small ball

For discussions regarding play below the high school varsity level

Re: small ball

New postby McMonkey on Mon May 14, 2018 3:02 pm

A response to . . .

thatsmell wrote:http://www.uslacrosse.org/blog/small-ball-a-new-approach-to-lacrosse-player-development

I think this is one of the most important and critical trends in youth lacrosse. It needs to be embraced.
Play small, ball, and keep those kids touching the game. Any way possible. AND make it fun for them.

Elite club teams do a great job of developing talent, but they also (purposefully?) keep the game away from the masses.
Looking at thread titles like "where does my youth club rank?!" etc if further proof.

Nowadays, at many of the top h/s teams, if you don't make varsity your sophomore year in h.s. you're considered a failure. Conversely we also have kids that are signing letters of intent to play for top college programs that haven't played a varsity game yet. What is wrong with this picture?

The reality is many kids peak before puberty. Most kids don't develop until they are in middle/high school. The more kids we can keep in the game until that point, the better. I can't tell you how many great players I've seen that "came from nowhere" their sophomore and Jr years in h/s.

Small ball is part of the solution.

Share the article, get your rec leagues and motivated local parents involved. For the good of the game, please!

:clap:


I really do not know what to say. I have been coaching for 31 years at every single level, and if I can say anything about youth development, it has been said up above me.

Practice
1. Stick skills from three distances: close with hands high/ten yards of so/Alley-pass distance
2. Triangle work -- catch and switch, carry and throwback, roll out, etc.
3. 1 v 1 work and Team D work

Then!!!!!

Speedlax principles and box principles and side-to-side 7 v 7, 7 v 6, 6 v 6, 5 v 5, 5 v 4.

Until the cows come home.

When will this change?????
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Re: small ball

New postby thatsmell on Wed May 23, 2018 11:52 am

Monkey,
What triangle drills do you use?
I generally just put kids in groups of threes around a crease and let them practice moving, cutting and dodging "as a unit."
The rules are the kids need to move together as a unit (cut through if a guy comes at you, fill space that was vacated) and keep the stick to the outside when passing.

Anyone have a "best drill" they would like to share?
"I never knew no Godfather. I got my own family, Senator."
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Re: small ball

New postby PeteStreet on Sun May 27, 2018 3:54 pm

HawkBall wrote:Our season is going great despite many rain/snow cancelations. We are in Kansas City which is about as far from a hot-bed as it gets. We have adopted USL youth rules nearly wholesale except for a running clock which causes it's own problems. Our philosophy was '"lets keep it as simple as we can for as long as we can". That turned out to be 12U. We split about half and half with some clubs electing to field 12U full field teams and some clubs sticking with 12U 7v7. Some have found the 12U 7v7 field a bit tight for 6th graders. I prefer it as it is a bit like box lacrosse.

We have followed Denver in their age eligibility by splitting one single year divisions from 12U down (12U, 11U, 10U, 9U, 8U). We have given a three month allowance over USL DOB rules so kids can mostly play with their classmates or if I team wants a bigger challenge they can all play up as a team much easier than making a two year jump where there is no 11U or 9U.

I was witness to a rough 10U game early in the season. The official (HS kid) had little clue of what he was doing and the opposing coach was taking full advantage. The modified checking was completely ignored. The team was cross-checking, one-hand checking, tomahawk-chop checking and cross-checking in the back. When I confronted the opposing coach, who was decked out in Case gear, he stated that this small ball was not real lacrosse. He stated the kids should play 10 v 10 and we were never going to catch up with the Northeast. I told him the point was never to catch up with anyone. It was baffling. Kids were going going down all over the field. I was not coaching but on the bench. I recommended to my coach to pull the kids and end the game but he wanted to stick it out (no pun intended).

The other 10U games I have watched were nothing close to this one. I thought about his comments later. When kids play coach-pitch or machine-pitch baseball no one says "This is not real baseball. These kids are going to suck". Everybody understands what they are watching and why. In our youth football we don't have a specialized player for long snapping the ball. We don't have field goal kickers in youth football. Everybody gets that you modify rules to keep the game simple for kids and coaches. Well almost everyone gets it.


How would a team from one league that plays 7v7 play a team from another league that does standard 10v10? Are other coaches/teams/leagues generally willing to cater to those that can only support a 7v7-sized team? I ask because I'm in charge of starting a youth league by next spring and its a real possibility we won't have enough registered to have full-sized teams. My preference would be to simply combine age groups/teams when we find out after registration that we don't have enough for the full set of divisions, however its been suggested that we try for the small ball style as well, an idea which I'm honestly very hesitant to support. I get small ball for places like Kansas where it could take a decade or more to gain enough of a core group of youth lacrosse players, but we are in Virginia, so I'd rather get everyone started 10v10 if we can swing it. I worry if we did something like 7v7 for certain age divisions for our club, that other teams or leagues might not want to play against us if they'd have to play a different format. If we then couldn't even get enough teams scheduled, it would end up being a wasted season. But on the other hand it if turns out that we simply do not have the numbers our first year, I'd be willing to try it out for sure to get the youth out there playing.
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Re: small ball

