Another Question To Ponder…..

For the past few weeks I’ve been debating another issue, and cannot seem to come up with an answer that is 100% correct or fair to all involved. So here’s the issue:

You have a player that wants to play rep lacrosse, but also wants to play another summer sport (whatever that sport may be), again at a representative level. In fairness to the player, he or she is good enough to play at the top level or on your number one team. However, due to time restraints, because of the other sport, they can only be there let’s say 50% of the time. So my question to everyone out there is “how do you handle this situation”?

Do you:

a) allow the player to play at the level they belong and simply accept the fact that they will be there when they can. After all, you’re lucky to have them. This would “possibly” present the best team on the floor, but what about team morale, and the other families that are expected to be there all the time? You cannot have two sets of rules so what if everyone else just decides to show up whenever they want? All of a sudden you may have some real problems.

b) deny the player the ability to play at the level they belong because of the amount of time that they will miss. Then this either denies a child the ability to play the rep game, or even worse, allows them to play on a lesser team that has less stringent time requirements, and possibly makes that team better than the first. Is this not a black eye on the association now, that their best players are spread across a number of different teams?

I’m not exactly sure what the right answer here is, but I do know one thing. We have gotten to a point in society where kids are no longer allowed to be kids and experience as much as they want to at any point in the “rep” sporting season. If you play rep hockey, you play 6 nights a week and do nothing else. If you play rep lacrosse you play 5 nights a week and do nothing else. The same applies to rep baseball, rep soccer, etc. As I’ve said before, for every child / family that cannot make that commitment, there is a long line of others eagerly waiting to fill the spot.

On the flip side, it does however teach kids a valuable lesson in commitment and dedicating yourself to a sport, which could very much translate into so many other facets of life.

Thoughts?

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8 Comments

  1. I think ALL organizations should just slow down a little and allow the kids to have some time to be kids..

  2. I would say that as a coach I am putting in a TREMENDOUS amount of time to my team, the rest of my players do the same. I think it’s fair to be upfront in the desire that your team is the primary sporting activity and attendance is expected. Ultimately it’s the kid’s choice to show his dedication and if they choose the other sport then they weren’t really that committed.

    It’s unfair for those that come everyday to take less playing time when the casual player decides to randomly show up and expects to play.

    I would suggest that you are likely refferring to spring/summer hockey in which case I am even MORE opposed. I am a rep hockey coach as well, so I am not anti-hockey in anyway, but come on, hockey is already 9 months of the year, do you really need to play it in the summer to? If you do, that is your money and your choice, all the power to you, but don’t be suprised when the lax coach takes a pass on you.

    From any team sport you only get out what you put in and a kid that plays other sports is taking more than he’s giving.

  3. I think the kid should be able to play both sports, provided they can meet the expectations of the coach and the team. If that means playing on the B lacrosse team, so be it. I’m a big believer in developing all-around, multi-sport atheletes. If he/she is talented enough to play competetively in more than one sport, it is unfair to force them into one sport. As coaches we should be concerned primarily with the total development of the individual as people and atheletes.

    Kids shouldn’t specialize in a sport until they are reaching the end of high school (unless they make the choice to play one sport).

  4. I heard of such a case in Peewee this year that seems to be getting a lot of air time. From what I’ve heard, the scenario you outlined accurately describes what happening in that age group. I don’t claim to know all the facts but I heard from a reliable source that Peewee registrations are down significantly from years past. Kids are moving other organizations, some have quit the sport altogether, while others, that have the ability to be on a first or second team, have decided to play at the House League level.

    I’m not sure I have a definitive answer to the questions you posed. In a perfect world, I do think that the best players should form your first team, followed by the second team and so on. However, I’m more interested in finding out what the root cause of the problem is. Why are kids leaving Whitby Lacrosse for another organizations? Why are they quitting the sport altogether? Why do those elite players that seem to be at the centre of the issue want to play at the House League level or a 3rd or 4th team as opposed to playing for the top team? We could simply ignore the issue and say that this is not a problem but rather the natural order of things (… and I’m sure that to a certain extent it is). However, if the WMLA believes that what is happening appears to out of the ordinary, they should find a third party to do a quick survey to ask those players and parents that fit the profiles above, why their commitment to the sport and to Whitby Lacrosse has waned … and more importantly address the more salient issues they raise to make sure Whitby continues to be a premiere LAX centre.

    Find the root cause of the problem and I think you’ll find that you will not need to ask the questions you posed above … Thanks

  5. I think you misunderstood the question.

    It wasn’t a question directed at Whitby, but yes this has happened in Whitby, and yes I will confirm for you that numbers are down. This is a trend that has happened for years here (the numbers beginning to drop in Peewee), and while we are interested in finding out why, it is nothing new.
    The question has nothing to do with those that left to go play in other organizations. That’s another question in and of itself, with quite a few different reasons.

    As far as the reasons for the kids that still want to play, I do know for a fact of three players in the age you refer to, that are choosing to play another sport this summer. They are not choosing to play house league, they are choosing to play rep at a reduced time committment.
    So there is no root to get to (other than those that quit altogether, but I explained that above). My question is how do you deal with a player wanting to play another sport in addition to lacrosse, and play lacrosse at a reduced amount? Or do you?

  6. I think they should be allowed to play. My son is playing both soccer and lacrosse and there are conflicts where he misses practices. He never misses a game or practice unless he is playing the other sport. However, I beleive that many of the skills he learns while playing or practicing at one sport are transferable (passing, team work etc) and although he may not be at a particular sport, he is still developing skills which he will bring there. I also think that to ask a child to choose at 7 or 8 years old is asking him to choose too early. If he is able to play at the rep level, be glad that you have such an active and talented player.

  7. Ok, what about the family that wants to play rep and go to the cottage.. Can they say others miss because of soccer so we are going to miss to go to the cottage?

  8. The answer to these questions is never easy. the first step would be to look at what happens first with the player and secondly with the organization he plays for.
    To ask kids (and parents) to commit to somewhere around 9 tournaments in field and box after a hockey season and the stress of those tryouts becomes an issue. The vast majority of Lacrosse players do play hockey.Lacrosse and most summer sports for most of us growing up never required this amount of time. People start to chose options like playing down at a lower rep level or even houseleague to maintain some kind of balance in their lives. Usually a lower level rep team will not be involved in the amount of tourneys as the one team. The fact that more kids playing is a good thing for a community organization should never be discounted as secondary. Sometimes a few strong players play down, this sometimes lead to success for many more and perhaps keeps more interested and more playing. What is the goal of the organization is the question.
    As for the organization you must look at what could be changed to insure people think twice about dropping out, leaving for another organization or leaving for another sport.
    What has gone on within the age group you worry about that should not have? Who has been the main leader of this group. Where there kids cut that perhaps should not have been, where friends of coaches put on the team that likely should not of been. Where teams made prior to tryouts and deals cut to bring in kids from the outside who should not be playing at that level. Was there definite favourites within the group. This sends a negative message to all and in smaller communities there are no secrets.It is easy to blame lack of commitment and what message is being sent to the kid however prior to doing this it is necessary to exhaust all of the other possibilities for drop of participation or choices to play down and maybe an organization that does that in a truly honest manner will get their answer. Sometimes the real answer is not the one we want to hear.


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