smug with the knowledge that they're just not as excellent as we are.
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Re: Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby chmdave » Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:00 am

As is always the case...I really enjoy the spirited debates of people who love this game and are united in our desire to enhance opportunities for kids all across NORCAL...I'm grateful to you Pick for moderating and for providing us all with a forum to vent...

Now then...I specifically did not include Pleasanton in my discussion about East Bay Clubs who haven't come along...I kinda look at the Orange & Green as my best friends...hopefully you guys will be so interested in beating on each other that a poor broken down North Bay Coach like myself can have the opportunity to steal one from you while you're both still in traction from the previous game...

As far as Skyline is concerned...I apologize for my ignorance...I had no idea you were growing so fast...I'd love to be there the next time you paint an orange helmet white...

So Pick...now that our league in entering adolesence...what's inherently wrong with zip code restrictions? What about the idea of sending in the graybeards to assist clubs that are having trouble getting it done??...and while I'm at it...what's wrong with setting guidelines on official practice schedules???

The emergence of Team Talon and other All Star teams should more than adequately deal with the kids who are over the top talented on weaker programs...why not make them stay home for our season???

Can't we come together to build a baseline of excellence while increasing the opportunities for all star play in our off season???
I await your wise counsel...
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Re: Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby numbersman » Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:03 am

I think the point has been made by others more eloquently than me, but both the Pleasanton Thunder and Walnut Creek Warrior programs have had multiple teams in the "final four" over the last 2-3 years. Thunder and Warrior are the "nieghboring" programs to Scorpion. It would be hard to argue that the level of play of these two clubs hasn't risen over the last several years. As pointed out above, at least part of the motivation to improve was the desire to beat the evil orange and blue.

I think the same is true for some of the Marin Clubs. When my two oldest sons first played varsity lacrosse for the Scorpion program, we would regularly get shelacked by the Marin varsity teams. As the Scorpion program got established and started to rise, that needle turned the other direction with the Scorpion teams generally being stronger than the Marin teams. Based on the last year or two, it seems like the needle is swinging back towards a greater level of parity among the programs. All of this has happened in a relatively short time span of 8 or so years.

Love to hear from some Marin youth coaches or parents on this point (since it is my Diablo homer point of view).

All of the above was done by increasing competition, not dumbing it down.
What if the hokey-pokey IS what its all about?
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Re: Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby SkylineCoach » Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:18 am

Thanks chmdave.

Even High School ball though, is not a perfect system. Sure, there are practice date restrictions, leagues based (loosely) on school size, and resource differences... between public schools. But what are the zip code pools like for University, De La Salle, and St. Ignatius? I think that's the parallel, really. Private schools recruit & are very selective. Some kids choose for school first, and do the best with the program they have (much like College, really - how many great MCLA players would rather go to Cal or Stanford or Michigan or UT, rather than going east just to say they play NCAA lacrosse?). Others focus on the lacrosse (or football, basketball, engineering, whatever) program and let the other school considerations work themselves out. I don't see anything wrong with a 7th or 8th grader 'commuting' to a lacrosse club - just like I don't see anything wrong with an Oakland 9th grader getting on the bus to SI every morning. More power to him.

I think the danger with limits is when they're designed to take someone else down. Restricting choice of clubs for youth players only hurts the players themselves. Its much better, overall, for the rest of the clubs to work a little harder and give our players a reason to stay 'home', just like it is for High Schools.

Look at Piedmont High, for example. Less than 400 boys there. Before they had lacrosse, kids in Piedmont played for the Skyline HS Club team if they stayed home. Many NCJLA veterans, back then, opted instead for SI or University, or even went away to Thatcher, RLS, etc. if they were really interested in playing competitive ball. But PHS stepped up and built a team. And a pretty good one too - despite playing in a division where their opponents have 600, 800, even 1500 boys at their schools. PHS has been a great supporter of the Skyline program, and in return, we provide them with 8-10 experienced players every year. Its growth - but rather than limiting kids choices, we just gave them more options.

Youth clubs need to do the same thing... limits are inherently non-constructive while options are progressive.
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Re: Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby chmdave » Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:12 pm

SkylineCoach wrote: Restricting choice of clubs for youth players only hurts the players themselves. Its much better, overall, for the rest of the clubs to work a little harder and give our players a reason to stay 'home', just like it is for High Schools.
limits are inherently non-constructive while options are progressive.


Skyline...

I have such respect for your views and so want to agree with you...but my viewpoint on human nature forces me to disagree...

Once it becomes clear to talented players and their families they can go program shopping at age 11...they're going to do it...I'm concerned we're going to end up with 10 New York Yankees and 50 Oakland A's whose job is to bird dog talent and then ship them down the road...

I don't think that's a positive for a 60+ club league...

I also think the formation of Team Talon is just the beginning and that a defacto All Star League is well on it's way to emerging...which I think is a good thing by the way...as long as it offsets our season...
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Re: Youth Lax Development -- Recruiting, Club Size, Geography

Postby PDJ » Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:42 pm

I opened the thread but withheld comment on the Firehawks recruiting until now.

I find it reprehensible -- especially with the added information that Firehawks recruited the player to fill a specific need for the team. Such behavior seems primarily to serve the goal of winning a championship rather than to develop an individual player, develop the players within a club or a geographic region, to help the growth of lacrosse, or further sportsmanship within the league. I understand and support the creation of "select" teams for non-league tournaments; however, recruiting as seems to have occurred, does not honor the game.
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