Teams competing in U13A and U15A in 2011

Re: Teams competing in U13A and U15A in 2011

Postby hansel » Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:12 pm

Just wondering, if Sklyine U13B had elected to play in the U13A division how happy would they be right now? It looks like Pleasanton U13A is rolling over estabished A clubs fairly easily by the looks of the scores so far. Pick, you still want to make the case that they should be playing in the A division?
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Re: Teams competing in U13A and U15A in 2011

Postby picknroll » Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:48 pm

I wasn't making the case that Skyline should be playing A. My point was that Skyline's top team playing against Pleasanton's B team was just as big of a mismatch, or maybe more. We get too hung up on the A/B/C designation. There are 14 U13 clubs that each of two teams playing in U13. You could easily create a schedule where team one of two plays other team one of twos. That would be an equitable schedule.

The point of Skyline Coach's argument was that larger clubs' top teams held a competitive advantage over smaller clubs' top teams because of numbers. My point was that you could use the same argument when a smaller club's top team plays against a larger club's second team. The small club A team has an advantage for the very same reason. The problem is only shifted, not solved.

As for the comment about running up scores, I think that's probably been beat to death here. I have personally coached in a game where we had a 6-0 lead at halftime and seemed superior in every way. I put in the backup goalie and pulled out the top players at half time. The problem was that the opponent didn't stop playing. The game went to 6-3 in about 30 seconds of play. By the time the regular goalie and starters game back in the game the momentum had shifted so much that we barely hung on for the rest of the second half to win 7-5. I had another game where we had a 10-3 fourth quarter lead only to see the opponent put in 7 unanswered goals to tie the game at 10-10 with under a minute. We hit a buzzer beater to win 11-10. You have to respect your opponent all the way through a game. It's not so easy sometimes to throttle back in youth lacrosse. Lacrosse is a game of momentum.
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Re: Teams competing in U13A and U15A in 2011

Postby bay.bird » Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:38 pm

I don’t contribute much to this forum but do enjoy reading it from time to time. This topic is near and dear to my heart.

In the interest of full disclosure: I am with Ross Valley Lacrosse Club. I’ve been involved with the club for 8 of the club’s 11 years in existence. I want to share our club’s view on this topic. This is not to say that the way we’ve done things is the right or wrong way, it’s just what we chose to do it. I think we are a middle of the road club in terms of our tenure and size which makes us a reasonably “average” club.

In 2004 we decided we were going to field A teams, even though we knew we’d be far from competitive at the beginning. We did so because we wanted to attract the best athletes in our area and expose them to this great game. The best athletes in our area play at the highest level in their other youth sports and they are very competitive kids. We knew they would compete regardless of the score. By creating an atmosphere of competing against the best from the Bay Area we figured we’d attract the type of kids and families that we were looking for. We’d also attract competitive lacrosse coaches who want to be part of the program. Many of the coaches that joined us did not have a son playing in our program. This also gave our coaches terrific objectivity while on the field. There was one gentleman in the club that laid the foundation for this atmosphere and it’s continued. We all realize how difficult finding and retaining good coaches can be. This gentleman made our club a fun place to be, regardless of wins and losses.

Over the first few years at the A level we struggled on the field, mightily. However we never measured our success in terms of wins and losses. Our focus was teaching the kids the right way to play this great game and to make it fun. Back then and today, my measurement for the success of a season is when we open registration the following year. How many of those kids come back? If they do, they’ve had a great experience. That’s the most important thing. Regardless of wins and losses we figured out a way to make sure the kids improved and had a great time.

There’s also a part of me that will always feel a responsibility to the game and the NCJLA in terms of fielding A teams. In order for our game to continue to grow and thrive we must grow at the A level. There will be years we have success in terms of wins and losses at the A level and there will be years we don’t. We focus on the big picture – ie. what’s best for our club and the game as a whole and not just what’s best right now.

Over the years we had more success in wins and losses at the A level as more of the better athletes in our area have discovered lacrosse. We do not measure our success any differently today than we did 8 years ago. Our objective at the A, B and C level across all age groups is still to teach the kids the right way to play the game and to make sure they are having fun.

As far as running up the score goes, I’ve also had a lot of experience with lopsided games. For the first few years we were on the losing end of many 13-1 games. Years later we found ourselves on the other side of that type of score. I’ve always felt more uncomfortable being up 13-1 than I did down 13-1. At least when you losing you can tell your kids to keep working hard, let’s get the next goal, etc. When winning by that score I always found myself worrying about what everyone thought, was I disrespecting the game, were the kids on the other team going to quit the sport, etc.? I found the best way to handle being on the winning side of a lopsided score was to talk to the other coach, politely explaining that we don’t want to be disrespectful but we need to find a way to finish the game. When you carry 17 or 18 kids on a youth A team you cannot sit your starters very easily. You can switch their positions around but you run the risk of having your goalie, who you just moved to attack, scoring a goal and acting like he just scored an overtime goal in a National Championship game. I found more times than not that the other coach said keep playing the way you’re playing, you’re not being disrespectful and it’s important for my boys to see how the game can be played. I always admired these guys for their view on this. Games with lopsided scores are not fun for anyone but there is a way to get through them so they are still played with respect.

We are far from perfect and do not pretend to be. We are constantly finding ways we can make our club better. At the same time, I do not judge others and how they run their club. I hope you find this in the spirit it was intended, purely to share our experience over the years.
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Re: Teams competing in U13A and U15A in 2011

Postby picknroll » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:20 pm

Excellent post bay.bird! You've captured the spirit of youth lacrosse exactly. Also, I sure miss being out there to play against you. Our games against you guys were always one of my favorite, although we only managed one win against you guys in five years!
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Re: Teams competing in U13A and U15A in 2011

Postby chmdave » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:45 pm

Let me second that Bird...you said it much better than I have...

