- Thank you once again to Coach Brian King, Varsity Boys Lacrosse Coach, who shared his insight on the evolution of the game, and what he is seeing in the world of high school lacrosse. He shared some great ideas to help support your son in his growth in the sport.
- I shared my background, spending 22 years teaching elementary school in Harford County. As well as 22 years officiating NCAA men’s lacrosse. I have been with the program for 7 years, and this is the fifth year as commissioner. I also assist on my son’s 2026 Select team.
- Philosophy of the program is to teach the boys the fundamentals and nuances of the game and grow to love the game of lacrosse. Coaches want to provide an energetic atmosphere where the kids are constantly moving and active. We want to help boys grow to become skilled lacrosse players that can play at the highest level they desire in a positive environment. Forest Hill Lacrosse will work to provide the opportunity for every boy to play lacrosse, regardless of his level of expertise. We will evolve with the game and stay competitive with our competition on and off the field. We want to make sure every boy that picks up a stick grows to love it!
- Our 40+ coaches and volunteers are a blend of individuals with and without lacrosse experience. We have coaches who have played since they were 5/6 and have gone on to play collegiate and become All Americans and National Champions who are still playing today. We also are very fortunate to have certified coaches who have become involved only after their son decided to play. We also have coaches new to the sport, yet are just as eager to learn the game, and teach the kids. All our coaches love working with and teaching kids! We will always welcome more volunteers to step up and coach during the season.
- This year we will continue to work very hard to make sure the coach/parent relationship is collaborative. Coaches will work to keep parents informed, and parents will work to support the coaches work with their child. Team managers will assist coaches and parents and be that go between and sideline support throughout the season.
- My role as commissioner will shift towards the end of February. I will still communicate bi-weekly throughout the season, but communication will shift to the coaches and team managers.
- As the boys move from age group to age group the rules change a bit. Clinic is simply weekly instruction teaching how to handle the stick, without any equipment. Boys use the lacrosse stick and a soft ball during the practices. Pee Wee moves to using equipment, and coaches work to teach the basics of the game. Games are played eight on eight across the field, sideline to sideline. Boys can begin to check and play defense with the stick, but no body contact. Tyker moves to the more traditional rules with limited body checking, and officials still work with the players to explain the fouls they commit. Coaches build onto what boys already know and begin to institute offensive and defensive plays at the more experienced levels. A Tyker game will be played with eight men on the field, or ten men on the field at the more experienced Select/Club levels. Lightning, Midget, and Juniors tend to follow the traditional rules with a few minor exceptions for the safety of the boys. For example, they can’t swing their sticks with one hand to check their opponents stick. This can be done in high school and college.
- Team Assignments and Practice Dates and Times will be provided by the end of February for Tyker, Lightning, Midget, and Juniors. These groups will practice twice a week, with outdoor practices starting after daylight savings time. Games will start at the end of March and could occur on Saturday and/or Sunday. Pee Wee will continue practicing indoors at Harford Sports on Saturday’s in March. Boys will be divided into teams by the middle of the month, and games will begin the last Saturday of March, or first Saturday of April. Clinic practices will begin the first Friday in April and will continue through the end of the school year in June.
- Game Schedules will be released mid-March, with at least a week’s notice before the first game.
- Season ending Lax Splash Tournament will be held May 30 and 31 for all Tyker, Lightning, Midget, and Junior teams. The three Select teams will play in additional tournaments that will be shared with parents very soon.
- The evolution of the game is creating more options for boys and their parents. It has created a competitive environment between rec councils and clubs to get boys to play for their program. This will be very fluid and continue to change for the near future. Forest Hill Lacrosse will work to evolve with these changes making sure we are providing the best product out there. Our Select teams that are hybrid rec/club teams of our most experienced third, fourth, and sixth graders. They will be playing a Club Schedule and multiple tournaments over the summer, and possibly into the fall. We will expand the Select program as Forest Hill continues to grow. These teams held tryouts in the summer and have been practicing weekly to prepare for the season. Moving forward our Select teams maintain the same roster with minor addition and subtractions based on the needs of the team. For example, if one team does not have a lefthanded attackmen they will look to add that player in the future. Also, new players can be added if someone on the team stops playing or changes teams.
- We will continue to provide traditional rec experiences playing on travel teams at the Lightning, Midget, and Junior ages for our intermediate players. These players have experience, but may not be able to commit to a year round expectation on a Select Team, or their all around skills have not been evaluated to play on the most experienced level Club Leagues.
- While Pee Wee and our Tyker teams will be divided equally to provide for competitive games where all the boys can grow. We do try to honor parent requests for these teams.
- The lacrosse stick is the most important piece of equipment for every boy, and having a proper pocket is a must for every boy. We have made recommendations over the past few months to help you with the purchase of a new stick. StringKingz is one of the brands that we encourage you to purchase for your son. In addition to the pocket it is important for every boy in clinic, pee wee, and Tyker to cut the stick to a length of 36 inches from the top of the head to the end of the stick. Be sure to remove the end cap prior to cutting the metal portion of the stick. The coaches recommend that Lightning and Midget players, play with a stick at the length of 40 inches. We do not recommend defensive poles until your son is in Lightning, and even then, wait for the coach to recommend your son begin to use it.
