Tag Archives: time out

Every Lacrosse Signal

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This week is Rules/Officiating week. Two quick things before we dive in: The last post of the week will detail an officiating camp open to all 5th-12th grade AYL players, and any parents who are interested in officiating. Second, I will be detailing youth rules that may not be implemented in your local league. I highly encourage fellow youth lacrosse leagues to consider implementing one or two of the rules I will discuss that drastically improve player skills and are easy to get the hang of. Now, onto every lacrosse signal!

During my sideline Q & A sessions, I often get asked what a particular signal means. I explain the offsides signal, crease violation signal, illegal procedure signal, and more. I always get eyeballs that light up in understanding from the fans, especially youth parents who are brand new to the game. This sideline Q & A is not just great for the fans, it also helps me and my officiating partner during the second half. Because all the fans now recognize that the official knows the game, and they relax and enjoy the game even more since they now know what the officials are signaling.

All official lacrosse signals can be found in the back pages of the NFHS Boys Lacrosse Rulebook. They are broken down into three categories:

  1. Procedural Signals (timeouts, goals, stalling, counts, failure to advance, etc)
  2. Personal Fouls (slashing, tripping, unsportsmanlike conduct, ejection, etc)
  3. Technical Fouls (pushing, illegal procedure, warding, conduct foul, etc)

The video below details every signal in the back of the NFHS rulebook. After watching it you will be able to identify what any US Lacrosse-trained official is signaling during any lacrosse game. Also, any youth players who are interested in officiating can improve their signaling by practicing the signals in this video.


Cheers,
Gordon

Avoid the Snowball Effect

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One player drops a pass. Then a second, and a third. Suddenly, every player cannot pick up a ground ball and every shot is wide of the cage. What is going wrong?

The answer – your team fell victim to the snowball effect. This effect is “descriptive of an entity or situation where something once small and relatively insignificant grows exponentially at a swift pace, engulfing everything in its path” (urbandictionary.com). The problem with the snowball effect is the symptoms are originally small and hard to detect. A missed ground ball quickly turns the ball over to the other team and your team deflates. Ultimately, the team cannot get over the accumulation of small missteps and the game is lost far before it ends.

Repeated Mistakes = Avalanche!

Repeated Mistakes = Avalanche!

We see this in every professional sport. A pitcher cannot find the plate for two innings. The coach comes out says “Man, just relax and forget about those two innings.” During a football game, the special teams give up huge chunks of yards on every kickoff in the first half. During halftime the coach says, “Fellas, calm down. We still have two more quarters to go.” After those little pep talks, most players at the professional level dust themselves off and forget about their poor performance. Then they strike out the next three batters or pin the offense at the two yard line.

Yet, we cannot make the mistake of treating youth players like professional athletes. The same strategies for halting the snowball effect do not apply. The reason is that most kids get down on themselves if they make too many mistakes. They do not have the experience to say, “ok, I screwed up earlier, but that is behind me now.” Instead, every mistake builds on itself and leads to the next one, and the next one. Until the player is too afraid to move.

Stopping the snowball effect in a game starts with practicing failure. If this sounds odd, that is because it is. If practice makes perfect then how come teams that do well in practice come up short in games? It is because they did not practice how to fail on the field. Ever see a player get the ball checked out of his stick and just stand there wondering how he let that happen? Or the player who misses a ground ball, who decides to wallow in self-pity instead of turning around and making a play. These situations happen all of the time at the youth level because kids think it is the end of the world if they screw up with everyone watching them. Practicing failure steels players against self-pity, and dejection.

Properly practicing failure requires an environment that welcomes mistakes as an opportunity to improve. Tell your players that making a mistake will never make you upset, but standing still and forgetting to play after a mistake will draw your ire. To develop this skill take a few minutes each practice and make your players feed poor passes to one another. If they catch the ball, great. If not, they learn to forget about the bad pass and run to pick up the ground ball behind them. Do a ground ball drill and tell the players to miss the ground ball, then turn around and pick it up. Forcing your players into situations where they experience failure teaches them how to forget about it and move onto the next play.

The next time your team starts to snowball in a game, call a time out. When they circle around you, remind them how you practiced never to give up on the play. Remind them that you do not care if they make mistakes, only that they try and fix them. Do this and see that snowball get smaller and smaller. Until it finally disappears.

Featured Image Credit – www.people-equation.com

Cheers,
Gordon