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Parent/Coach Meeting

Parent and Coach Conference Meeting Policies and Procedures

Expectations of Players

Anyone who would like to speak with the coaches needs to set up an appointment with us the following week.  There will be at least two (2) of YVL's staff to hear out your questions, thoughts or comments.  We'd be glad to set up lunch or coffee, or even if it's just set at a neutral location.  We really do give you, the families, our utmost respect and would love to hear everyone's concerns and comments.  Of course we'd love your son or daughter to attend this meeting as well, as it's important for their questions to be answered and for them to understand what's going on.  Please read through this and at the end you can set up a meeting if you still desire to do so.

At Yellowstone Valley Lacrosse we strive to ensure fair and reasonable playing time for each child competing for our lacrosse teams.  As coaches it is our job to ensure healthy competition to provide us daily grading for where a player is at in physical growth, advancement of their lacrosse technique, and continued progression of their lacrosse IQ.  We monitor everything, including attitude, drive, hustle, communication and heart, and we expect players to give it their all each and every day.  As such, every position is highly challenged for all week and no position is ever locked in for one player.  If you have progressed to a level that continually out-performs a roster spot above your current position, you will have earned that spot on the depth chart.  This works in reverse as well, and regression may cause a player to lose their position.

We consider there to be 14 starting positions on a lacrosse team (3 Attack, 3 Close Defenders, 1 Goalie, 3 Offensive Midfielders, 2 Short stick Defensive Midfielders, 1 Long stick Defensive Midfielder, 1 Face Off Midfielder).  Note, this is not the "starting lineup" presented before a game.  Often times, a player may encapsulate 2 of those positions on midfield, say, Face Off starter and Offensive starter.  In this scenario, if during practices a rising face off player were to continually grade above the incumbent starter, he could earn that starting position for the game that weekend.  It does not, however, guarantee he has also beaten out that player's offensive midfielder starting role.  It also does not guarantee he would keep the role for that point forward.  Complacency is neither desired nor tolerated, as competition does not have time for complacency.

There are also another 12 starting positions split into our Extra-Man Offense (EMO) and Man-Down Defense (MDD).  EMO typically garners our best ball handlers and passers (not necessarily shooters) and has 6 positions split up of midfielders and attackmen.  Our man-down defense is comprised of our best zone defenders; guys who are active with their sticks on defense and can get in and out of their zone quickly while moving their eyes (not necessarily our best man-to-man defenders).  MDD is comprised of 3 close defenders, 1 long stick defensive midfielder, and 1 defensive midfielder.  Any chance we have to work on these sets during the course of a game we will put these units in, as they need all the work they can get.  They work on these scenarios and plays in practice, earning them by showing the coaches they can handle these high pressure as well as high-risk/high-reward positions.

We ask our players to get better every day of practice, every quarter, every game, and every season.  Each week we start over again at 0-0, having put our previous game behind us and our next game in front of us.  It is not fair to require young men to attend every practice, as we are purely a club sport.  It is desired, as that is how players will improve their skills, but we understand that people need to work, play other sports, and, above all else, must focus on their academics.  Life also presents these young men with choices that they must make, as well as consequences for choices they may have made. Showing up late to practices, skipping games, constantly having excuses to miss practice; these are all events that notch negative marks on a player's assessment for increased playing time.    If a starter is unable to attend practice, this is the perfect time for a 2 or 3 on the depth chart to push hard to prove their worth in the starter's absence.  Hard work and dedication to learning the game will help, but above all the individual player must want it.  This is not something a coach or a parent can make happen, this is something the player must observe and desire.  That's their chance, relish in the opportunity.

Our program has taken major leaps forward from the majority of programs in the state.  Our success as a team in a short amount of time has brought forth a new level of play, one in which we have had players become more specialized and prepared for situational lacrosse, as opposed to purely just playing-lacrosse.  We have a playbook full of vocabulary, calls, signals, movements, plays, offensive and defensive sets and adjustments, all of which is expected to be known and memorized.  There are items that can be worked on during players' time off from practice, denoting their devotion to mastering their craft and being a part of what the team is running.  We run substitution, clearing, and riding plays as well, ideas which are really only seen at high levels of lacrosse.  We want kids to learn how to play lacrosse the proper way, not just show up and feel entitled to being on the field.  We require a level of dedication; this level can be had by any athlete, not just those that have been playing for a long time, but by those who really desire to be better and help their team out.  By working hard, these plays and concepts will become second nature.