- Team Store is currently open, and will remain open through Sunday Night, February 2nd. Reminder all boys in Pee Wee, Tyker, Lightning, Midget, and Junior will receive an Under Armour t-shirt, grey-shorts, and a reversible jersey as a part of their uniform. The Clinic boys will receive the Under Armour t-shirt.
- Raffle tickets were distributed to parents in attendance. Each parent received 20 tickets for each boy they have playing in the program. In addition, a flyer will be emailed and posted on the website to explain the prizes, as well as the incentives for the boys who sell 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 tickets. The This year’s incentives will be 10-drawstring bag, 20-beach towel, 30- blanket, 40-duffle bag, and 50 hooded jackets. Additional prizes will be awarded to each player who sells each of the 11 winning tickets, along with prizes for the top selling family and team. All details will be posted on the website. The drawing will take place at McGerk’s on Wednesday, April 22nd at 9pm. The Raffle will be our only fundraiser for the year, and we are looking to raise $15,000 to cover next year’s indoor costs! If you did not pick up your tickets I will be on hand Tuesday at the Harford Sports Training.
- College Lacrosse is huge in the area and taking your son to games is such a great time. We will be coordinating three outings this year to Loyola, Feb 22, Towson, March 14th, and Johns Hopkins on April 11th. All details will be on our website.
- DICKS Shopping Days at the Bel Air location will be all day Saturday, Feb. 15th and Sunday Feb. 16th. They will honor 20% off your total order. Coupons will be emailed and posted on our website next week.
- Finally, we are working with the CMW Boys Lacrosse team to set up a Clinic on Sunday, Feb. 23rd from 12-3pm. All the details will be shared in the next week or two. This will be a great opportunity for your son to get one on one instruction with boys playing the game at the high school level.
If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Visit the website regularly and read all emails in their entirety. We have a complete open line of communication. I am always open to new ideas, and any concerns or feedback please share! If a concern arises let me know as soon as it happens. I am volunteering to do this for the lacrosse community in Harford County. I love doing it, and plan to serve you for the next few years until my son goes off to high school. Thank you for all the support from the coaches and parents along the way. We can only move this program forward if we are working together!
Forest Hill Lacrosse believes in not only teaching our boys the game of lacrosse but also how to enjoy and honor the game. As parents, there are several things we need to keep in mind. This article does a good job of laying out the big 5.
How we behave on the field, and off the field, effects how we are perceived and our boys interpret right from wrong. Please take the time to read it carefully. We owe it to our boys and each other. Always “Honor The Game”.
Our organization is committed to the principles of the Positive Coaching Alliance and against a “win-at-all-cost” mentality. PCA calls a Positive Coach a “Double-Goal Coach.” A win-at-all-cost coach has only one goal – to win. A Positive Coach shares that goal (wants to win) but has a second goal that is even more important – to use the sports experience to help young people learn “life lessons” and positive character traits that will help them be successful throughout their lives.
Help us promote the three PCA principles which have the power to “transform youth sports so that sports can transform youth.” The three principles, explained in this letter, are:
1) Redefining “Winner”
2) Filling the Emotional Tank, and
3) Honoring the Game.
In professional sports (which is entertainment), there is only one goal—to have the most points at the end of a contest. However, in youth sports (which is education), there is a SECOND GOAL: to produce young people who will be WINNERS IN LIFE.
To help our children get the most out of competitive sports, we need to redefine what it means to be a “winner.”
Winners are individuals who:
• Make maximum effort.
• Continue to learn and improve.
• Refuse to let mistakes (or fear of making mistakes) stop them.
This is called a Mastery Orientation. PCA says that the Tree of Mastery is an ELM Tree where ELM stands for Effort, Learning, and rebounding from Mistakes.
If our athletes keep these things in mind, they will develop habits that will serve them well throughout their lives.
There is an added benefit. Athletes who are coached with a Mastery Orientation tend to have reduced anxiety and increased self-confidence. And when athletes feel less anxiety, they are more likely to have fun playing their sport and to do better!
Here’s how you can help:
1) Tell your child that it’s OK to make a mistake.
2) Let your child know you appreciate it when they try hard even if unsuccessful.
3) Ask rather than tell. Try to get your child to talk about their play rather than telling them what you think about it. Ask open-ended questions to get them to talk (e.g., “What was the best part of the game for you?”)
4) Recognize that Mastery is hard work. Let the coaches criticize your child’s play. Tell your child you are proud of him regardless of the outcome of the game.
FILLING THE EMOTIONAL TANK
Research shows that the home team wins about 60% of the time because of the emotional support a team receives when it plays in front of its own fans. Like gas tanks in cars, athletes have “Emotional Tanks” that need to be filled to do their best.
There will be times when you need to correct and criticize. Research has shown that a “Magic Ratio” of 5:1 (praise to criticism) is ideal. Help us achieve this Magic Ratio with your child.
