Category Archives: Players

Is it Safe?

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As a high school coach as well as youth coach (Lacrosse & Football) my paramount concern before we step on the field is player safety.  Ask any coach and official what the most important thing is and they should answer unanimously SAFETY.   If you do not have a safe environment to play in you will run the risk of injury to all the players and possibly the fans and officials.

The GHSA (Georgia High School Athletic Association) takes great pains to insure all coaches are trained in first aid, CPR and Concussion awareness along with many other safety precautions.  Some schools actually make all their coaches take first aid, CPR courses to maintain standards. Each year every GHSA certified coach most take a concussion class in order to keep their GHSA coaching certificate in good standing.  This is a very important step to keep all of our players safe.  US Lacrosse does a fantastic job with their Science and Safety Committee (click on link US Lacrosse Concussion) with several presentations regarding concussions.

With over 40 years of playing and coaching the game of lacrosse I have seen my share of concussions.  While I never received a concussion in lacrosse I did receive four while playing football.   I can say that lacrosse is much safer then other sports when it comes to this dilemma.  There have been many advances in concussion awareness and protocol.  The link below is an article from Patrick McEwen of Inside Lacrosse.  It shows how simple rule changes (not targeting the neck and head) have lowered the cause of concussions in Men’s Lacrosse.  Patrick will be writing a follow up article showing the data from high schools in the coming weeks which I will share when it comes out.

NCAA Concussion Data

As a player and a coach I have seen the advancement in the game from equipment and rule changes.  I believe one of the reasons why I did not get a concussion in lacrosse versus football is the helmet I used in lacrosse was very flimsy (see picture below).  There was no way you would use your head as a weapon wearing something like this.  My football helmet (actual picture below) that I used in high school, college and two years of semi-pro football was made of hard plastic which gave me the belief that I could become a missile or projectile when playing the game of football.

bucket helmethelmet

 

 

 

 

Concussion are very serious injuries and should be handled appropriately by doctors, trainers and medical professionals.  I have seen and observed many concussion symptoms during my years as a coach and the data and methods to identify concussions has come a long way for the good of our student athletes.

IMPACT Concussion Web site

Please take a minute to review these web sites mentioned in this article which will allow you to make informed decisions regarding your son or daughter.

See yah on the field…Coach Lou

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always Play 4 Each Other

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I am pleased to announce that John Gibson one of our STAR (Students That Accept Responsibility) volunteers has been awarded the prestigious APIVEO (Always Play Four Each Other) Player of the Month Award.  John has been a standout player from our youth program as well as our summer travel team the Coyotes.  Everyone knows what a big heart John (Gibby) possesses but his desire to be a better person and help others is what sets him apart.  John was chosen for his volunteer efforts as well as his community involvement.  Like all of our STARS John continues to give his time and talents to Atlanta Youth Lacrosse and now he has been nationally recognized.

APIVEO is a volunteer organization that builds leadership skills for coaches and athletes across the country.  Brad Jubin the Founder and CEO of APIEVO has developed a strong curriculum of  lesson plans to help develop coaches and their players.  I have spend several hours with Brad on the phone (we tried to meet recently but his Dad had some medical issues) talking about our shared coaching philosophies and coaching experiences.  Atlanta Youth Lacrosse is proud to be part of what Brad is doing because it directly ties with our mission of “Fun, Fundamentals, Sportsmanship and Honoring the game.  Below is an excerpt from the APIVEO web site:

The author of “Run with the Bulls,” Dr. Tim Irwin, describes a leader as a “person of disproportionate influence.” It’s tough to imagine a better description of a volunteer youth coach. If you want to know what it feels like to be a major league baseball player, try coaching a five-year-old T-ball team! You have instant hero status. It doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a clerk, a stay at home parent or unemployed – you are THE COACH! You are a person of disproportionate influence, and I encourage you to be intentional about how you influence your kids.

I’ve coached youth sports for more than 10 seasons, including some sports that I never personally played. I’m the first to admit that I was nervous, self-conscious and sometimes overwhelmed by the thought of volunteering to coach. How can I coach baseball when I never played?

It didn’t take long for me to realize that with players at this wonderfully young age of 4-11 years old I wasn’t coaching baseball; I was coaching KIDS. It might sound like an obvious statement, but for me it represented a paradigm shift in how I approached every aspect of coaching from practices to games to parents.

