Tag Archives: National

The 2013 US Lacrosse National Convention

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I am pleased to announce that my father, Lou Corsetti, and I will be speaking at the 2013 US Lacrosse National Convention! This is my Dad’s fourteen time speaking at the convention, but it is my very first and I am incredibly excited. Being selected as a presenter is a tremendous honor, and I am looking forward to representing Atlanta Youth Lacrosse at the convention.

So what in the world are we speaking about? My Dad’s presentation is entitled, “This Is Not Working – Changing Your Practice Without Changing Your Foundation.” He will be presenting on the Demo Field during the convention, which is a mini sprint-turf field used to demonstrate drills and plays for the coaches watching the presentation. Coach Lou decided on his topic after his 2012 Lacrosse season with the Riverwood Raiders. Shortly before the middle of the season he revamped all of his practice plans because the team was not performing up to the standards of the coaching staff. Mainly, the team could not pick up ground balls. So he went back to basics with multiple drills designed to improve his team’s ability to pick up ground balls, and by the end of the season they were decidedly a ground ball team.

My presentation is geared towards U9 and U11 coaches and is entitled, “Putting The ‘I’ In Team: Getting Individuals To Play For One Another.” The presentation will cover the following four topics:

  • Practice drills emphasizing the basics and more advanced drills that build upon those basics.
  • Set plays and formations that were successful in U11 games.
  • A coaching philosophy that can be applied to any U11 team.
  • Successfully managing parent expectations.

While I’ve coached many youth teams over the years, I decided to apply to speak at the convention following my summer spent as the head coach for the U11 Coyotes Team. I had a blast coaching this group of young players, but what got me truly excited was seeing how the players interacted with one another from the first game of the travel season to the last game. In our first game, players were still learning to trust their teammates to do their jobs on the field. By the end of our first tournament the team had gelled into one unit, and by the last game of the season they all knew their buddy had their back on and off the field. That meant more to me than any of the wins we earned during the summer.

As I’ve done over the past two years, I will be live-blogging the convention while I’m up in Philadelphia. So definitely stay tuned to the AYL Blog as we get closer to the convention.

Cheers,
Gordon

 

Lax-4-Life

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I was first introduced to Lax-4-Life at the 2012 US Lacrosse National Convention. I was wandering through the Expo hall looking at the various vendors and organizations that were represented. Then, when I was about to leave the Expo hall I caught sight of a bright yellow logo, which happened to be the Lax-4-Life logo. Next to the logo were the words “Playing For Suicide Prevention Awareness.” I chatted with the girls running the booth and bought a Lax-4-Life shirt, which happens to be one of my favorite tshirts now.

After buying my new shirt I left the Expo hall to attend various officiating presentations, but the mission of Lax-4-Life stuck with me throughout the convention weekend. According to the about page of Lax-4-Life’s website, this is a “national lacrosse campaign to provide and support programs geared toward adolescent and young adult suicide prevention awareness.” With a mission like that I wanted to involve myself in a small way to help spread the word about this organization.

I reached out to Alicia Groveston, a member of the Lax-4-Life Board of Directors, asking if Lax-4-Life would be interested in an interview piece for the Atlanta Youth Lacrosse Blog. Aside from coaching strategy, sideline behavior, and X’s and O’s, I also want this blog to showcase lacrosse organizations that are giving back to the lacrosse community in positive and special ways. I believe that Lax-4-Life’s mission is incredibly worthwhile and important considering how close-knit the lacrosse community is. With that said, I hope you enjoy the following interview with Alicia!

How did Lax-4-Life start? 

Lax4Life began as an idea in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. The idea was proposed by Ginny Martino (HC @ West Chester University) at our coaches meeting to tackle an issue that was very personal to her and her team, suicide prevention awareness. Only a short time before, the little sister of her goalie committed suicide at the age of 16. She asked if we would be interested in supporting the Allyson Rose Green Foundation and 10 schools said yes. We held a week in March where we all bought tshirts, asked for donations and took pictures in support.  That fall (2009) I brought it up to Ginny about asking the Division II membership if they would be interested. She absolutely agreed and myself, Ginny and Kristen Selvage (HC @ Lock Haven University) took this on as a labor of love. That year we had 36 teams participate across D2. We still didn’t feel we were doing all we could, so we decided to create Lax-4-Life, Inc. a non-profit 501-C organization to focus on suicide prevention and awareness for youth and young adults. From there we have had over 100+ schools participate and multiple high schools and youth organizations organize games and support our cause.

What is the Lax-4-Life mission? 