Here’s how you can help:
1) Your #1 job is to fill your child’s Emotional Tank.
Encourage them regardless of what happens in the game.
2) Try not to give your child a lot of advice (Which after a tough game can seem like criticism, which drains a person’s tank).
Remember, it’s difficult to do well with a low tank. When they make a mistake, you might say,“ Don’t worry. Let’s get the next one. You can do it.” After tough losses, it’s often helpful to acknowledge feelings of disappointment. For example, you might say “I can imagine you must be disappointed to have lost.”
3) Use the “3-Pluses-and-a-Wish” technique. Before you give advice, find three good things about your child’s performance. Phrase the advice as a wish:
Plus #1 - You really tried hard in the game today
Plus #2 - I also saw you filling your teammate’s Emotional Tank after they made a mistake.
Plus #3 - And that play you made toward the end of the game shows how much you are improving.
Wish - I wish you wouldn’t get down on yourself when you make a mistake. (If you can’t come up with three pluses, don’t say the wish. It may drain his emotional tank rather than fill it.)
4) Remember the Magic Ratio*. Praise your child about 5 times for every time you criticize. If you do, they will be better able to hear your criticism without becoming defensive. It’s called the Magic Ratio because great things happen when we get close to it with our children.
HONORING THE GAME
Honoring the Game gets to the ROOTS of positive play, where ROOTS stands for respect for:
• Rules: We don’t bend the rules to win.
• Opponents: A worthy opponent is a gift that forces us to play to our highest potential.
• Officials: We treat officials with respect even when we disagree.
• Teammates: We never do anything that would embarrass our team on or off the field.
• Self: We live up to our own standards regardless of what others do.
Here’s how you can help:
1) Let your child ke.now that you want them to Honor The Game. Discuss the meaning of each element of ROOTS with your athletes.
2) Be a good role model. Honor the Game when you attend games. Cheer both teams when good plays are made. If, in your opinion, an officiating mistake is made, be silent! Use this as an opportunity to think about how difficult it is for a referee to call a perfect game.
Attendance at practices is important; coaches will take attendance and keep records. It is simply unfair to expect that your son (if he does not regularly attend practice) will get the same amount of time during games as those players that attend practices.
Assuming your son regularly attends practices with the team, the program’s playing time policy is a minimum of 1/3 of the game with an attempt to get every player on the field at least half the game. (Midfield play counts as double time).
Why does Midfield play count as double time? Simple, they are engaged in play on both sides of the field. As a result there is no down time; they are constantly engaged in play. This means lots of running. We expect the midfield to go all out while on the field, but this requires that they be relieved twice as often as the defense, or the attack. Also, if a game is well balanced, the defense and attack should be engaged in play only 50% of the time. This means that the defense and attack may see more field time, but not necessarily more playing time. So, to be sure they get as much playing time as possible, they stay on the field longer then the Midfield.
Playing time on the Select Teams will follow a similiar set of expectations, but may be adjusted depending on the level of competition during each contest.
The Wolf Pack Philosophy - How to Teach the Game of Lacrosse
by posted 10/01/2013
The Wolf Pack Philosophy – How to Teach the Game of Lacrosse
Our plan is to teach the game in manageable steps, concentrating on mechanics and fundamentals in the younger age groups and building on that solid foundation in the older age groups. This will be done within a teaching curriculum, much like the school system. The key to success is the system. Your child may or may not play for several coaches over their years in the program, exposing them to multiple coaching styles and personalities, but they will be taught the same system regardless of the coach. The key to success is a consistent message, constant repetition and a clear goal applied in simple, manageable steps.
In order for this to work, we all have to understand the goal and believe in the system that will allow your player to reach it. The goal is for our players to have fun while developing the skill and knowledge base in each age group that will allow them to play the game at the next age group and ultimately at the high school level.
The Basics – What our players need to understand and what we need to consistently teach at all age groups.
1) Mechanics – the physical realities of passing, catching, scooping, cradling and footwork.
a) Muscle memory.
i) A player should assume the correct position without even thinking about it.
i) Teach the players how to self-correct (Example: understand why a pass went wide and how to make adjustments so it does not happen again.)
2) Fundamentals - Do not confuse this with mechanics, they are not the same.
a) Move the ball through the air.
b) Always look for the open player.
c) Never stand or walk on the field of play while the ball is on your side of the field.
d) Always maintain proper position when in possession of the ball, or defending against it.
e) Be able to play with both hands.
f) Concentrate on off ball movement.
i) This is the key to success on both offense and defense.
g) Understand the field of play and how to use it.
3) Honor the Game.
a) These apply to everyone including Parents, Coaches, Players, etc.
i) We do not bend the rules to win.
ii) A worthy opponent is a gift that forces us to play to our highest potential.
iii) We treat officials with respect even when we disagree.
(1) Do not challenge a call from the sidelines, or the field.
iv) We never do anything that would embarrass our team on or off the field.
(1) We do not use inappropriate language.
(2) We are always respectful.
v) We live up to our own standards regardless of what others do.