Tag Archives: equipment

Maintain Your Mouth Guards!

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Maintain Your Mouth Guard

I’ve always been perplexed by players who don’t wear mouth guards, and even more perplexed by the adults who don’t stay on their young players to properly wear and maintain their mouth guards. Maybe I’m perplexed because of the mouth guard discipline instilled in me when I was learning kickboxing as a teenager. Rule of the gym was – no mouthguard, no spar, and I wanted to spar so I learned to bring a mouth guard to practice and wear it the right way because it doesn’t matter how good the mouth guard is – it won’t do a darn thing if it isn’t worn correctly.

According to the American Dental Association’s May 27th, 2010 article American Dental Association Says Mouthguard Important Piece of Athletic Gear: “The most effective mouthguard should be resilient, tear-resistant and comfortable. It should fit properly, be durable and easy to clean, and not restrict your speech or breathing.” A regular boil-and-bite mouth guard bought from your neighborhood sports supply store will work  to reduce facial and dental injuries, but I would encourage players at all levels to go for a fitted mouth guard. I wore an OPRO Mouth Guard during my high school playing days and I never had a more comfortable mouth guard that I could also speak through.

properly-wornProperly Worn Mouth Guard

The image on the left is a young chid wearing a mouthguard correctly. How do you know that you are wearing the mouthguard correctly? – It fits in your mouth. This should be the easiest piece of equipment to wear correctly besides cleats, but many players wear their mouth guards like the hockey player below.



Improperly Worn Mouth Guard

This is commonly known as the fish hook, and wearing your mouth guard like this is about as effective as an actual fish hook in protecting your teeth. The device designed to protect your teeth will not work as designed if you do not wear it properly!



Maintaining your mouth guard is just as important as wearing it the correct way. The follow pictures are from actual AYL players from various age levels showcasing good mouth guards and not so good mouthguards.

bad-mouthguard_2Bad Mouth Guard #1

This mouth guard has been chewed repeatedly on one side. While this is not the worst mouth guard I’ve seen it is not going to do a great job if the player is hit during a game because the grooves that the teeth are supposed to fit into are no longer there.


bad-mouthguard_3Bad Mouth Guard #2

This mouth guard is a worse version of the one above. I can’t imagine this is even comfortable to wear, which will likely lead to the player fish hooking the mouth guard. While I’ve never found molded plastic to be a particularly tasty substance to chew on I have ground my teeth on mouth guards that I’ve worn if I was stressed out during a game. This mouth guard is not going to protect the player when the player needs it.

bad-mouthguard_1Bad Mouth Guard #3

This is one of the worst mouth guards that my mother photographed. Each side has been bitten repeatedly and there is no way this fits into the player’s mouth as designed. Do not wait to replace your mouth guard when it gets to this point.


good-mouthguard_2 Good Mouth Guard #1

This mouth guard is in excellent condition. Notice that all of the impressed bite marks from the player’s original fitting are still intact, which means the mouth guard will fit comfortably and give the greatest degree of protection that it is designed to provide.


good-mouthguard_1 Good Mouth Guard #2

This mouthguard is even better than the one above, and the player has a back up mouth guard! Both mouth guards have been molded to his teeth, and they are kept in a container so they don’t get squished by other gear or stepped on while the player is suiting up. This player is probably going to save his mom and dad a lot of money in dental bills if he wears these nice mouth guards properly.


The April 1st, 2013 ADA Press Release Play it Safe: Prevent Facial Injuries With Simple Sports Safety Precautions noted a disturbing result of a AAO (American Association of Orthodontists) survey: “67% of parents admitted that their children do not wear a mouth guard during organized sports. This raises a question: if mouth guards offer a simple and relatively inexpensive solution to help dramatically decrease the risk of oral injuries, why aren’t more kids wearing them?”

I have an answer to that question: it is because mouth guards are not expensive.

I’ve seen returning players come into a spring season with brand-spanking new lacrosse gear. Brand new gloves, shiny helmets, top of the line arm pads, and cleats designed to “accelerate” them on the field. But they still have the same mouthguard they used when they started three years ago. Mouth guards should be the least expensive piece of required equipment that parents need to purchase for their young players. Sadly, many parents will shell out a couple hundred dollars each year on new equipment, but leave the mouth guard off the new gear list because, hey, it’s just a mouth guard. Well, if you or your player think that then here are two fun images for you all to think about:
Busted Teeth


Get a good mouth guard. Maintain it. Wear it correctly
… and you’ll lower your chances at having to shell out a few thousand in corrective dental work

Featured Image Credit – http://www.dentalgentlecare.com/dental_tip_april.htm (Apparently this post is well timed as April is National Facial Protection Month!)


