Is the Spring Elmira Youth Lacrosse Program by Southport Rec. a travel team program or a rec. league?
The answer is neither. Lacrosse programs in the area fall into three broad categories: recreational league, select tournament (travel) teams, and non-select travel teams. The spring lacrosse program by SRA is a non-select travel team.
SRA/Elmira Youth Lacrosse does have a rec. league available as an option each year in the summer. The players get stick time and develop their individual skills. Because the ball is on the ground quite a bit, not much is developed in the way of team offense and defense.
Select tournament teams are available in our area as well. Lax Dreams and Gaffer Elite are both clubs in the Twin Tiers Region. By putting together only the best players from the area, much more can be done to up their game. There are also teams in Rochester, Syracuse, and Binghamton. These teams are highly recommended if your player can make the cut and you are able to afford the fees.
Our spring program, like all the teams in the Finger Lakes Lacrosse League, does not have cuts. We do take all the players who sign up until maximum capacity is reached. The philosophy is that it is simply too early in a player’s development to eliminate players from the game of lacrosse. We want to deliver as much quality lacrosse instruction as possible to for a wide base of lascrosse players in the Elmira area.
Last year the program had more than enough players for one team on each grade level but was not been able to field two teams per level. This presented some difficulties as we strive to introduce lacrosse to as many players as posssible while maintaining a quality program. This year we expect to field a second team at the 5-6 and 3-4 grades levels.
The program’s goal is to elevate all players’ level of skill over the course of the year, for both the beginner and the returning player. We accomplish this by playing the real game of lacrosse. We also have very reasonable costs making the program available to a broader base of young people.
The game of lacrosse is very exciting and involves individual skills and team defense and offense to move the ball out of our end and advance it into the opponent’s goal. The object of the game is to score more goals than the other team and we never discourage the boys’ natural desire to win. Striving to win as a team provides motivation and focus for these young players during practices and games. This allows us to deliver more instruction to the players. For this reason the objective on game day is to win our games by a margin of 2-3 goals by playing better lacrosse than our opponents. You can be sure that our opponents are trying to win, too.
At this point it must be said that there are limitations on what can be done with our youngest players in the K-2 grades. Their games will ressemble rec. league ball somewhat but will have the added excitement of playing teams from different towns. The kids really love it.
Why win by 2-3 goals? No sense of running up the score. Whenever a lead opens up it is time to maximize time given to the kids who are presently behind the others in their skills. On the other hand, without a couple goals margin the other team can quickly come back to win. In the case of a loss, the game is reviewed at the next practice, de-emphasized and quickly forgotten. We learn from our mistakes and move on.
To accomplish playing a real lacrosse game with players of varied ability is no easy thing. Each coach will distribute the players as they see fit. Having some players with higher ability at attack, midfield and defense allows the team to continue to transition the ball from the defensive end to the offensive end. Other players are able to then step into a game that resembles lacrosse and not bad field hockey. Again, each coach will have the lattitude to tackle the difficult issue of playing time and player positions as he sees fit to advance the level of play of all the players on the team.
Finally in regard to playing time it must be noted that the game of involves rotations of midfield lines. These lines run hard on a big field. These players will rotate often and there will be at least three lines of middies on a good lacrosse team. The playing time doesn’t always add up to big minutes. This is inherent to the game of lacrosse and is to be expected.
We have seen great improvements in the level of lacrosse in Elmira. All three types of programs, rec. ball, non-select travel, and elite clubs have helped along the way. I hope this will help parents and players understand the benefits and limitations of our spring program at Elmira Youth Lacrosse.
Southport Recreation Association/Elmira Youth Lacrosse
Spring Lacrosse Program Coordinator