Because I said so.
Well, not exactly. I could say we do not schedule team practices during Fall Ball because Coach Lou says no practices. Yet, that is still short of the mark.
I could say there are no set practices because that is how we always do things during the fall at AYL. Still, repeating the mantra of tradition for tradition’s sake is a painfully weak argument.
I need a good theory that I can back up and will address player and parent concerns during the fall. Since we are close to starting our Fall Season, it is pertinent to state the AYL position on this issue directly.
Your league should have practices during Fall.
- Occasionally, I am confronted with this statement before or during the fall season. We at Atlanta Youth Lacrosse believe Fall Ball is just that, Fall Ball. It is a time for players of every ability level to share the field and learn lacrosse through game experience. We believe set practices should be reserved for the competitive season, which, for lacrosse, is during the spring.
I am concerned my child will be intimidated or not learn as quickly because they are a beginner.
- Believe it or not, your child is going to get a lot of practice. Our goal during Fall Ball is to be very intense about being very laid back. Players go out to win games, but their primary focus should be on working on new skills. So the experienced factor lessens a bit as the more experienced players work on their left hand, or weak-side dodge. This provides a more level playing field for the new player who is learning to play with their strong-hand and get a feel for the game.
We only see our coach once a week, and that is during the game. How can he learn what is best for my child?
- Fall equals fundamentals more than any other time of the year. Because coaches spend less time in organized practices, they use what time they have before and after games to stress the basics of proper play. New players should go up to their coaches and request different positions each week so they can get an idea of what they like to play. Once they settle on a position, the coach can tailor their lessons to that player’s position.
My player is brand new and is nervous about starting a game.
- Perfect! Nervousness before the unknown means your child is completely normal. We have staff and S.T.A.R.s at every game, which allows us to have eyes on lots of players at the same time. Each of our adult and high school staff members have the freedom to go up to a new player who is struggling and give them one or two pointers for the rest of the game. This is individualized attention on a very large scale. For instance, by the end of the season I probably help at least fifty kids with picking up a ground ball, to throwing, to playing defense. Add Coach Lou, Shaun Lux, Kevin Lux, Andy Halperin, and all of our high school and middle school volunteers, and that is a lot of attention from experienced lacrosse players.
- If you or your player is especially concerned about starting the first game, or any future game, please tell a staff member. We are there to help.
Players cannot improve without practice.
- Yes and no. Practice at it most basic element is the separation of game components. Fall Ball allows players to experience the flow of the game, which no practice or scrimmage ever gets across. We keep the body checks down so players focus on throwing stick checks and dodging against a defender throwing checks. We keep the atmosphere relaxed so kids do not feel the overwhelming pressure to win at any cost. We do mandatory substitutions at specific intervals to ensure everyone is getting game time. Ultimately, Fall Ball is practice for the spring.
I want my player to get some practice in. Are there ways to get instruction on non-game days?
- Atlanta Youth Lacrosse will offer beginner clinics during the first few weeks of the season. These clinics are still TBD, but they will focus on fundamental skills that every player needs in their back pocket. We also have the Lux brothers at Lux-Lax.com. You may view the Lux’s basic information on our Biographies page. These two brothers do great work with players in individual and group lessons.
The overarching theory is keeping the games fun and relaxed while recharging the batteries for new and experienced players alike. Every player can suffer from burnout if games feel like life and death every weekend. We at Atlanta Youth Lacrosse want to eliminate the burnout factor in the fall so players feel recharged and excited about the competitive Spring season.
Featured Image Credit – www.trialx.com