USL Youth Boys Lacrosse Resources

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For those of you new to the game of lacrosse, and even those who’ve been around a while, there are tremendous resources from US Lacrosse available to you players, coaches, parents, and officials out there.

Everything in this post can be found here: www.uslacrosse.org/rules/boys-rules.aspx

First and foremost, for folks new to lacrosse is the Youth Rules & Best Practices Guidebook For Boys, 3rd Edition. This is a fantastic and in-depth resource for the new player, coach, parent, or official because the guidebook is geared for each!

It is difficult to enjoy or effectively teach the game if you do not know the rules. While reading the rulebook can be a pretty dry endeavor there are more visually exciting videos that USL has put together:

There is also a handy FAQ listing reasons for more severe enforcement of violent body checks at the youth level and the national emphasis on proper fundamentals and the development of skillful play. My personal favorite question is:

  • Q: “Why is USL taking body checking out of the game?” 
  • A: USL does not want to remove body checking from lacrosse. The USL age appropriate rules are designed to provide an environment that fosters development of critical skills in our youngest athletes. Body contact is introduced over time to prepare players for higher levels of play in High school and College but does so in a manner that creates the best playing experience at the younger ages. Research in a variety of sports has proven that player development and a positive playing experience are maximized when violent contact is limited or removed in the younger age divisions. This is also a fundamental best practice that US Lacrosse is emphasizing with regards to player safety and skill development.

Why is that my favorite question? Let me get on my soapbox. I played lacrosse for ten years and heard that “they” were taking hitting out of the game when I first geared up. Better medical knowledge is leading to greater enforcement of high and blind-side hits in contact sports around the country, but what should little Jimmy be learning when he steps onto the field at 10 years old for the first time? Should he learn how to hit or how to pass and catch? I’ll pick a kid for a high school team that has never tried to body check an opponent for his entire youth playing days, but already mastered the basic lacrosse skills. I’d rather teach kids how to play the game well and teach them hitting when their bodies and skills are more developed.

Two helpful videos that you might not see right away are:

  1. Field Player Equipment
  2. Goalie Equipment

Finally, check out the USL Core Skillz Videos on the USL YouTube Page at: www.youtube.com/user/uslacrosse8/search?query=core+skillz

Well I hope you find these resources helpful to you in the season. A lot of hours gets put into these materials and the more you use them and share them the better our game will be at the youth level throughout the country.


Odor Gladiator Discount!

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A few months ago I did a guest post for Odor Gladiator. Entitled “Something About Stink,” the post focused on the peculiar reasons that many athletes have for keeping their gear smelling rancid. In the past, the options to keeping your gear smelling clean year-round were: Febrezing it to death, which took a good bit of effort, or washing it regularly, which was cumbersome. I always thought I was stuck with those options, but no more! Enter the Odor Gladiator!

Get your OG in AYL Colors!

Get your OG in AYL Colors!

The Odor Gladiator “brings the battle to your bag.” Having used the OG for the last three months I am an absolute believer in this product’s ability to vaporize bad smells. As many of you know, I officiate lacrosse games all over Georgia. Which means I practically live out of my car. I used to keep copious bottles of good smelling sprays, and lots of air fresheners to combat the growing stench of clothes left strewn about the back seats. One, I repeat, one Odor Gladiator has kept my car smelling great for the entire season this year!

After reading a few of the posts on AYL, Chief Gladiator Mike Morneault, contacted me about partnering with Atlanta Youth Lacrosse. He has graciously offered a discount code to all AYL members! Head over to https://odorgladiator.com/store/products/odorgladiator.html, create your OG, and check out. From the checkout screen, add in the discount code AYLROCKS12, and you will get $4.00 dollars off your Odor Gladiator! You can choose any combination of 14 different colors for the helmet (yellow in the photo) and the mask (black in the photo). I highly recommend showing your pride in your team and getting an OG in your team’s colors.

I am certain that you will find the OG your newest and most favorite tool in combating the odor that permeates equipment bags and cars. This is a product that holds up great, is easy to use, and, most importantly, does what it says it will do.

This offer will not last forever! Get your discount before it closes on June 30, 2012!

Bring the Battle to Your Bag!