Push Start/End of Season Back?

Push Start/End of Season Back?

Postby bay.bird » Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:44 pm

I was not at the recent NCJLA meeting. I had someone who was present forward me the notes from the meeting. It sounds like the idea of pushing the start/end of the season back a couple of weeks was not well received.

For clarification, I am involved in a North Bay club. We are youth only, no high school. High schools in our area are CIF. I’m starting to think that the rest of the league is not as adversely affected by weather, CYO playoffs, etc. as we are. I wanted to get feedback from others to see if your experiences are similar to ours.

Many of our teams do not get to practice on grass until mid-March due to the rain. As it stands, these teams play approximately 4 games while practicing on blacktop. For younger/newer players this is confusing. They don't get the feel for spacing or an understanding of the lines on the field and their purpose.

CYO playoffs go into mid-March. A number of our players are involved in basketball playoffs. This leaves our teams playing shorthanded until mid-March. We support the idea that it’s better for kids to play multiple sports and avoid specialization. However, this bites us at the start of every season. Still, we will not ask players to abandon their basketball team during the playoffs to start the lacrosse season with us.

Looking at next year’s calendar in regards to game scheduling, it will be challenging:

1. We'd have to start our game season on the weekend of March 5/6. The weekend before (Feb 26/27) our kids are off from school for President’s Week.

2. There are two different spring break weeks again next year, one for public schools and one for private schools (April 11-15 & 17-22). This eliminates the opportunity for us to schedule games on three consecutive weekends (April 9/10; 16/17; 23/24) again this season.

3. Assuming playoffs start the weekend of May 14/15 and conclude May 21/22; this leaves 13 days (Saturdays and Sundays) to play games. I've taken out Mother's Day and Easter. Many of our teams like to play 14 or more games. This is not possible next season unless you double up a few times and don't take a single Saturday or Sunday off. Getting the mandatory 10 games in to qualify for playoffs could be a challenge as well.

It seems to me that starting the game schedule in mid-March and ending with playoffs in early June would make for a better experience for all involved. These issues may be unique to our area and thus would make any changes to the start/end of the season unnecessary. I'm just looking for clarification from others.

I apologize for the length of this post. I think this is an important topic and would appreciate others feedback. Thank you.
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Re: Push Start/End of Season Back?

Postby SkylineCoach » Thu Jul 01, 2010 8:13 am

I am with you 100%. We deal with all the same issues in the East Bay - basketball, ski teams, rained out practice fields, etc.

The topic came up at the last NCJLA meeting in SF, probably 5 weeks ago now, and it was very well received & supported in that room. I can't remember any detractors at all, among the reps from the Marin, SF, and East Bay Clubs who were there.

Is there any mechanism for polling or actual voting from the Clubs, or does the NCJLA Board just bring stuff up and then decide our fates amongst themselves?
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Re: Push Start/End of Season Back?

Postby chmdave » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:57 am

Wow...this is a tough one...

As a fellow north bay club member I've resorted to shaking my fist at the rain filled sky more than once...but based on our experience the past two seasons I can't imagine 2 weeks making much of a difference...I think we're better off making better use of the few all weather fields available and perhaps being a bit more cooperative in all weather field utilization...

With respect to being reactive to the season scheduling of Hoops and especially Soccer...I believe that to be a losing battle...

As CYO basketball continues to grow in the Marin...they have little choice but to elongate the season because they don't have the gym space to accomodate all of their players...I don't think that two weeks will get out of their way...

As far as the length of the soccer season...I'll have to say nothing to retain my positive attitude...

Then there's the back end...I think it's a mistake to allow our season to extend beyond the conclusion of the NCAA Championships...people move on to ther things and I think our season of 3/1 until 5/31 is just about right...
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Re: Push Start/End of Season Back?

Postby bay.bird » Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:01 pm

Since a number of people viewed this but only two replied I assume this issue is not significant for the league as a whole. Thanks to all that read this.

I did research (unscientific) youth leagues in other parts of the country and looked for when they end their season. The only area I saw that ended before Memorial Day was Houston. If you've ever been to Houston you know you don't want to be outside doing anything from June through September. All others that I saw ended their playoffs the first or second weekend in June.

After the first two weekends of games, I got all of my basketball players back. I know my situation may not be the same as all others.

I realize that many consider Memorial Day weekend the "official" end of lacrosse season. However many areas around the rest of the country play high school and youth lacrosse into June. Kids are in school until mid-June. I'm not thinking about prolonging the season beyond that.
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Re: Push Start/End of Season Back?

Postby SkylineCoach » Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:27 am

I do wish there was more discussion of this too.

I don't see why the NCJLA and the NCAA seasons should have any affect on each other - colleges are out by mid May, but K-12 school goes into the 1st week of June at least, and usually 2 weeks in.

The only way lacrosse will continue to grow - and especially to attract the best athletes - is if we work together to eliminate conflicts & excuses. I'm sure everyone here has, at one time or another, watched a kid play basketball and wondered what he or she would look like with a lacrosse stick in their hands. But right now, we're making them choose... and if 2 weeks would make a difference in that (it would), its a no-brainer.
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Re: Push Start/End of Season Back?

Postby picknroll » Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:29 am

I've always thought we should play into June too.

