Best Place to Find Low Prices - Discontinued Gear

Thursday, April 30, 2009

For Your Consideration - Summer League Ideas

Now that Valley is winding down its season with home games at Waukee Stadium this Saturday (11:00 AM & 1:30 PM) and next Saturday (1:00 PM), it is time to start thinking about the summer league. I know a lot of people are already thinking about the league, which is a great thing. They are excited and keep asking me questions that I simply cannot answer at this time because my schedule hasn't given me the time to think about it.
To get the league in gear, I'm going to cross-post this on the Central Iowa Lacrosse, Des Moines Demons, and Valley Tigers Lacrosse websites. All relevant polls will be published on the new CILA Polls site to prevent clutter as much as possible. I will asking for input on several things ranging from game days to team structure to reffing. The polls will be staggered in their release and cut-off dates, so keep your eyes peeled! My goal is to make a league that will run as smoothly as possible while still providing a great lacrosse experience.
At this point, I believe that we will still be able to use the Valley Southwoods practice field. If not there are other fields nearby; our goals are portable. I also plan to do my best to mix experience level to give us the most fair player distribution possible. Because there will be some contact, lacrosse or hockey pads will be required for everybody. This includes helmets (with full face masks), gloves, and elbow pads. Players under 18 will be required to wear shoulder pads, mouth guards, and a cup; that equipment is optional for adults.
The items I need input on and will have polls for are as follows:
1. What day of the week works best for you? The evening times will be after 6; Saturday mornings would start around 9; Saturday afternoons around 1.
The choices are: Monday evenings, Tuesday evenings, Wednesday evenings, Thursday evenings, Friday evenings, Saturday mornings, Saturday afternoons, Saturday evenings, Sunday evenings

2. What type of game should we play? When I first conceived playing lacrosse in Des Moines, I envisioned two teams playing the traditional version of field lacrosse. As reality settled in and I realized our numbers might not be that conducive to a field league. Box lacrosse isn't really an option since we will be outside and one of the goals of the summer league is to teach the complete game of lacrosse; box lax fails because d-poles aren't used. But, I thought that a hybridization of the two might work for us: five-on-five or six-on-six (plus goalies) with reduced offsides and the allowance of two d-poles on the field at a time. We could use a shorter field (but still the full width) and modified offsides rules (1 attack & defense cannot cross the center line in 5-5; 2 attack & 1 defense in 6-6). Thus allowing us to use the mechanics of field lacrosse on a more manageable level.
The choices are: Full Field Lacrosse, Modified Five-on-Five, Modified Six-on-Six

3. What kind of league should we have? I want to have a (semi) competitive league, but I know that not very many people are familiar enough with the game to jump into that atmosphere. I'm thinking along the C/D and Metro High School Hockey League type of Lacrosse League. Nothing too serious with an emphasis on teaching the game while playing with a competitive spirit. Teams would be somewhat organized and standings would be kept. I also think that a purely recreational structure, more or less set up like scheduled pick up games, would be beneficial too. Here there are no standings and you just show up to play.
The choices are: Competitive/Organized League, Pickup League

4. How should teams be divided? My initial thought was to determine an approximate number of teams based on how many guys plan to play initially. Then I would select team captains from the Valley player and coaching ranks and conduct a draft. The draft would follow two sessions of pick up/tryouts to familiarize the captains and made an honest attempt at organizing players by skill. When a sport is pretty much brand new to an area, this is a difficult endeavor. Still, I want the teams to be as fair and even as possible to provide the best overall experience for everyone.
My next thought was to make it a pick up style league and make roster assignments on the spot at each session. Not as much of a "team" atmosphere, but easier to manage. My most recent thought was to take the sign up sheets/waivers for every interested player and divide the rosters as fairly as I can based on what I know.
The choices are: Team captains draft, pickup rosters, Adam decides the team assignments.

5. How will we handle uniforms? This thought has crossed my mind time and time again. Keeping our teams straight is very important, especially when there are so many new people involved. Valley practices are easy because we use pennies. Hockey leagues are easy because pretty much everybody that plays has a dark and a light hockey jersey (some leagues even have a variety of custom jerseys). So how do we address this issue? Light and dark t-shirts could work, but they would have to be worn over the pads. We could also let people wear football, hockey, or basketball jerseys too. If we had scrimmage vests for a team to wear each week that could work, but then who is responsible for washing them? We could also have our own pennies made up, but that will cost money. Since yours truly is as broke as everyone else in the nation, I'd need the money upfront. If we did pennies, they would be simple saying something like "Des Moines Lacrosse" or "Des Moines Demons" on the front with a player number on each side. They would most likely be black & white and in LXL only to shave costs.
The choices are: Bring your own light & dark shirts/jerseys, Raise funds for blank scrimmage vests, Pay a fee and keep your own DM Lax penny jersey

6. What about referees? One of the biggest problems in the adult hockey leagues is referees. Either there are not enough volunteers or the volunteers don't know what they are doing. Sometimes we end up with both situations. To keep games fair and safe, referees are important. However, we lack certified lacrosse officials in DM. On the other hand, we do have a whole high school team, coaching staff, and a few former college players that are familiar with the rules. It is possible that some of these guys may want to volunteer for referee duties, at least on a restricted level. Since the contact should be somewhat limit (sorry DD not spearing here), the refs should have a fairly easy job. But then are they compensated and if so, how? I plan on not having dues, so here is another financial issue. Since the league is recreational, we may also be able to police ourselves. We all know what a goal is, players in the restraining areas can call the opening face off (if we have them), and offsides is easy enough to enforce. Assuming the spirit of the game is alive and well, players on both teams should be able to call major penalties without arguing (tripping, slashing, cross check, etc). I know that last part is a challenge, but I am hopeful.
The choices are: Volunteer refs, Paid volunteers, no refs unless things get ugly

7. Should we have face offs? Everyone loves face offs. They are fun and unique; they provide an extra challenge in lacrosse games. Unfortunately they also create logistical nightmares in recreational leagues. Not many people know the art of the face off - which is easy enough to learn - so the chance for false starts and illegal procedures increases. There is also a risk of head, neck, or finger injury on a poor face off, which is something none of us wants to deal with. I enjoy a good face off as much as the next guy, but maybe we should limit them. This would also reduce the time used in the game (I'm sure we'll have a running clock of some sort) and allow more play. My thought is that we could open each half/quarter with a face off and just play possession (from behind the net, similar to basketball) after goals. Or we could forgo face offs all together.
The choices are: At the start of each quarter/half and after each goal, At the start of each quarter/half only, No face offs
If I think of any additional items we need to address, I will add them to the list. If you have any additional ideas or suggestions, email me. For now I think these seven questions will help get us on our way to having a successful first year. By working together, we should be able to lay the foundation for a very successful lacrosse league in Des Moines for years to come.
Once things get closer, I will create a roster form/questionnaire for everyone to complete and email to me. I will also get a waiver form ready. The waiver will say that you realize lacrosse is a contact sport and there is a risk of injury; it will stipulate that by engaging in lacrosse activities you waive your rights to sue me and the facility manager, yada yada. As soon as Valley is finished and I have a bit more free time, I will get those forms ready, posted and/or emailed.

Tribe 7