Tag Archives: georgia youth

Why Don’t You Practice in the Fall?

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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


Hurt versus Injured

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This is a tough topic to discuss in youth sports, and even tougher because I am not a parent. I cannot imagine what I would feel if I saw my future kid get drilled in a U13 game and not get up quickly. I can only think my insides would be twisting into a Gordian Knot until I see him rise up. Until I have kids of my own, I will cherish my current moments of carefree worry, but I believe the concept of being hurt versus injured is a valid topic for discussion.

Gordian Knot

Gordian Knot

As I said in earlier posts, youth lacrosse is not about teaching players how to play. It is about teaching young boys how to live. Every parent wants their child to learn firsthand about respect, fair-play, honor, hard work, etc. Still, out of all those worthwhile lessons, one of the most difficult lessons to learn is how to play through pain. I am certain no parent wants to see their kid in pain, but there is a serious benefit to learning about pain in a controlled environment.

The hard part about youth sports is that players will get hurt and they will get injured. In fact the National Center for Sports Safety reported that in 2001, “more than 3.5 million children ages 14 and under [received] medical treatment for sports injuries.” Now this information should not scare anyone out of playing. As with all knowledge what matters is how it is applied.

If a player is seriously injured there is no reason for him or her to return to the field of play. Take your pick of injuries: concussion, broken limb or digit, twisted ankle, stitches, etc. There are a multitude of legitimate injuries that may require a quick look from a trainer or the professional treatment of an M.D. In a game, these injuries usually have a coach, parent, or trainer coming to the aid of the player. So players, if you get an injury do not worry about the game. Take your gear off if you are staying on the sidelines and cheer your team on from the sidelines. A friend of mine tore his ACL in a game my senior year. He stayed on the sideline in obvious pain cheering us on till the final horn. I probably played harder than I had all year because of his sacrifice.

This is an Injury

This is an Injury

Flipping over to the other side of the coin: getting hurt. For me, being hurt involves pain. There will likely be a sore spot, bruise, and blood involved in getting hurt. Over my ten year playing career I have gotten hurt more times than I can count. In youth ball my hurts were:

  • Hit in the throat with a shot
  • Bruised ankle on a save
  • Had the wind knocked out of me
  • Got my “bell” rung – no concussion
  • Been stepped on
  • Cross-checked, slashed, and pushed
  • Stuck my stomach with the butt-end of my stick on a ground ball (that really hurts by the way)
  • Playing while sick, ill, or otherwise the walking dead

I played through all of these hurts because of one of my dad’s lessons. He said, “Gordon, “there is a difference between hurt and injured. You can play if you are hurt.” Playing through pain is a poignant lesson that I apply almost daily in my life. Through difficult times on the lacrosse field I learned to break through my personal limits of pain for the greater good of the team. I did not understand the power of that lesson when I was in ninth grade. Heck, I did not see it’s importance at the end of my senior year. I finally realized how profound it was when I was sick as a dog and managed to drag my butt out of bed to get to class.

Playing through a little bit of pain in fifth grade serves me well at twenty-three years old. Can you imagine how well it will serve me when I have a family to support?

Featured Image Credit – www.washparkchiro.com


The 2011 Spirit Essay Contest

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Essay due date: May 1st – May 7th
Open to: All 5th and 6th Grade Players

After reading the Sprit of the Stick, a story about a young boy who receives a magical lacrosse stick and the adventures that follow, I was compelled to create the Spirit Essay for our advancing youth players.

Spirit of the Stick

Spirit of the Stick

The Spirit Essay will accomplish two things. First, players will gain an understanding about how to respect the game of lacrosse on and off the field. Second, they will gain experience writing a 5 paragraph essay.

The Sprit Essay Topic: Write a five (5) paragraph essay explaining how you respect and honor the game of lacrosse off of the field.

If you choose to write the Spirit Essay here are the requirements:

  • Essay must be 5 paragraphs long. Each paragraph should be a minimum of 4 sentences.
    • Here is a website that gives a solid overview of this type of essay.
  • Name, Parent’s Names, AYL Spring Team Name, Date
  • Title (centered on the page)
  • 12 point typed font
  • 1 inch margins
  • Double Spaced
  • Proper grammar and punctuation

To be completely clear on what the essay should look like. Please download this Spirit Essay Example. Your essay should follow the format in the example.

Awards for the Best Essay: The 5/6th Grade player whose essay best reflects how to respect and honor the game off the field will be win the following:

  1. A Hand-Made Native-American Lacrosse Stick
  2. Three, 30-minute Private Lessons for FREE
  3. A copy of Sprit of the Stick
  4. An end-of-season Spirit Essay award plaque
  5. Finally, their essay will be featured as a main story on the Atlanta Youth Lacrosse Blog.

I hope this essay competition appeals to our players and I hope that many players will send in essays. You may bring me a typed (No Hand-Written Essays will be accepted) essay during games or send it in using the form below. Please note that by handing in the essay or sending it in using the form you are acknowledging that the essay is entirely in your own words and you have not copied content from any sources. I encourage parents to assist their players but you may not write the essay for them. I expect all of the players writing an essay about honoring the game will honor this requirement.

Finally, the due date for the Spirit Essay is: May 1st, and the winning essay will be announced on the very last day of the Spring Season after the Sportsmanship Game.

If you have any questions about the Spirit Essay feel free to contact me, Gordon Corsetti, at rules@ayllax.com.

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