At least there was some improvement this year in extending the regular season until the Sat before Mother's Day and hosting B2 jamborees in mid May. I think all of May should be regular season and we should push the playoffs out into June.

Feb practice is terrible for us on the grass. We don't get on the field all that often and we're crammed onto a small black top area a lot. That is not all that productive.

The Bay Area Super Series (Memorial Day weekend) and the Ogelsby Treasure Island tourney (mid June) both proved that there is demand for lacrosse beyond the traditional mid May end of the NCJLA season. Maybe private tournaments will fill the late May and early June void if the NCJLA does not want to extend the season.

Also as a point of reference the San Diego youth league season is March 13 to June 5. They had playoffs on Memorial Day weekend and championships on June 5. That opens up all of May as league games. That seems about right.
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Re: Push Start/End of Season Back?

Postby Jersey47 » Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:33 pm

Maybe CYO can shorten it's season? But, seriously, I do think that as in many things- your situation is more unique to your particular area. For instance not all schools go to mid-June our middle school was finished on May 26th. Which means many of our residents have planned or plan to go on vacation. So like many things it's all relative. What may work great for your area's particular scheduling conflicts, might cause huge problems for another area. We all know it's very difficult if not impossible to find a solution that works for everyone.

"The Bay Area Super Series (Memorial Day weekend) and the Ogelsby Treasure Island tourney (mid June) both proved that there is demand for lacrosse beyond the traditional mid May end of the NCJLA season. Maybe private tournaments will fill the late May and early June void if the NCJLA does not want to extend the season."


Events like these could be the exact reason "some" people do not want the NCJLA season to change too much. How successful would these events be if NCJLA teams were in the middle of their playoffs at this time? Just some food for thought.

"Also as a point of reference the San Diego youth league season is March 13 to June 5. They had playoffs on Memorial Day weekend and championships on June 5. That opens up all of May as league games. That seems about right."


I agree and it sounds right to me too, however I GUARANTEE that there will be many people who do not want to give up their Memorial Day traditions, vacations, trips, etc. so that Junior can play another game of lacrosse. Again there is no "perfect" solution.
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Re: Push Start/End of Season Back?

Postby chmdave » Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:11 pm

One of the many things I like about our league is we've done a wonderful job of growing the game at a geometric rate while at the same time avoiding the model that soccer has created in Northern California.

We provide an excellent 3 month season that accommodates beginning "rec type" players as well as top flight athletes and highly skilled players while standing clear of the 12 month seasons of select soccer.

Be it Team Talon, All West, Shaydon Santos, Vitality, or the many other opportunities to play, the lacrosse focused athlete will continue to have the opportunity to play 52 weeks if they so choose...and we should continue to support those opportunities...

But as far as the league is concerned...let's continue to do what we've done so well and continue to figure out ways to do it better...let's continue to focus our attention on the 3 month season and continue to grow the game...resisting the path that soccer took towards the all consuming 52 week season...
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Re: Push Start/End of Season Back?

Postby picknroll » Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:50 pm

I agree that 3 months is right. I guess the only question is which 3 months. We tend to start when the weather is still pretty bad and end about the time the weather is getting good. I think there's merit to playing a couple of weeks longer and maybe chopping a couple of weeks off the beginning of the season.

A bit off topic here, but there is one thing I think we can learn from soccer is the "District" system. CYSA has regional districts. There are district championships and then the champions go on to play in the State Cup which is a "tournament" of champions format. The NCJLA is very close to being big enough to regionalize. We could have three natural "districts": South Bay, City + North Bay, East Bay, and Valley (Sacramento). Wouldn't it be more fun to crown an East Bay U15A champ, a South Bay U15A champ, etc? It works out perfect for a Final Four to be from these four "districts". I would also advocate "home and away" scheduluing inside the districts to reduce travel. Lastly I think we should have some regional leadership/governance and the NCJLA centralized leadership should be more focused on strategic direction leaving the operational focus to the regions. Just thinking out loud.
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Re: Push Start/End of Season Back?

Postby Jersey47 » Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:37 am

The NCJLA is very close to being big enough to regionalize. We could have three natural "districts": South Bay, City + North Bay, East Bay, and Valley (Sacramento). Wouldn't it be more fun to crown an East Bay U15A champ, a South Bay U15A champ, etc? It works out perfect for a Final Four to be from these four "districts". I would also advocate "home and away" scheduluing inside the districts to reduce travel. Lastly I think we should have some regional leadership/governance and the NCJLA centralized leadership should be more focused on strategic direction leaving the operational focus to the regions.


Pick- I like the concept, but in a lot of the age brackets there is not a large enough participation in certain divisions (A, B1, B2) for this to happen. For instance at U15-A last year there were only three Valley teams Granite Bay, El Dorado Hills and Elk Grove. Additionally just among those three teams GB and EDH were far and away better than Elk Grove who was playing for the very first time at the A level. In order for GB and EDH to get some "worthy" competition they need to play several teams outside of the "Valley" region. I think regionalizing while it could have many benefits, it could also discourage teams in larger regions from traveling to play outside their region. Almost giving teams a "built in excuse" if you will. I'm not trying to be negative, but it is something that should be considered.

Pick- What teams (clubs) would you put into each of your regions? How would you propose to handle the "issue" I brought up in the above? Again I like the concept, but would like to see it elaborated on a little more. Thanks.
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