As of today there are 8 undefeated U13b teams...none of their clubs field U13A teams...one club is 4-0 and has a goals record of 50 - 6!

Pleasanton has a very nice well coached U13a team and perhaps they will "roll" through the division...so what?

We needed all 8 of those clubs to step up for all the reasons Bay Bird has written...
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Re: Teams competing in U13A and U15A in 2011

Postby Bay Area Lax » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:13 pm

If I recall correctly, last year So Marin U15A won the whole shebang. This year they are not fielding a U15A team, but rather a B. The year prior to that Town U15A won the whole shebang, the following year they dropped down to B. Also, I know everyone is putting Skyline under the microscope, and for the sake of keeping this focused on U15, has anyone looked at how many teams Skyline is fielding at U15? Last I checked it was 1, down from 2 teams last year. So I'm just a little confused, and maybe the seasoned coaches can help me understand how a club with 1 U15 team is supposed to compete against a powerhouse club that has on average over 100 boys trying out to make the cut? From a numbers perspective, to me it just doesn't add up. No one seems to be making a stink about So Marin dropping down and I believe Town did what they did last year because they have a class size of about 25-30 boys. 25-30 boys... sometimes you get a great hand one season and know that your shake won't be the same next season, sometimes that's just the way it goes.

In the end, clubs are going to make the decision they need to make in the interest of their players, parents, coaches, and club. It would be great if every club fielded an A team, but the likelihood of this happening is slim until the NCJLA makes some concrete changes, and in that case speak up to your delegates and have them bring it up at the next meeting. In the meantime, the teams are set, the divisions are set, the schedules are set, and games have begun. Put this to bed and when the season is over bring it up again. Those clubs that did not field A teams and do well in B, will most likely have to take a hard look at themselves and plan for 2012. Here's hoping they make the decision to rejoin A next season.

And just to add another 0.02, there are games that can leave a team feeling great or demoralized. It is the responsibility of the coaches from both teams to do the right thing and honor the game. Running up a score and keeping your starters in on a roster of 25 makes me question the integrity of that head coach. I would like to know: do you feel like a bigger person for beating a team 17-0 and leaving all of your starters in? What exactly was the point you were trying to make? I would challenge coaches to take a hard look at themselves this season and really ask themselves if they are doing a service to the game or hurting it by beating up on teams that are trying to challenge themselves that ultimately leave them feeling dejected and deterred from playing the game? Maybe this is the PCA in me, but I think there are a lot of coaches out there who have lost the message along the way.

Like I said, just my 0.02. Feel free to argue this point into the ground, but in the end it doesn't change anything for this season.
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Re: Teams competing in U13A and U15A in 2011

Postby quakesdad » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:56 am

chmdave wrote:

As of today there are 8 undefeated U13b teams...none of their clubs field U13A teams...one club is 4-0 and has a goals record of 50 - 6!


That's my son's team. The goal total is distorted by one game that got out of hand. Giving posession instead of face-offs, shooting left-handed, players playing out of position, etc only slowed down the rate of scoring.

In this case the opposing team was playing at C-level. By the end of the year, they should be B-level. I know my son's team would not be competitive at A, at least not yet.

This is our club's first year after merging two smaller clubs. It would have been tough to know beforehand whether the team could possibly have played at A level.

regards,

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Re: Teams competing in U13A and U15A in 2011

Postby SkylineCoach » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:10 am

Chmdave, Lamorinda U13B (3-0, 51-7 PF/PA) and Ross Valley U13B (4-0, 52-9 PF/PA) are both undefeated and both Clubs field 13A teams as well. Should those Clubs have fielded 2 A teams?

You do an awful lot of talking for a guy who gets basic facts wrong, and who's own Club dropped out of 15A. People might not like what I have to say, but at least nobody can call me a hypocrite.

I'm happy to post the 4 or 5 emails I've sent you, starting back in December, trying to schedule a game between my 13B and your 13A. You came up with excuses every time. Time you either explain yourself or drop out of the conversation. We have 2 A teams on the schedule (RV-B and Lamorinda-B have none) and would be happy to take more. I've said all along, its an imperfect system, and we do the best we can... one way is to schedule 'barometer' games, like a couple of A's. Skyline - check. Who else?
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Re: Teams competing in U13A and U15A in 2011

Postby picknroll » Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:01 pm

I think this discussion would be more productive if all of us, including me, eliminated our references to specific clubs. From my experience I am most certain that the leadership of each club is doing what they believe to be the best for the players and families in those clubs. The role of the NCJLA is to provide more holistic structure that meshes each club together to best develop lacrosse in Northern California. As evidenced by the discussion on this topic, many of us are frustrated by the current A/B/C structure and criteria used to categorize teams within those divisions. As we continue to grow I suspect it will only get worse. Perhaps we need some "out of the box" thinking around organization and structure to come up with ideas that can foster competition and development within our youth lacrosse community. That should be our focus in this discussion instead of shooting down each other - and that advice goes to myself also.
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Re: Teams competing in U13A and U15A in 2011

Postby Billax » Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:48 pm

Well said, pick. I believe all of us are people of good will, seeking the best for our boys, their teammates, and the growth of the sport we all love. We may all have different ideas - and we may disagree with the ideas of others - but the presumption of good will and the good intentions of us all, has been a hallmark of the NorCalLaxForum since its inception. I, among many others, have been excited by the views presented here. I know all of us seek to find better ways to support our boys, to grow the sport, and to produce a love of the game that will propel our little corner of the world into an unrivaled lacrosse hotbed. We are off to a very promising start!. Let's agree that our goals are the same and our differences spring only from seeking the best methods by which to reach our common goals.

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