Best Place to Find Low Prices - Discontinued Gear

Sunday, August 29, 2010

2010 CILA Summer League - What I Learned Part 2

Reflecting on the 2010 CILA Summer League:
4. Creating fair and balanced teams is harder than it seems
With the box league last fall, I was happy just to have enough guys to make a worthwhile league. It was a no-brainer to have all of the ISU guys on one team; they could carpool to Des Moines that way. Putting the Drake guys together made sense too as not every student has access to a car and many of them lived together anyway. At that point we decided that the Valley guys would get more out of the league if they competed together.
I wanted to avoid lumping teams together for the summer league as much as possible. Obviously the Drake guys still carpooled, so they were a chunk. Then Zach suggested that balancing him and Tyler with the younger Valley guys would help bring them along; it made sense then and still does. The next step was balancing the adult players, remaining Valley players, and absolute newbies - all while taking ride sharing into consideration. To top it off, I had never even met most of the experienced adult players. I had no idea how good they would be.
I tried to be fair by taking what little I knew about the leftover players and distributing them between Mi Casa, Lightning, and Drake. With three of the four leading Valley scorers over the last two seasons and the Tigers' starting goalie, I knew it would tricky. But I figured Drake was fairly stacked and felt confident in Burk, Johnston, and Miska to preserve the balance. I split Valley's starting defense, and then did my best to guesstimate the skill levels.
Despite the standings, I think I did a decent job. I would say that Lightning's advantage came more from their familiarity than any superior skill. While the team did have several outstanding players, I would say that the league's best individual players were on Clark and the best collection of great players was on Mi Casa (hell no, I'm not including myself!). Hence, the All League teams.
5. Absences are a pain in the ass
Sometimes life gets in the way. I know that as well as anybody; I'm not able to attend as many Valley practices as I would prefer. Being summer, so many things come up and it is understandable that people will miss a game from time to time for whatever reason. I'm fine with that. It's a summer rec league after all.
For the most part, we have several ways to recover from absences - players from the other game volunteering to sub, non-league players filling in, shortened benches, etc. But when goalies were gone, it created a world of panic. When I knew far enough in advance, I could schedule an outside goalie like Mark Anderson or Trevor Stoakes. Or I could at least try to get another league goalie to pull double duty. As the season wore on, a couple of players routinely stepped up and filled in as backups - Nate Kaufmann and Tanner McDougal. Both did fairly well and I am truly thankful that they were willing and able to do so on multiple occasions.
6. We can make the best out of a bad situation
On many occasions teams did not have enough players show up to play a full line up. Even when substitutes were present, we ran into many instances where we just did not have enough players. The decision to play 8v8 lax was well received. Removing a d-pole and attack men meant that we could till play the full field without much compromise. It did open the play a bit and brought interesting dynamics to the attack setup. In many ways, it was like playing man down lacrosse in terms of offensive schemes and defensive coverage.
Even though we all prefer playing 10v10, it is good to know that an 8v8 game is doable. Next year's league will be planned as a full 10v10, but it is good to know that we have successfully tested our back up plan. Hopefully the ever increasing number of players will prevent us from having to use it though...

Tribe 7