Our goal has always been to develop a strong and competitive Junior Varsity (JV) team to provide a stepping stone to our Varsity program.  Each of us coaches have played JV in some shape or form and understands how necessary it is for developing brains and bodies.  Lacrosse is a contact sport, and although it's not as much contact as used to be allowed, the majority of 14-15 year-olds (even 16 year-olds, as the game continues to improve and grow) should not be playing against 18-19 year-olds.  They play a much faster game and have higher levels of spatial awareness and body control.  Some teams are even taught by their coaching staff to be overly physical, as they know we have younger and smaller players and they are trying to take advantage of that by utilizing fear and intimidation tactics.  Above all, we want players to have fun and make sure everyone goes home at the end of the game.

When our program was required to split away from Billings Scorpions, our numbers were also split, causing us to step back a few years of growth.  When we discussed the possibility in 2014 of a JV team for playing time, we lost even more players who assumed they would not make the Varsity team.  In 2017 we created a JV team and it will remain in place for as long as we have the players to fill it.  You cannot short both teams to 15 players, giving them minimal substitutions.  We also cannot give 20 players to the Varsity program and 10 to the JV, or vice versa.

With two teams now, we must still strive to provide fair playing time.  The question that needs to be asked is not "Why is my son/daughter not playing", rather, "Why is my son/daughter taking playing time away from their son/daughter?"  There are 8 hours per week on the practice field to prove not just skill with a lacrosse stick, but also attitude, mentality, teamwork, sportsmanship, demeanor, focus, drive, desire, class, leadership, timeliness, preparedness, humility, passion, heart, and playing physical, fast and with fury.  These are many of the factors that we believe help groom these children into successful young men and women. By the time the team is playing its in-conference games, our players are no longer rookies; they've had plenty of time to watch, witness, observe, consider, and implore all of that information into their time on the field.  Yes, the time may be brief for some, but what's expected is giving everything you have for that amount of time and subsequently earning more.  Some people want to score goals, others want to assist, but their coaches may recognize they are going to be more successful and earn more time by playing in a defensive role because they play well defensively.  If they want to score goals, they can play hard-nosed team defense, take the ball away, scoop up a silky-smooth ground ball, hustle it down the field, pass off to a teammate, and cut hard to the goal to get a pass back or drive with the ball and send it in the back of the onion basket.  Then, as they are gasping for air with a huge smile on their face and receiving congratulatory chest bumps and high fives, they can get a breather knowing they just scored "two" goals, one for their team, and one for not letting the other team score.  Are they going to relish that role for the time-being, knowing they're a part of something bigger, or will they appear petulant and sulk on the sidelines?

We play a team game; it's not "What can I do to better myself?", it's "What can I do to better my team?"  We have stressed to play with class, pride, a little swagger, and a whole sense of comradery, sportsmanship, and teamwork, all of which creates a fun time.  I don't want to hear teammates mouthing off to each other.  I don't want to see cheap shots, retaliation, or trash talking; our club and your children are better people than that.  Let your game talk for you, not your mouths or actions.  We don't run up the score, we don't dance around and have huge team celebrations, and we certainly don't lose our cool when we lose or choose not to shake hands with the victorious team.  Being on a team means supporting your teammates on the field, whether you're a starter or fourth string.  It also doesn't mean disobeying your coaches or telling them how the game should be managed.

Remember, these are not all of the examples that affect playing time or coaching decisions, but if you or your player is concerned about anything going on with the team, after the game is not the time to corner a coach and unleash your questions.  Coaches should also not be approached at halftime, practice, or in the presence of other players.  We are trying to get items picked up including; trash thrown away, grab loose balls and our cones, tables, score books and boards, timers, first aid kits, banners, flyers, our sticks and back up equipment.  If you want to talk to us, please help us out, and then we will schedule a time where we can meet on your schedule the next week.  We are more than happy to set up meetings and discuss what's on everybody's mind, just not after or during the game or practice.  We ask you to please respect that we too have families to go home to, we're probably hungry, and we're rather busy trying to get everything back in our vehicles so we can get out of there and on our way home.

Having read this, should you still feel you would like to discuss something with the coaching staff, please use this link to set up a time, date, and location to meet up with us.  Please fill out the prompts you will be given in the body of the email and we will get back to you as soon as possible:

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