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SixFifty Lacrosse is excited to announce the Summer 2018 schedule for our SeaWolves Select Travel Team programs for 10U, 12U, & 14U. The SeaWolves teams are designed to give talented and dedicated young lacrosse players the opportunity to take their game to the next level with enhanced next-level training and to play against higher-level competition while interacting with messages, leadership lessons, and team-building activities designed to foster social and emotion growth as well. These program are a complement to, not a replacement for, players’ regular season club teams.

Much of our coaching philosophy has been developed using effective tools like John Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success,” Joe Erhmann’s “Inside Out Coaching,” and the Long Term Athlete Development Model used in Olympic athlete development. In the “LTADM,” boys of 9-12 years of age fall under the “Learning to Train” phase while boys of 12-16 years of age fall under the “Train to Train” phase. The key to success for both age groups is focusing on the process and development of good habits, as opposed to just winning at all costs or excellent individual outcome alone.

This is a critical time of life athletically, socially, and psychologically. We must gauge the progress of each child individually and thoughtfully, keeping in mind that development during these years can be part of a broad spectrum of capabilities. There is no cookie- cutter formula for teaching young athletes!

Each team is comprised of players invited to a Try-Out session and evaluated according to athletic, social, and emotional factors as related to lacrosse. The purpose of these evaluations is not to hastily put together a collection of skilled individuals alone but rather to develop a cohesive group of young people that are motivated and committed to growing and learning together. Age-appropriate social maturity and ability to cope with challenging situations will be as important as stick skills and knowledge of the game.

“My son had a great time playing with the SeaWolves last fall/winter, making great friends, playing new positions and improving his skills. Case in point, my son went from playing starting defense on the Coyotes “B” team last year to playing starting middie on the Coyotes “A” this year. A lot of the credit goes to Matt and JT.” – Robert Dykes

“My son has told me that the most fun he’s had playing lacrosse was playing Seawolves last summer and fall.” – Jeff Swope

  • 8 SUMMER PRACTICES (10U/12U/14U):
    • Saturdays June 2, 9; 10:00am-12:00pm Training Camp
    • Thursdays June 14, 21, 28; July 5, 12, 19; 5:30-7:00pm
  • BAY UNITED LACROSSE SERIES:
    • Saturday June 23
    • Saturday June 30
    • Friday July 6
    • Saturday July 21

EXPLANATION OF SUMMER FORMAT:

Throughout the Spring of 2018, I’ve been meeting with other like-minded coaches and program directors who share my philosophy and passion for developing youth lacrosse players. One of the topics that continually came up was the state of the “travel team and tournament scene.” While we are thrilled with the explosion of lacrosse, we have also been increasingly alarmed with rising fees (often $2,200 per team per tournament), the priority of tournament-play over development and lacrosse IQ, and the increased time burden that youth lacrosse places on families. Youth sports has become complicated. More complicated than it needs to be in my opinion. The question that came up was, “How can we get back to youth sports serving the needs of youth?” 
  • The big question we’ve been asking is, “How does the current tournament competition format serve the needs of the children playing?” and “Might there be a better way to meet the needs of kids?”
Tournaments have grown into massive, expensive events, often requiring flights, hotels, and full weekends away from home when players simply need to play with consistent teammates under the guidance of great coaching. Consider the following scenarios:
  1. How often have you sat baking on a sideline for 8 hours on Saturday and 5 hours on Sunday to watch three to five 40-minute games with selfish “all-star” lacrosse where a player that happened to hit an early growth spurt is encouraged to just “go to the goal.” Have you ever waited around for 2 hours only to discover that your opponent left early? 
  2. Competitive levels are all over the place at large tournaments because young people grow at different rates. Some games are won 15-2, other games are lost 2-15. The best games for players and fans alike are competitive, within a few goals, but are incredibly rare in large tournaments. I’d be willing to bet that your son’s best tournament experiences are in games that were won or lost by a few goals.
  3. Sandbagging: At this point in time, lacrosse tournaments operate on the honor system but too many clubs take advantage of the lack of a nationwide, US Lacrosse-based player certification process (like US Soccer has in place) and have older players “playing down” an age group with no accountability. Additionally, too often we see A level teams playing down to B level in order to “win” a tournament (and boast on their website). Young players need to be appropriately challenged to grow and develop even if it means losing a few games.
Without a doubt, tournaments can develop players and be fun (we’re not quite ready to throw out the baby with the bath water). However, might there be a way to address the downsides of tournament play while focusing more on what kids need? i.e. development, lots of playing time, and good competition. Glad you asked!
 
Myself and the directors of Bay Elite Lacrosse, Jerem Stothers and Elliot Bender, are working to put together a Summer Series of local Bay Area clubs to address the concerns that we see as adversely affecting the overall youth lacrosse experience and development of young players. This cohort of local clubs are uniting to provide outstanding coaching, first-rate development, and excellent competitive experiences in our own backyard at a reasonable cost. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for families to pay over $3,500 a year for an off-season lacrosse team. We believe that families don’t have to break the bank to see their kids grow, improve, and love the game.
 
We are working on scheduling 4 PlayDays throughout the summer with other local clubs where teams get to play ONE FULL GAME just like the regular season.
 
What are the benefits of this format?
  1. Format is one, real full-field game each day with full-time clock, not 3-5 shortened games over a long weekend. 
  2. Returns teachable moments to competition by allowing time-outs, quarter/halftime breaks
  3. Players will learn more and play more in one full game than 3 40min running-time games
  4. Local games, minimal travel (like NCJLA spring season)
  5. Shared mindset/philosophy among clubs on how to teach/coach/develop players
  6. Smaller format allows handpick referees and we will work with ref organization to get best referees
  7. All clubs are community-based programs, consistent local coaches, teams get to know each other and build friendships in lacrosse community
  8. Players will not get as run-down over an 8 hour tournament day. Multiple games can lead to more injuries and overtraining.
  9. One game per day gives families their weekends back.
  10. Better product, great competition at significantly lower cost.

We’re thrilled for the possibilities of this new format and believe it will meet the needs of young players more effectively and provide the development and fun that we all expect. Please let me know if you have any questions by dropping me an email at mtbond@jhu.edu. Thanks and hope to see you out on the field!

Warmly,

Coach Bond

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If you are interested in receiving an invitation to upcoming Try-Outs, please fill out the form below and we will be in touch. Thank you!