Canadian Box Lacrosse To Ban Offense / Defense in Minor Lacrosse

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I had heard some grumblings a while back that this might be happening.  I’m sure that this decision is going to drum up a great deal of debate.  While I would like to hear others opinions, I believe most know where I stand on this issue. 

Minor lacrosse should be about developing players skill sets, letting them explore the possibilities of where they fit in on a team.  Having said that, I believe that all players at a very young age get a real sense of pride in making the play to score for his or her team.  It is only after the initial couple of years of exposure to the game that these kids begin to understand the need to play hard at both ends of the floor and  contribute to the best of their abilities at each end. 

I have seen in my experiences as a Coach, teams as young as Novice running offense / defense.  You cannot convince me that a 9-10 year old player is getting true satisfaction in running to the bench every time his / her team gets the ball, never having an opportunity to go down to the offensive end of the floor.  At the same time, what are we telling a 9-10 year old who scores 100 goals in a season that never has to work hard in their own end of the floor.  Can you imagine that players game philosophy around age 15?

I really believe many of todays Pro players and even Coaches believe that players playing both ends is a better and more true game of lacrosse.  However, the game “as is”, is what is selling right now for the NLL.  But these guys get paid to play this way.

Offense / defense is really just the game of field lacrosse brought indoors.  Some say this is the evolution of box lacrosse.  I say leave the two games as they have always been and enjoy both for their dinstinctive characteristics. 

Below is the proposal as copied from the CLA….

PROPOSAL SCOPE
STOPPING THE PRACTICE OF USING OFFENCE/DEFENCE TACTICS IN MINOR LACROSSE GAMES

BACKGROUND / RATIONALE
COACHES WHO PLAY THE O/D SYSTEM ARE CLEARLY INTERESTED IN NOT ONLY WINNING GAMES RATHER THAN THE DEVELOPMENT AND ENJOYMENT OF THE PLAYERS, BUT ARE GETTING VERY CLOSE TO THE WIN-AT-ALL-COST PHILOSOPHY OF COACHING. THIS PHILOSOPHY AND THE ACT OF SACRIFICING THE OPPORTUNITY FOR PLAYERS TO DEVELOP ALL THEIR SKILLS FOR THE SAKE OF A WIN IS COUNTER TO THE AIMS AND GOALS OF THE CLA AND GOES AGAINST THE SPIRIT OF LACROSSE UPON WHICH THE COACHING DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM IS PREDICATED.

THE CLA MEMBERSHIP AND THE CLA COACHING COMMITTEE HAVE UNANIMOUSLY INDICATED THE PRACTICE OF PLAYING AN OFFENCE/DEFENCE SYSTEM IN MINOR BOX LACROSSE IS UNETHICAL.

THIS HAS BEEN VERIFIED AT THE RECENT CLA AGM & THE 2007 COACHING COMMITTEE MEETING. THE COACHING COMMITTEE WAS TASKED WITH COMING UP WITH A RULE TO CURB THIS PRACTICE. AFTER DISCUSSIONS IT WAS RECOMMENDED THAT IT WAS NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE GAME TO ESTABLISH A RULE THAT WOULD HAVE TO BE POLICED BY THE GAME OFFICIALS. THE APPROACH RECOMMENDED WAS TO BE THROUGH A POLICY CHANCE TO THE OPERATING POLICY UNDER THE BOX SECTOR..

PROPOSED CHANGE:
Add to Section 17:
1.3.1 In all minor box lacrosse (midget & below) it is deemed un-ethical to use an offence/defence tactic while at even strength and any such action can result in suspensions. Offense/Defense is simply defined as ONE, or more players, playing only one end of the floor as a strategic tactic. Replacing the goaltender with another player is not considered a form of Offense/Defense. Special teams on face-offs are not considered a form of Offense/Defense.

1.3.2 It is the direct responsibility of all MA’S and AMA’S to advise all coaches that the practice of playing the offence/defence system when even strength is prohibited in Minor Lacrosse in accordance with current CLA operating policy and such action can result in suspensions.

1.3.3 All MA’S and AMA’S are responsible to put in place the mechanism for detecting this tactic and setting the length of suspensions as they deem appropriate for the offence. Not withstanding the suspension guidelines of each member association, the minimum shall not be less then the following:
• First infraction the offending coach will be issued a warning and the infraction recorded by the MA or AMA.
• Second offence by the same coach will result in a two game suspension and the infraction recorded.
• Third offence by the same coach will result in a five game suspension and a hearing by the appropriate forum set by the MA or AMA for possible further discipline action.

1.3.4 If, in any minor box lacrosse National event, offence/defence is found to be utilized by a participating coach, they will be issued a verbal warning from the event committee. If they persist in the practice, in either that game, or subsequent games, the game shall be stopped, the coach removed from the bench and subsequently suspended for the remainder of the event and their name forwarded to the appropriate MA or AMA for further action.

1.3.5 It is the direct responsibility of the MA, AMA or their designated authority to ensure that a complete up-to-date record of such infractions is kept.

This motion was carried.

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