Playing Time Considerations
Coyotes Lacrosse teams will play to win but not at all costs. Our primary objectives must be to develop young athletes with a passion for the game as well as the skills to allow them to play the game at the next level. To achieve these two objectives, ALL players on a team must play a meaningful role on their team and play a meaningful amount in the team’s games.
The following factors will influence playing time:
Placing players on the appropriate level team is critical to development and providing the most comfortable opportunity for equal playing time. To achieve this objective, as players advance beyond entry level and the youngest ages of participation, we make every effort to group players on teams with other players of similar ability. While we work to accommodate all interested in playing lacrosse, experience has taught us that roster sizes should be targeted to not allow for more than 2x the number of players allowed on the field at the particular level of play.
Fall - Our Fall program typically consists of 5-8 weekend skill development and scrimmage sessions in late October and November. It is expected that players participate in our Fall program to both enhance their skill development and to allow the club to best assess players for Spring team formation. Players who participate in Fall will be given a priority in Spring team placement should capacity be an issue.
Spring - In the spring season teams will practice 1-2 times per week and generally have 1-2 games per weekend. Home practices and games generally occur at Burlingame High School, Oberg and Franklin fields in Burlingame, and at North School field in Hillsborough. Younger teams will generally play a schedule of games with opponents closer to home in San Francisco and on the Peninsula while older teams will travel as far as Marin, the East Bay and Monterey.
We fully expect, support and believe it healthy for our players to pursue interest in other sports and extracurricular activities. During the Spring Season, however, participation on a Coyotes lacrosse team should be second only to family and school, and should be an equal or greater priority than other athletic or extracurricular activities. A player should not participate should he or she anticipate missing more than 25% of the practices.
Attendance at practice can influence playing time in games. Further, focus and effort at practice, particularly as players advance towards middle school age, will also influence playing time. Finally, and most certainly, failure to abide by any elements of The Coyotes Parent/Player Code of Conduct will most definitely result in loss of playing privilege.
In sum, coaches reserve the right to reduce playing time due to discipline problems, lack of effort or demonstrated interest and regular absence from practices (without excuse). The coach should communicate these issues to both player and parents as they arise.
Age/Level of Play Designation:
Across all age brackets, at the Developmental and Intermediate Team levels, coaches will strive to allow for balanced play. In the youngest divisions, all players who attend practice regularly and show a commitment to preparation will play in each game, and often play relatively equal amounts of the game relative to other players at their position. At practice, we strive to provide each player an equal opportunity to learn the game, though this will not necessarily translate into equal playing time in each game, as commitment, effort, focus and individual athletic ability will be factored into playing time decisions.
By the time players reach the middle school divisions, a greater emphasis will be placed on competition. Players will compete for playing time with their teammates as well as competing against their opponents. Players will also tend to be drawn to specialize in certain positions - given the uneven nature of playing time by position, this also leads to less balanced playing time.
Teams that are designated “A” division by the NCJLA are playing at a higher competitive level. Players participating on "A" division teams will not necessarily receive equal playing time, and it is the responsibility of the coach to communicate to each player making an "A" team what their roles are likely to be for that team.
Notwithstanding any of the above, all players placed on a given team, should be valued and play a meaningful role on their respective team.
Nuances of the Sport/Positional Play:
There are certain nuances to every lacrosse game in the form of penalties/fouls or fewer/more whistles that may impede the ability to substitute on a basis to allow for perfectly equal playing time. A coach may need to re-balance the playing time between players over the course of several games due to such occurrences. Over the course of the season, playing time will balance out.
Further, as players become more specialized by position, substitution patterns dictated by that position will lead to varying amounts of playing time. A goalie will play the whole game, while midfielders will be substituted most frequently and attack/defense often less frequently.
As a club, we review each season with our coaches our expectations regarding fair and balanced play, and each coach should in turn communicate directly with their respective team both at the outset of the season, and throughout the season, both at the team and individual level.