New postby HawkBall on Sun May 27, 2018 7:03 pm

Pete: We were curious as wether it would work or not. Our league elected to provide a division for 12U full field, 12U 7v7 and 11U 7v7. Some clubs elected to place all their players/teams in the 12U Full Field divisions. Some placed all players/team in the 12U 7v7. Some did a mix of both. Our league schedules our regular season games for us. My club elected to place all our players in the 7v7 format and enough of the other clubs did so too that we had enough for an 8 game season. The 12U full field division had seven teams so they repeated a match-up against two opponents. We placed our teams in the 7v7 out of choice with the philosophy of keeping it as simple as we can for as long as we can. It is very difficult to hide a lower skilled player in 7v7. They are forced to participated. Since the field is smaller you don't have to focus very much on conditioning and you can use that practice time for skills development. We did find the 60 yard field a bit tight for the 12Us so our club expanded the field to 70 yards which is allowable by USL rule.
I don't know if this answers your question but it's our belief that the format helped skills development. It also helped the coaches give better instruction as they were not yelling across a full field. Here is a link to our standings page which gives you an idea of the league: http://kcyll.com/Standings.asp?org=KCYLL.COM
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Re: small ball

New postby PeteStreet on Mon May 28, 2018 4:51 am

Thanks for the reply HawkBall, I appreciate it. That's a great perspective on the 7v7 format, I can see why it's attractive now; I hadn't realized there would be those sorts of benefits. Your info is helpful, I'm still not positive it would work out in our area since we'd probably have to get other clubs/leagues on board with the format from the start of the season (otherwise I could see a team jumping back and forth between formats from week to week could get rather confusing for players/coaches).

However if we end up having to go the small ball route out of necessity (lack of registrants), I think your info makes me feel a lot more comfortable with making that decision to give it a try. I have some time before fall registration so this will give me a little more to think about. Once we get a league started, the youth will have essentially zero playing experience at first, so something that is more focused on building skills rather than having to account for conditioning wouldn't be a bad thing at all.
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Re: small ball

New postby woodenstick on Tue May 29, 2018 2:02 pm

HawkBall wrote:Our season is going great despite many rain/snow cancelations. We are in Kansas City which is about as far from a hot-bed as it gets. We have adopted USL youth rules nearly wholesale except for a running clock which causes it's own problems. Our philosophy was '"lets keep it as simple as we can for as long as we can". That turned out to be 12U. We split about half and half with some clubs electing to field 12U full field teams and some clubs sticking with 12U 7v7. Some have found the 12U 7v7 field a bit tight for 6th graders. I prefer it as it is a bit like box lacrosse.

We have followed Denver in their age eligibility by splitting one single year divisions from 12U down (12U, 11U, 10U, 9U, 8U). We have given a three month allowance over USL DOB rules so kids can mostly play with their classmates or if I team wants a bigger challenge they can all play up as a team much easier than making a two year jump where there is no 11U or 9U.

I was witness to a rough 10U game early in the season. The official (HS kid) had little clue of what he was doing and the opposing coach was taking full advantage. The modified checking was completely ignored. The team was cross-checking, one-hand checking, tomahawk-chop checking and cross-checking in the back. When I confronted the opposing coach, who was decked out in Case gear, he stated that this small ball was not real lacrosse. He stated the kids should play 10 v 10 and we were never going to catch up with the Northeast. I told him the point was never to catch up with anyone. It was baffling. Kids were going going down all over the field. I was not coaching but on the bench. I recommended to my coach to pull the kids and end the game but he wanted to stick it out (no pun intended).

The other 10U games I have watched were nothing close to this one. I thought about his comments later. When kids play coach-pitch or machine-pitch baseball no one says "This is not real baseball. These kids are going to suck". Everybody understands what they are watching and why. In our youth football we don't have a specialized player for long snapping the ball. We don't have field goal kickers in youth football. Everybody gets that you modify rules to keep the game simple for kids and coaches. Well almost everyone gets it.


Haha, I guess he does not realize that the Northeast teams ARE 7v7 or similar for 10U pretty much everywhere, and do not allow 1 handed checks, tomahawks, take out checks, etc. 10v 10 and high school rules will substantially reduce the amount of touches and skilled play, and hurt player development. In a developing area, 10v10 ensures that you will not develop skilled players.
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Re: small ball

New postby HawkBall on Tue May 29, 2018 4:03 pm

Woodenstick, Thanks for confirming. It was my suspicion that the Northeast already did move to USL recommended rules. I was going to comment something to that affect but decided to just let things be. It's unlikely that our market ever will catch up with densely populated areas like the east coast simply because lacrosse is built in the culture there from pre-k to D1. Without the growth of D1 mens to mirror that of D1 women's it will be difficult to keep up.
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