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The Master Game Schedule

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I love criticism because it means I can do something better. One of the biggest criticisms Atlanta Youth Lacrosse received this past Spring Season was the lack of a Master Game Schedule, and that the schedule changed from week to week. This criticism was valid for two reasons. One, there was no Master Game Schedule. Two, our lovely Director, Mary Jo Corsetti, organized the weekly schedule because our fields were available at different times each week. After spending the last two weeks setting up the Fall Schedule my hat is off to my mother for many years of putting together schedules week after week.

Because this criticism ranked highest among the things AYL could improve on, I set out to find a quality program that would allow us to provide all members with a Master Game Schedule. Well, I lucked out tremendously with League Toolbox. This company creates and continually improves upon a host of league management software tools. On top of ridiculously good and timely customer support, League Toolbox knew more about creating schedules than I thought possible.

Because of League Toolbox’s tools, this season we offer three distinct methods of viewing the Fall Ball Schedule:

  • Download the Master Game Schedule
    • Perfect if you want to cross out games as we move through the season.
  • Dynamic Master Game Schedule: http://ayllax.leaguetoolbox.com/league/schedule.php
    • This schedule allows you to select “division” and “team”
    • For example, select “3/4th Grade” and “Outlaws,” and you will be directed to the Outlaw’s Individual Team Schedule
  • Individual Team Websites Next Game Banner
    • Get familiar with your team’s website. Every time you visit the homepage you will see a list of upcoming games on the left, and a large banner displaying your team’s next game, opponent, location, and time.

Remember, all of this information is accessible at: www.ayllax.com/master-game-schedule. If you forget when to show up for a game just check the schedule, and it will be there waiting for you.

Finally, I put together a short video tutorial. This video details how to access the Master Game Schedule, and all the different formats it is presented in.

As always, if you have comments or questions, please post them below in the comment section.

Cheers,
Gordon

The Help Line

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The help line is an imaginary line than runs through the middle of the field from goal to goal. Teaching youth players about the help line will help them understand how to push their opponent away from the goal and where to go in an emergency. The diagram below details where the help line is:

The Help Line

The Help Line

Splitting the field in half gives your defense a “no man’s land” that exists directly in front of the goal. When playing one-on-one, or man, defense, players should focus on pushing their opponent to the left or right of the help line. This keeps the offensive player from getting an easy shot on goal from dead center, which happens to be the highest percentage area for a shot. By pushing the offensive players down the left and right side of the help line, the angle of each shot degrades with every step.

The help line is also an emergency beacon. Each youth player I work with learns about “Going Home” when things go bad. I define bad as you: lose your man, forget where to slide, don’t know where the ball is, or are completely confused. Any of those situations should have alarm bells ringing in the player’s head that something is awry.

“Going Home” means drop everything you are doing and get a few yards in front of the cage. No defenseman can defend anything is he is lost on the outskirts of the restraining lines, but, if he goes home, he will at least be close to where the action is generally high. Once home, the player can focus on finding his man. Plus, while he is finding his opponent, he can slide, knock down passes, or check sticks if a pass comes through the crease. Remember players, if you are lost “Go Home” first and then work from there.

Go Home!

Go Home!

Lastly, the help line builds as players grow older. Some higher-level defensive packages rely on splitting the field in half and directing offensive play away from the center of the field. If your players are exposed to the help line early, they will understand the intricacies that come later much faster.

Featured Image Credit – www.laxbuzz.com

Cheers,
Gordon

Poor Decisions part one

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Much to my dismay, every day I grow older my parents get smarter. Even today at twenty-two years old I am still getting owned by their wealth of life experiences.

After three days stuck in the house during Atlanta’s most recent snowstorm the walls were closing in on me. I decided to leave the house and go to the bank and the grocery store. In my mind these were critical errands that needed doing. My mom disagreed. We both knew that the roads around the house were still icy but I was determined to travel on.

1998 Jeep Cherokee

1998 Jeep Cherokee

Convinced of my ability to drive slowly on icy roads I sauntered out to my car. The whole while my mother was probably thinking, “he has no idea what he is getting himself into.” I did not know what I was getting into. She did because she was born on Long Island, NY and knows how difficult icy hills can be.

On the third attempt I escaped my driveway and started towards my old elementary school on the way to the bank. All the while going about five miles per hour. I meandered down a slight hill while the back end of my Jeep slowly swayed from side to side on the icy road.

Turning left at the stop sign I had to go up. This did not go well. In fact it took me two tries to crest the hill. The whole while thinking to myself, “I’ve got this,” but of course what goes up must go down. Down was not fun. My foot pushed firmly on the brake as I imperceptibly slid down the hill. The grade was not terrible and the road leveled out but there was a second decline that was much steeper. I was never getting down that hill safely. My brain finally made the connection that my mom made twenty minutes earlier, “you have no idea what you’ve gotten yourself into.” I finally listened and pulled the car to the side of the road, popped the e-break, locked the doors, and walked home.

So now my beloved Jeep is stuck a half mile away from home and I might not get it back home until Saturday. All I had to do to avoid this situation was listen to my mom’s passive agressive way of telling me I should stay in. “Gordon, you know the roads are pretty icy” = “Gordon you are absolutely clueless and while I will not force you to stay in I will laugh hysterically when you realize how deep you’ve stepped into the #@$*.”

Fortunately my poor decision is not a total loss because I get to explain why I made such a poor decision. Check the blog tomorrow for Part Two of “Poor Decisions” for a little insight into the adolescent brain and how coaches and parents can use this insight when dealing with young players.

Cheers,
Gordon