Our mission is really two fold – the before and after of suicide. We are working toward erasing the stigma attached to suicide and depression, while educating people on the resources and options available to them in terms of counseling, support groups, and other resources. We feel like there isn’t enough education out there to help our young people, who have so pressures today (high school drama, college choices, parental troubles, the wavering economy, the overexposure on the internet, etc) to help them know they aren’t alone and that the world would never be better without them. For those of us who are left behind after suicide, we aren’t really sure how to react and go on. We also wanted to help people who are dealing with the after effects find an outlet for their pain and be able to move forward.

How did you get involved with Lax-4-Life? 

I was coaching in the PSAC when the idea was brought up by Ginny. All three of us, Kristen, Ginny and myself have all had very personal experiences with suicide from the siblings or boyfriends of current player to family members. I have had too many friends over my 31 years who have taken their own lives. It leaves a void and a lot of unanswered questions. The one that really inspired me to do something occurred at the end of the summer of 2008. The husband of a very good friend to our lacrosse program at Gannon committed suicide, five days before his second child was born. Our players really struggled with this and how to help her, while helping themselves. I wanted to help them so I started researching and really gravitated to this when it was brought up to us.

How do you get the word out about Lax-4-Life? 

We’ve really tried to do this right and that began with starting small. We want to be able to be involved as much as we can with the events that take place in our areas and support the people who are supporting us. Most of our exposure and growth is attributed to our bringing L4L to our IWLCA (Intercollegiate Womens Lacrosse Coaches Association) over the last 3 years and getting different Divisions of lacrosse involved in holding games and spreading the message. In January of 2012 we purchased space at the US Lacrosse Convention in Philly and really got a great reaction. We have been really lucky that high schools in Pennsylvania, Michigan and New York have hosted over 25 Lax4Life games through just word of mouth. Our hope is that we can have a presence in every state that sponsors youth, middle or high school lacrosse.

Do you partner with any other organizations that try and help prevent adolescent and young adult suicide? 

We have been a huge supporter of the Allyson Rose Green Foundation at www.allysonsfund.org/HOME.html, We have also donated to multiple local and national organizations.

What has been the general reaction to people seeing Lax-4-Life for the first time? 

Initially people think it’s a cool name or a neat tshirt design, and then they see exactly what we are trying to do and working towards. From there they are intrigued and usually share a story about a person they knew who took their own life. Once they share, you can almost see the relief on their faces when they realize they aren’t alone. For us, lacrosse is just the vehicle for us to be able to share our message and really try to make a difference. We are very lucky to have an opportunity to try to make a difference and people are unbelievably candid and interested in getting involved.

Finally, what words of encouragement do you have to young athletes who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide?

The world will never be a better place without you; your parents, your friends and your community wont be okay if you aren’t in the world. There are so many people out there who share your fears, your doubts and your struggles. It sounds cliché, but you aren’t alone and suicide is not a dirty word. We need to be able to share without fear of repercussion or stigma; find that one person who you are comfortable with and be you! Have confidence in you and what you bring to the table. As the saying goes, “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”

If you are interested learning more about Lax-4-Life, please visit their website at www.lax-4-life.org. If you are interested in contacting Lax-4-Life I highly recommend visiting their Contact Page.

As the saying goes, if one life is spared because of Lax-4-Life’s outreach then their effort is absolutely worth it. I believe that Lax-4-Life will help far more than just one person.

Cheers,
Gordon

Off The Book Rules

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If you run lacrosse league you need to cover all of the rules that will apply to every division. Atlanta Youth Lacrosse uses the USL Boys Lacrosse Rules, which are slightly modified from NFHS rules, as our foundation governing play at all levels. The general AYL rules may be found on the “Complete League Rules” page.

Next, you need to specify the rules in each division. We find it convenient to split the first and second grade rules apart from everyone else since the differences are significant. The third through twelfth grade rules govern play for each of these age groups, because the rule changes are slight for each age level. So it is simpler to keep these rules together and highlight the differences.

We covered the general rules, and the division-specific rules. Now, we can cover what I call “off the book” rules. These are the rules that pertain specifically to Atlanta Youth Lacrosse.

We borrowed some from other leagues, and created a few of our own. These rules help AYL staff and coaches improve player development, and they help create a relaxed atmosphere that promotes good sportsmanship. If you run your own lacrosse league, or are a parent involved in one, I highly suggest finding a way to use these rules in your program. We have used them for years and they always benefit our league. Just remember to apply them consistently if you want them to work.