Accepting the responsibility as a person with disproportionate influence, I focused on a single and consistent message: “Always Play for Each Other.” I made a commitment to teach my players to use their gifts and talents to intentionally lift up their teammates.

In other words, if a kid scores the winning goal, who did he do it for himself or the team? One may argue that he “just did it” without intending it to “be for” anyone, and that’s probably accurate. But, if they are taught that when they are cheering, scoring, laughing, running and playing for each other, that simple “play” can be turned into a positive and intentional act of kindness and love. WOW! Now, that’s coaching.

Sports are not all about winning and losing, and they offer more than just another way to have fun. I made the decision to go beyond the sport and to be intentional about teaching my players life and leadership lessons in a fun way.

Encouraged by family, friends and coaches to share these lessons, I created APIVEO (Always Play 4 (IV) Each Other) to ignite the passion in kids to intentionally develop a life-long commitment to helping others. God designed, equipped and commanded us to do this, which is why I am passionate about passing this concept along to other coaches. Igniting a kid’s passion to help others is inspiring and humbling.

The commitment I’ve made each season to my team is now one I make to every volunteer youth coach and parent who is interested. APIVEO will provide life and leadership lessons that can be easily shared with kids. The APIVEO website will include printable lessons and discussion scripts for practices as well as insightful contributions from coaches at all levels. We encourage and count on the contributions of our readers to enhance the content by commenting and sharing their experience, concerns and opinions.

There are an estimated 20-40 million kids participating annually in youth sports. These kids are coached by 2-4 million volunteers and parented by 20-80 million parents. Together we can leverage this simple message, “Always Play 4 Each Other,” into a movement that will teach kids that WHEN YOU’RE NOT FIRST…YOU ALWAYS WIN. Then, we will have a large positive impact on the world.

Peace and Grace,

Brad Jubin, Volunteer Youth Coach

On behalf of Atlanta Youth Lacrosse I would like to thank Brad and the APIVEO board as well as Zaxby’s for donating $ 1000 to a charity of Johns choice that serves our youth.  We are extremely proud of John and congratulate him for a job well done.  We will be having an award ceremony in the coming weeks so Mr. Jubin and Zaxby’s can present the award to John.  More details to follow.

See you on the field…Coach Lou

 

Do the math

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I came across this web site recently (http://www.scholarshipstats.com/lacrosse.html) and I thought it was great information to share with our players and parents.    The web site shows the number of Division I, II and III programs in the country (Division III does not award scholarships) as well as the tuition costs, room and board costs, number of athletic scholarships, roster size, SAT scores for admission and the financial assistance percentage each player receives on average.  I speak with and meet regularly  with players, parents and college coaches to help our players with the recruiting process.  It is a fun and interesting journey.  The dream of a scholarship is within reach (for some) but I constantly preach about the importance of education and excelling in school because that is where the real money is.  Until lacrosse is mainstream and people can make an actual living at it we will continue to see the disparity of athletic scholarships among sports.  Football and Basketball are mainstream sports and have fully funded programs.  Baseball has scholarships along with the allure of minor league baseball.  Lacrosse struggles to be relevant even though it is the most rapidly growing youth sport in the country.  This chart illustrates the point I am making:

Number of High School players:                          Men 106,720          Women    81,969

Number of College Lacrosse players                  Men   13,857          Women     10,869

% of High School Players in competing in College   Men 13%          Women      13.3%

NCAA Division I men’s Lacrosse teams have an average roster size of 45 players but only a maximum of 12.6 scholarships to award per team. This means that the average award covers less than 30% of a typical athlete’s annual college costs. Lacrosse is an equivalency sport for NCAA limits, so partial scholarships can be awarded (up to 30 per team in NCAA I) as long as the combined equivalent awards do not exceed the limit. For example, an NCAA Division I school can award 24 women lacrosse players each a 1/2 scholarship and still meet the limit of 12 per team.

This web site is one of the best information sources I have seen as it gives a true picture of what is out there for our players.  I strongly suggest that you review this information as a family so you can make an educated decision when choosing a school that is right for you.

Don’t get caught up with DI vs DII vs DIII it’s a zero sum game.

See ya on the field,

Coach Lou