  • Rule 1 – This is Youth Lacrosse
    • You would be surprised at the amount of people who think a fifth and sixth grade lacrosse game is equivalent to the NFC championship. I officiated a game at a different league years ago, where people were hanging off the stadium guard rails to yell at the coaches, officials, and players.
    • This rule is critical to follow if you want to establish an atmosphere that is about the kids and not the people yelling in row C. All of the following rules are really ways to remind players, coaches, and parents that we are playing a game at the youth level.
You Do Not Talk About Fight Club

You Do Not Talk About Fight Club

  • Rule 2 – This is Still Youth Lacrosse
    • I can’t give up a Fight Club reference, but I want to stress the point that we are playing a game. Coaches, parents, and staff always need to remember that this is about the kids having fun. Keep repeating this mantra, and everyone will join the youth lacrosse train.
  • Rule 3 – No One-Handed Stick Checks
    • This is generally reserved for the first through fourth grade leagues, but it can be applied to any age division if checking gets sloppy. Any and all one-handed stick checks are considered a “slash” if this rule is enforced.
  • Rule 4 – The Uncontrollable Stick
    • Any stick check that the official feels is uncontrollable is a “slash.” Even if the stick does not make contact with the other player. This is a great rule if you are trying to cut down on stick swinging. Inform the players that two hands on the stick, and raised to the shoulder is more than strong enough to dislodge a ball. Baseball bat swings, golf-ball swings, and behind the back checks, can and should be considered uncontrollable if this rule is applied to a game.
  • Rule 5 – No Horns. Mandatory Substitutions
    • This is a new rule for AYL that we are moving to for our first through sixth grade divisions. Every five or six minutes the clock is stopped for mandatory substitutions. Whoever is on the bench goes onto the field, and the players on the field go to the bench. This helps to enforce equal playing time and gets coaches used to the usual substitution flow for lacrosse, which is usually five or six minutes. This rule only applies when the ball is settled or dead. We will not stop the action of a potential shot on goal to get a mandatory substitution. Wait for the shot to be taken, then stop the clock.
    • Teams can still sub on-the-fly at any point during the game. Just no horns.
  • Rule 5 – Goalie Clears the Ball after a Goal
    • We usually apply this rule during Winter Ball because it gives kids less down time after a goal. Generally, a faceoff is set and ready to go after fifteen seconds. If each team scores five goals thats 150 seconds of dead time. By clearing the ball after every goal, the players get roughly two to three minutes of extra playing time.
  • Rule 6 – The No Rake Rule
    • Raking the ball results in a turnover. This is my personal favorite because after two weeks of consistent enforcement, nearly every player, at every level is running through the ball instead of stopping to rake it into their sticks. Players get the hint that they are supposed to run through the ball instead of stopping to pick it up. This speeds up the game and drastically decreases the amount of scrums that can occur at the younger age levels.
    • Atlanta Youth Lacrosse will apply this rule in the fall for all grades under seventh.
  • Rule 7 – Positive Cheering
    • I went into lots of detail with the Positive Cheering Post a while back. The short version of this rule is that whenever spectators get overly excited in a negative way. By which I mean: any type of cursing or “knock him dead” comments. If this happens, the game stops but the clock runs for one minute. If the person/people act up again, the game stops but the clock runs for two minutes. After the third stoppage, we ask the individuals to leave. Nothing calms a sideline down more quickly than messing with every kids’ game time.
  • Rule 8 – No One-Handed Ground Balls
    • I believe this is a coach’s best friend during a team practice, but it should not be implemented during a game. After all, sometimes it is appropriate to pick the ball up with one hand, so long as the player is running through the ball. Enforcing this rule during practice by having everyone do pushups or run a lap when they do a one-handed scoop will condition players to get low and run through the ball with two hands. Which is the method that gets the highest likelihood of success.
  • Rule 9 – The 24 Hour Rule
    • AYL implemented the 24 Hour rule a few years ago when handling concerns, complaints, or issues after a game/practice. Anytime anyone has something they want to say about how a game or practice was handled, they must wait 24 hours before emailing our office. This provides everyone on both sides of the issue time to cool off and gain perspective on the problem. Additionally, we do not allow anyone to accost a coach, official, or staff member in person while at an AYL event. We want anyone who has an issue to contact AYL through appropriate channels, and the 24 Hour rule helps accomplish this.

That covers the off-the-book rules that Atlanta Youth Lacrosse has enforced in the past. Don’t try to use all of these at once at your own league. Pick one or two, but make one of them the no-rake rule (seriously, it does wonders). Then have your officials and staff enforce them consistently. These rules do no good if they are applied every so often. They must be applied with conviction if you want them to work.

If you have any questions about these rules, or have an off-the-book rule to suggest, please comment below.

Featured Image Credit – www.tbloa.org

Cheers,
Gordon